Forward Prizes 2016

Forward Prizes for Poetry: 25 Years

This is the 25th year of the Forward Prizes for Poetry, the most coveted poetry awards in the UK and Ireland. To celebrate, our lead sponsor, the content marketing agency Forward Worldwide, is increasing the value of the Forward Prize for Best Collection to £15,000 and offering £1,000 to each of the poets shortlisted in this category.

This year’s judging panel is chaired by Malika Booker, writer and spoken word artist, and includes poets George Szirtes and Liz Berry, with singer/songwriter Tracey Thorn and Don Share, editor of Poetry magazine. We welcome entries in three categories:

  • The Forward Prize for Best Collection (£15,000)
  • The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection  (£5,000)
  • The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (£1,000)

Submissions have now closed (see our Submittable page for full details) and the judges are busy reading. The shortlist will be announced in June and the prizes will be awarded on 20 September 2016 at the Royal Festival Hall.

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 1992 by philanthropist William Sieghart to celebrate excellence, and are awarded to published poets for work in print in the last year. The three prizes – £15,000 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.

Read about last year’s laureates, Claudia Rankine, Mona Arshi and Claire Harman. here.