News | Thursday, 3rd October 2019
Writing School hosts special northern preview for coveted poetry prize
Event was first of its kind ahead of national prize-giving later in October
Manchester Writing School hosted an exclusive northern preview of the 2019 Forward Prize for Poetry, further cementing its reputation as a home for poetry excellence.
The sold-out event gave guests a sneak peek at the work shortlisted for this year’s edition of one of the most coveted UK literary prizes.
Jointly supported by the Writing School and the Forward Arts Foundation, which also organises today’s National Poetry Day, the preview was the first of its kind to be hosted in the north of England. It was introduced by poet and University lecturer Andrew McMillan, who is part of this year’s judging panel.
Poets shortlisted for the £10,000 Forward Prize for Best Collection spoke and recited their work – including Niall Campbell, a poet and University PhD student.
Manchester Writing School has always been at the heart of the city and with events like this we’re putting ourselves at the heart of a poetry nation; building a northern powerhouse of poetry
The awards are distinctive in honouring new voices alongside internationally established names, and in attracting youthful, diverse audiences. Last year Danez Smith, 29, became the youngest ever winner of the prestigious Best Collection prize, while literary luminaries including Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney and Alice Oswald are all previous winners.
Winners of the Best Collection prize, the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection (£5,000) and the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (£1,000) are announced on October 20 as part of the Southbank Centre’s Poetry International festival.
McMillan, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, said: “Manchester Writing School has always been at the heart of the city and with events like this we’re putting ourselves at the heart of a poetry nation; building a northern powerhouse of poetry.
“This is particularly appropriate as we build towards the opening of the Manchester Poetry Library next year, the first of its kind in the region.”
Campbell is shortlisted for his second collection Noctuary. He is studying for a PhD at Manchester Metropolitan through the Arts and Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctorate Award, writing the libretto for a new opera in partnership with a composer from the Royal Northern College of Music.
The annual Forward Book of Poetry was published in September, featuring work from all of the shortlisted poets plus more of the year’s best poetry. The 2020 edition includes poems from Professors Carol Ann Duffy and Jean Sprackland.