Writer, critic and social historian Alexandra Harris will chair the Forward Prizes for Poetry 2020 judging panel. She is joined by poets Kim MooreRoger Robinson and David Wheatley, and journalist Leaf Arbuthnot.

Read the Press Release.



The winners of the 2019 Forward Prizes for Poetry have been announced.

Read the Press Release.

Read the announcement in the Guardian and the Bookseller.


Shortlists announced for the Forward Prizes for Poetry 2019.

Read the Press Release.


National Poetry Day turns 25 this year!

Read the Press Release.



National Poetry Day: Poetry is the UK’s new force for change

New research finds children from disadvantaged backgrounds more likely to engage with poetry

Read the Press Release

Poets Celebrate The Changes That Really Matter On National Poetry Day

Read the Press Release


The winners of the 2018 Forward Prizes for Poetry are announced.

Read the Press Release

Read the announcement on The BBCThe TelegraphThe Guardian Podcast, and The Bookseller


The shortlist for the 2018 Forward Prizes for Poetry shortlists are announced.

Read the Press Release

Read the announcement on the Telegraph, The GuardianThe Bookseller and Publishing Perspectives.


Bidisha to chair 2018 Forward Prizes for Poetry, alongside poets Mimi Khalvati, Niall Campbell and Chris McCabe, director of the National Poetry Library, plus Jen Campbell, poet, author and vlogger.

Read the Press Release

Read the announcement on The Bookseller, Bookbrunch and Publishing Perspectives.



The shortlists for the Forward Prizes are announced.

Read the Press Release

Read the Forward Prizes shortlists celebrated by The Bookseller, The Guardian, Irish Times, BBCFoyles and Publishing Perspectives.


The journalist and broadcaster Andrew Marr will chair the 2017 Forward Prizes for Poetry, the judging panel includes artist Chris Riddell, the poet-critic Sandeep Parmar and the poets Mona Arshi and Ian Duhig.

E-zines will be eligible alongside printed poetry magazines for The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. 

Read the full press release.



Vahni Capildeo has been awarded the Forward Prize for Best Collection for Measures of Expatriation. Tiphanie Yanique’s Wife won the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem went to Sasha Dugdale for Joy. The press release from the Forward Arts Foundation can be found here. The announcement also received coverage in The Guardian, the BBC, The Telegraph, The Trinidad Express and The Bookseller.

This September, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Forward Prizes and Books, we’re publishing two new anthologies.
The Forward Book of Poetry 2017
100 Prized Poems: Twenty-five years of the Forward Books.

Just click on the links to learn more.


We announced the 2016 Forward Prizes. The Guardian highlights the huge variety of languages used within the shortlisted works and speaks of poetry as the art of “the age of migration”: the Bookseller highlights the presence of eleven women on the fifteen-strong shortlists.

All press enquiries & interview requests: Christopher Bone or Annabel Robinson of FMcM here.

January 2016

Submissions open to publishers for 25th Forward Prizes.  Prizes to be judged on 20 September 2016. Judges are Malika Booker, Liz Berry, Don Share, George Szirtes and Tracey Thorn. Prize for Best First Collection increased to £15,000, with £1000 for each shortlistee in this category.



Small Hands cover

Citizen cover

Claudia Rankine wins the Forward Prize for Best Collection with Citizen: An American Lyric (Penguin). Mona Arshi’s Small Hands (Liverpool University Press) wins the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection and Claire Harman wins the Best Single Poem for “The Mighty Hudson”, published in the TLS.

The press release from Forward Arts Foundation can be found here. The announcement also received coverage from the BBCThe New Statesman, The Guardian, The Bookseller, The Telegraph, TLS, Times of India and The New Statesman.


The shortlists for the 2015 Forward Prizes are out: read the press release and the first report, focussing on the diversity of the poets included, here. Further discussion of the shortlists can be read over at The Guardian, The Bookseller, Irish Times, Baroque in Hackney, Write Out Loud and London Review of Books.

From Elsewhere coverOne Thousand Things Worth Knowing coverCitizen coverDue North coverThe Boys Of Bluehill cover

Small Hands coverLoop of Jade coverphysical coverBlood Work coverAn Aviary of Small Birds cover

Reviews of the shortlisted poets as a group come from Davepoems, Martyn Crucefix, and Dura Dundee.

Reviews of the Individual poets are as follows:

Claudia Rankine

Sunday Times review by Jeremy Noel Tod
Independent review by Sean O’Brien
Guardian interview
Observer review by Kate Kellaway
Buzzfeed interview

Eilean Ni Chuilleanain


Mona Arshi

Sunday Times

Sarah Howe

Guardian Saturday Poem

Andrew McMillan


Kim Moore

Financial Times


Writer and performer A L Kennedy is to chair the jury for the 2015 Forward Prizes for Poetry, with three poets – Colette Bryce, Carrie Etter, Warsan Shire – and the BBC producer Emma Harding. And we rejoice that Poems of the Decade has been chosen as an English Literature set-text for A and A/S Level.

Here’s the press release, and a report in the  Guardian.



Glowing praise for the Forward Book of Poetry 2015 in The Daily Telegraph Christmas round-up of books of the year. Tom Payne writes: “The 2015 offers another excellent opportunity to catch up on favourite poets, as well as to discover new ones; and again, it represents the great variety of poetry today.”


Join us to share poems you love. With support from the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, we have teamed up with the Reading Agency to distribute thousands of copies of Essential Poems (Bloodaxe), edited by Neil Astley on World Book Night, 23 April 2015. Each anthology will include bonus pages with poetry by Kei Miller, Liz Berry and others. Read all about it in the Guardian. And to join in, apply here.


Kei Miller wins the Forward Prize for Best Collection, Liz Berry the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection and Stephen Santus the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. Read all about it in the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph and the Bookseller. The press release is here.


Jeremy Paxman’s introduction to the Forward Book of Poetry 2015 is published in the Financial Times.


The Forward Book of Poetry 2015 is on sale. Read the press release here.


The shortlists for the Forward Prizes are announced. Here is the press release and a download of the shortlist. And here’s how the Guardian reported it.


Jeremy Paxman will chair the Forward Prizes jury this year, with fellow jurors Dannie Abse, Vahni Capildeo, Helen Mort and Cerys Matthews. See the report in The Bookseller


The Sunday Times review of  the Forward Book of Poetry, in which Jeremy Noel-Tod declares that the Forward judges have done well in this anthology to represent both large and minor clans in “the small semi-lawless zone known as Poetryland.”


Michael Symmons Roberts won the 2013 Forward Prize for Best Collection for Drysalter (Cape Poetry), a book of 150 poems, each exactly 15 lines long. The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection was awarded to Emily Berry for Dear Boy (Faber) and the prize for Best Single Poem went to Nick MacKinnon for The Metric System, first published in The Warwick Review.

The prizes were awarded by William Sieghart, chairman of the Forward Arts Foundation and founder of the 22-year old prizes, at a ceremony at the Southbank on October 1. Read the reports from the BBCThe Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent.

The Financial Times applauded the event, produced by Kirsty Peart for WordTheatre and directed by Cedering Fox, as “the bardic equivalent of the Oscars”.  The decision to use actors – including Helen McCrory, Juliet Stevenson, Martin Jarvis, Samuel West and Natascha McElhone – to read poetry on stage prompted lively debate about the different ways of making poetry heard. The Southbank audience included many who had never attended a poetry reading before, including The Mail on Sunday’s writer, who said the Southbank event, attended by a “large, rapt audience”, was “a collective seduction’.


Great review for The Forward Book in The Independent


CJ Allen has withdrawn his poem Explaining the plot of Blade Runner to my mother who has Alzheimer’s from the Forward Prizes shortlist for Best Single Poem, following accusations that he has plagiarised work in the past. The BBC runs the sorry story in full here and The Bookseller has more. In an email to the Forward Arts Foundation, CJ Allen writes:

I accept that I did plagiarise certain poems (although it was genuinely not my intention to deceive), and I am withdrawing from the competition because of the intolerable strain of the recent, negative publicity surrounding this. However, I continue to maintain that the poem submitted to the Forward Prizes is original.

Jeanette Winterson, chairman of the 2013 Forward Prizes judging panel, says:

We thought the poem had depth, wit, truth and elegance. Maybe CJ Allen is a shyster, maybe not. Our job wasn’t to pass judgement on people or process, but to find good poems.

Susannah Herbert, director of the Forward Arts Foundation, says:

The Forward Arts Foundation celebrates excellence and deplores plagiarism. CJ Allen maintains that the poem submittted to the 2013 Forward Prizes judges is his original work, but he admits he has plagiarised in the past and wishes to withdraw from the competition. The poem Explaining the plot of Blade Runner to my mother who has Alzheimer’s has now been removed from the shortlist of Best Single Poems and will not be considered at the final judging meeting at on October 1, nor will it be performed at the Forward Prizes award ceremony at the Southbank Centre that evening.


The Forward Prizes will be awarded at the Southbank Centre on Tuesday October 1: the event is produced by WordTheatre and the shortlisted poetry will be read by actors, including Helen McCrory, Samuel West, Juliet Stevenson, Ian Hart, David Soul and Natascha McElhone, as reported in The Evening Standard.


The “strong shortlist” for the Forward Prizes Best Collection is reviewed here.


See how the Forward Prizes shortlist was reported:

The Guardian on the Forward Prizes shortlist
Sheenagh Pugh on judging the Forward Prizes 2013