Forward Prizes of Poetry 2017 Winners

The Winners of the Forward Prizes for Poetry 2017

The prizes were awarded at a ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall on 21 September 2017 to:

The Forward Prize for Best Collection (£10,000)
Sinéad Morrissey – On Balance (Carcanet)

The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection (£5,000)
Ocean Vuong – Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Cape Poetry)

The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem Shortlist (£1,000)
Ian Patterson – The Plenty of Nothing (PN Review)

The the nation’s most coveted poetry prizes were awarded live on stage by Andrew Marr who chaired the judging panel of poets Ian Duhig, Sandeep Parmar and Mona Arshi, and artist Chris Riddell.

Congratulations to all 15 of the poets shortlisted for the three prizes.

Shortlists

The Forward Prize for Best Collection

Nuar Alsadir – Fourth Person Singular (Pavilion Poetry)
Tara Bergin – The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx (Carcanet)
Emily Berry – Stranger, Baby (Faber & Faber)
Michael Longley – Angel Hill (Cape Poetry)
Sinéad Morrissey – On Balance (Carcanet)

The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection 

Maria Apichella – Psalmody (Eyewear Publishing)
Richard Georges – Make Us All Islands (Shearsman Books)
Eric Langley – Raking Light (Carcanet)
Nick Makoha – Kingdom of Gravity (Peepal Tree Press)
Ocean Vuong – Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Cape Poetry)

The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem

Malika Booker – Nine Nights (Poetry Review)
Mary Jean Chan – // (Ambit)
Harmony Holiday – The City Admits no Wrongdoing (Prac Crit)
Ishion Hutchinson – Nightfall, Jane Ash Corner, St. Thomas (The Well Review)
Ian Patterson – The Plenty of Nothing (PN Review)

The Prizes have been generously supported by Bookmark since 1991 (until 2016, Bookmark traded as Forward Worldwide), and by the late Felix Dennis since 2004.

The Forward Prizes for Poetry are the most coveted awards for poetry published in Britain and Ireland: they have played an key role in bringing contemporary poetry to the attention of the wider public for quarter of a century. They were set up in 1991 by philanthropist William Sieghart to celebrate excellence in poetry and increase its audience, and are awarded to published poets for work in print in the last year. The three prizes – £10,000 for Best Collection, £5,000 for Best First Collection and £1,000 for Best Single Poem – are unique in honouring both the work of established poets and the debuts of brilliant unknowns. Past Forward Prizes winners include Claudia Rankine, Thom Gunn, Seamus Heaney, Alice Oswald, Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy and Kathleen Jamie.

The 2016 Forward Prizes winners were Vahni Capildeo, Tiphanie Yanique and Sasha Dugdale.