First Collection Poetry Prize 2020 - The Shortlist
The Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s is delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2020 Poetry Prize, supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies.
The Shortlist includes:
Fléche, 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)
The winner will be announced during the Seamus Heaney Centre’s annual Poetry Summer School, at a virtual Award Night on Thu 2 Jul 2020.
The Seamus Heaney First Collection 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.
This year’s judges are Professor Nick Laird, poet and Chair of Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre; Professor Frank Ormsby, Ireland Chair of Poetry; and Dr Leontia Flynn, poet and reader in Poetry at the Seamus Heaney Centre.
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I do not pitch my voice/ that every phrase be heard / by those who have no choice: / their quality of mind / must be withdrawn and still, / as moth that answers moth / across a roaring hill.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.”