The winner of the annual Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize 2020 will be announced at a virtual award night, hosted by Nick Laird, with readings from the winning and shortlisted collections.
The Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize is awarded to a writer whose first full collection has been published in the preceding year, by a UK or Ireland-based publisher. The winning writer receives £5,000.
In place of the annual live event, join us for the announcement of this year's Poetry Prize, hosted by chair of the judging panel Nick Laird, and brought to your screens by the QFTplayer.
We'll hear from all the five shortlisted collections before the winner is announced. Join us live on the night, (raising a glass on social media), to celebrate this exciting new work.
The Shortlist includes:
Flèche, by Mary Jean Chan (Faber & Faber, 2019)
Significant Other, by Isabel Galleymore (Carcanet, 2019)
A Man’s House Catches Fire, by Tom Sastry (Nine Arches Press, 2019)
So Many Rooms, by Laura Scott (Carcanet, 2019)
Fold, by Lucy Wadham (Pindrop Press, 2019)
Speaking about the prize Nick Laird, Chair of the judging panel said:
“This year there were 43 entrants for the Seamus Heaney award for the best debut collection published in the UK and Ireland, and as always the judges were deeply impressed with the creativity on display. There was immense diversity in tone and subject matter, and it was a struggle to narrow the candidates down to only five books. The shortlist we’ve chosen represents not just accomplishment but also potential.
Each book on the shortlist is ambitious enough to find, amid the deafening static of real life, a space to communicate in. We were put in mind of John Hewitt’s prescription: I do not pitch my voice/ that every phrase be heard / by those who have no choice: / their quality of mind / must be withdrawn and still, / as moth that answers moth / across a roaring hill. Any one of these books would be a worthy winner, and all are worth your time.”