2022 Forward Prize Winners

2022 marked the 30th anniversary of the Prizes (first awarded in 1992), and over the last three decades the prizes have celebrated some of the most recognised names in poetry including Simon Armitage, Thom Gunn, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy, Claudia Rankine, Jackie Kay and Caleb Femi.

The Prizes ceremony is accompanied by The Forward Book of Poetry, an annual anthology which brings together the best new work published in the UK and Ireland.

Forward Prizes for Poetry Winners 2022

Congratulations to the 2022 winners:

Best Collection: Kim Moore, All The Men I Never Married

Best First Collection: Stephanie Sy-Quia, Amnion

Best Single Poem: Nick Laird, ‘Up Late’

‘Poetry is the art of the people and the times we live in. It’s an honour to be the chair of judges for the Forward Prize this year and to be spending time in the company of my very talented co-judges as we dedicate our attention to the wider world of contemporary poetry.’

– Fatima Bhutto, Chair of the 2022 Forward Prizes jury


Forward Prize for Best Collection 2022 (£10,000)


Kim Moore
All the Men I Never Married (Seren)

All the Men I Never Married deals with experiences of everyday sexism through forty-eight numbered poems and a gallery of exes and significant others.

Stephen Sexton praised the book as a ‘tonally profound collection which is precise, careful, unfolding, whose methodical, numbered poems show us the work and process of overcoming people and encounters’ whilst the judges chair, Fatima Bhutto found the collection ‘full of dangerous wit and knowing humour that speaks directly to the reader in a hugely pleasurable way.’

Nadine Aisha Jassat described it as ‘A phenomenal and powerful collection, and one I urgently want to share with everyone I know. It feels so true, precise, brilliant and layered.’

Forward Prize for Best Collection 2022 Shortlist

Kaveh Akbar

Pilgrim Bell
(Chatto & Windus)

Anthony Joseph

Sonnets for Albert
(Bloomsbury Poetry)

Shane McCrae

Cain Named the Animal
(Little Brown)

Kim Moore

All the Men I Never Married
(Seren Books)

Helen Mort

The Illustrated Woman
(Chatto & Windus)

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


Stephanie Sy-Quia
(Granta Poetry)

Amnion spotlights colonialism, class and migration through an accomplished blending of fiction, epic poetry and the lyric essay. It explores the reverberations that the actions of one generation can have on the next, through acts of bravery and resistance, great and small.

Judge alice hiller praised the collection for ‘working in crucial new territory around questions of migrations and gendered identity, both thematically, and in terms of delivery. Through the extended, fragmented form, Sy-Quia interlinks multiple generations and diverse identities, always questioning how the individual narratives are sited relative to the dominant power structures and historical realities shaping their outcomes.’

Rishi Dastidar said: ‘Amnion makes the blood flow faster, it is dazzling, new and exciting in the way it braids the personal with the broader context.’

Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection Shortlist

Mohammed El-Kurd

(Haymarket Books)

Holly Hopkins

The English Summer
(Penned in the Margins)

Padraig Regan

Some Integrity

Warsan Shire

Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head
(Chatto & Windus)

Stephanie Sy-Quia

(Granta Poetry)

Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2022 (£1,000)


Nick Laird
‘Up Late’ (Granta)

Nick Laird wrote his winning poem ‘Up Late’ as an elegy to his father who died of Covid in March 2021. He said ‘it has a weird real-time element to it that wouldn’t be there if I’d been able to be with my father, so it’s of the moment in that sense. It was the peculiar circumstances of the covid pandemic, where you couldn’t be with your dying loved ones, that brought the poem about in that form.’

The judges felt Laird’s poem sincerely engaged with death, grief and the private and shared lived experience of the pandemic in ways which readers will find profoundly moving and cathartic.

Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2022 Shortlist

Louisa Campbell

‘Dog on a British Airways Airbus 319-100’

Cecilia Knapp

‘I’m Shouting I LOVED YOUR DAD at my Brother’s Cat’

Nick Laird

‘Up Late’

Carl Phillips

‘Scattered Snows, to the North’
(PN Review)

Clare Pollard

(Bad Lilies)

The Forward Book of Poetry 2023


Our friends at the Poetry Book Society are offering their annual bundle deal on the Forward Prizes shortlist. You can buy all ten shortlisted collections for the incredible price of £110. Find out more here or see the books individually in Forward’s Bookshop.

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