David Cain

David Cain (b. 1972, Luton) found his interests in poetry, social history and sporting history being drawn together, when a poem of his about the agony of watching Luton Town lose at Wembley was read on national radio, and he was invited by the club to contribute a regular poem to the match-day programme. His debut collection, Truth Street, explores a darker part of the same territory; published to mark the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, it is a collage of eyewitness statements from the second inquest in 2014.

‘There was a real humanity and indeed beauty in those words’, writes Cain, who modelled his process on Charles Reznikoff’s Holocaust. ‘I wanted to try and rescue those lines from all the fragile jargon, and also the headline news verdicts.’ Truth Street was first performed in its entirety at the Utter Lutonia festival, in 2017.

Forward Prizes History:

  • 2019 Forward Prizes for Best First Collection, shortlisted for Truth Street (Smokestack Books)