2019 Forward Prizes

The Winners of the Forward Prizes for Poetry 2019

The prizes were awarded at a ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 20th October 2019.

The Forward Prize for Best Collection (£10,000)

Fiona Benson – Vertigo & Ghost (Cape Poetry)

The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection (£5,000)

Stephen Sexton – If All the World and Love Were Young (Penguin Books)

The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (£1,000)

Parwana Fayyaz – ‘Forty Names’ (PN Review)

The nation’s most coveted poetry prizes were awarded live on stage by writer and broadcaster Shahidha Bari who chaired the judging panel of poets Tara Bergin, Andrew McMillan and Carol Rumens, alongside Jamie Andrews, Head of Culture and Learning at the British Library.

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

The Forward Prize for Best Collection (£10,000)

Vertigo & Ghost by Fiona Benson (Cape)

Noctuary by Niall Campbell (Bloodaxe Books)

Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky (Faber & Faber)

The Million-petalled Flower of Being Here by Vidyan Ravinthiran (Bloodaxe Books)

City of Departures by Helen Tookey (Carcanet)

The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection (£5,000)

The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus (Penned in the Margins)

Surge by Jay Bernard (Chatto & Windus)

Truth Street by David Cain (Smokestack Books)

Significant Other by Isabel Galleymore (Carcanet)

If All the World and Love Were Young by Stephen Sexton (Penguin Books)

The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (£1,000)

‘Highbury Park’ by Liz Berry (Wild Court)

‘The Window’ by Mary Jean Chan (The National Poetry Competition by the Poetry Society)

‘Bridge’ by Jonathan Edwards (The Frogmore Papers)

‘Forty Names’ by Parwana Fayyaz (PN Review)

‘Comic Timing’ by Holly Pester (Granta Magazine)

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 are the leading awards for poetry published in the UK and Ireland. They honour debut collections alongside the work of eminent names, celebrating the year’s best new poetry with high profile live readings at the Southbank Centre every autumn. Notable alumni include Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Claudia Rankine, Simon Armitage, Jackie Kay, Carol Ann Duffy and Daljit Nagra.