Poetry is an art in which the UK and Ireland has long enjoyed international pre-eminence. And yet the public can find contemporary poetry intimidating and unapproachable. Hence the double focus of our work: “outreach” through National Poetry Day and “excellence” through the prizes.
The Forward prizes and books have for 25 years served as signposts helping readers and listeners find work that rewards attention. The poems anthologised are regarded as the best of the year’s published works, because of the quality of the judging panels – from Stephen Spender to Jeanette Winterson. These 1,600 works represent our contemporary literary canon. They are our heritage, as much as great contemporary architecture and art.
We want to ensure audiences of the future are aware of the best of today’s writing.
We plan to create an exceptional resource of contemporary poetry, making a selection of the Forward Prizes archive available online for the first time. From this, we will devise a series of resources aimed at those whose backgrounds and circumstances do not favour involvement with poetry. It’s a big project. If you would like to be part of this, please let us know.
We are a registered charity (number 1037939) and we are delighted to accept legacies: if you would like to speak to us, call on 020 7845 4655 or email email@example.com