Hugo Williams

Hugo Williams (b. 1942 Windsor) first wrote poetry aged 13, copying Laurie Lee and the Movement poets. ‘I liked writing,’ he says, ‘because I could do it and it cheered me up.’ Recently, while enduring the dialysis treatment that forms the subject of some of the poetry in I Knew the Bride, he has attempted more abstract styles and virtually ‘nonsense’ poems: ‘I see these as my future because my mind is going.’

Poetry, for Williams, is an opportunity to say the unsayable, ‘a search for meaning rather than an extension of existing thoughts’. He cites Michael Hofmann, Ian Hamilton and Philip Larkin as inspirations.

His advice to would-be poets: ‘Don’t have anything to do with universities or creative writing courses.’

Forward Prizes History:

  • 2014 Forward Prizes for Best Collection, shortlisted for I Knew the Bride (Faber)
  • 2013 Forward Prizes for Best Single Poem, shortlisted for ‘From the Dialysis Ward’ (London Review of Books)
  • 2009 Forward Prizes for Best Collection, shortlisted for West End Final (Faber)