Forward Prizes for Poetry 2019 Judges

Writer and broadcaster Shahidha Bari will chair the Forward Prizes for Poetry 2019 judging panel. She is joined by poets Tara Bergin, Andrew McMillan, and Carol Rumens, alongside Jamie Andrews, Head of Culture and Learning at the British Library.

Prizes will be awarded at the Southbank Centre on Sunday 20th October 2019.

Shahidha Bari is a writer, academic and broadcaster working in the fields of literature, philosophy and art. Born in 1980, she studied at Cambridge and now teaches at the University of London. She reviews for the Financial TimesGuardian and Frieze among others and won the Observer Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism in 2015. She features frequently on BBC TV and radio, and is a presenter of BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking discussion programme, also available as the BBC Arts & Ideas podcast. She was selected as one of the first BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers in 2011. Dressed: The Secret Life of Clothes is published by Jonathan Cape in June 2019. She lives in London.

Jamie Andrews leads Cultural and Learning Programming at the British Library, and previously led the development of the Library’s literature collections. He has curated several exhibitions on literature and theatre, led major international culture and research collaborative projects, and worked on a number of digital arts programmes. Jamie is a Fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme, a Trustee of Oxford House, and has previous non-executive experience in the cultural and Higher Education sectors. 

Tara Bergin was born and grew up in Co. Dublin, Ireland. She is the author of two books published by Carcanet Press,  This is Yarrow  (2013) and The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx  (2017), which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot and Forward Prizes, and  chosen as a Best Poetry Book of the year  by  TheTimes  and  The Irish Times.  Tara lectures part-time at Newcastle University.  

Andrew McMillan’s debut collection physical was the first ever poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award. The collection also won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, a Somerset Maugham Award (2016), an Eric Gregory Award (2016) and a Northern Writers’ award (2014). It was shortlisted the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Costa Poetry Award, The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year 2016, the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Roehampton Poetry Prize and the Polari First Book Prize. It was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Autumn 2015.  Most recently physical has been translated into Norwegian (Aschehoug, 2017), a bi-lingual French edition, Le Corps Des Hommes (Grasset, 2018) and is forthcoming in Galician (A Chan da Polvora, 2019). His second collection, playtime, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2018; it was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Autumn 2018. He is senior lecturer at the Manchester Writing School at MMU and lives in Manchester.   

Carol Rumens has published 17 collections of poetry including, most recently, the chapbook Bezdelki/ Small Things (The Emma Press), winner of the 2018 Michael Marks Award for Best Poetry Pamphlet. Her full-length collections include Animal People (Seren, 2016, Cardiff), and Perhaps Bag: Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow, 2017, New York). Carol’s 1981 collection, Unplayed Music, was a joint winner of the Alice Hunt-Bartlett Award, and her subsequent collection, Star Whisper, shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Award in 1983. She has also received the Prudence Farmer Prize and a Cholmondeley Award. Carol writes fiction, plays and literary journalism, including a popular poetry blog for the Guardian Books Online, “Poem of the Week.” Originally from South London, she currently teaches at Bangor University, North Wales, where she is a Professor of Creative Writing. 

Download the press release here.

Photography credits: Tara Bergin (Emmet Bergin), Shahidha Bari (Leigh-Keily for the BBC), Andrew McMillan (Urszula Soltys)