Forward Prizes for Poetry 2018

The Winners of the Forward Prizes for Poetry 2018

The prizes were awarded at a ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall on 18 September 2018 to:

The Forward Prize for Best Collection (£10,000)
Danez SmithDon’t Call Us Dead (Chatto & Windus)

The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection (£5,000)
Phoebe PowerShrines of Upper Austria (Carcanet)

The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (£1,000)
Liz BerryThe Republic of Motherhood (Granta)

Watch highlights from the 2018 Forward Prizes here and see the photos from the night here.

The nation’s most coveted poetry prizes were awarded live on stage by writer, critic, broadcaster and film-maker Bidisha who chaired the judging panel of poets Mimi Khalvati, Chris McCabe, Niall Campbell, and vlogger, poet and author Jen Campbell.

Congratulations to all 15 of the poets shortlisted for the three prizes.

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

Vahni Capildeo – Venus as a Bear (Carcanet)
J. O. Morgan – Assurances (Cape Poetry)
Toby Martinez de las Rivas – Black Sun (Faber & Faber)
Danez Smith – Don’t Call Us Dead (Chatto & Windus)
Tracy K. Smith – Wade in the Water (Penguin UK)

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

Kaveh Akbar – Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Penguin UK)
Abigail Parry – Jinx (Bloodaxe Books)
Phoebe Power – Shrines of Upper Austria (Carcanet)
Shivanee Ramlochan – Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting (Peepal Tree Press)
Richard Scott – Soho (Faber & Faber)

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

Fiona Benson – Ruins (Wild Court)
Liz Berry – The Republic of Motherhood (Granta)
Sumita Chakraborty – And death demands a labor (PN Review)
Jorie Graham – Tree (LRB)
Will Harris – SAY (The Poetry Review)

The Prizes have been generously supported by Bookmark since 1991 (until 2016, Bookmark traded as Forward Worldwide), and by the late Felix Dennis since 2004.

The Forward Prizes for Poetry are the most coveted awards for poetry published in Britain and Ireland: they have played a key role in bringing contemporary poetry to the attention of the wider public for a quarter of a century. They were set up in 1991 by philanthropist William Sieghart to celebrate excellence in poetry and increase its audience, and are awarded to published poets for work in print in the last year. The three prizes – £10,000 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.

The 2017 Forward Prizes winners were Sinéad Morrissey, Ocean Vuong and Ian Patterson.