Will Harris by Etienne Gilfillan

Will Harris

Will Harris (b. 1989, London) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2018: the poem, SAY, is one of the centrepieces of RENDANG, drawing together many of Harris’s concerns: family, borders, transience, ‘the need for a voice capacious enough to be both me and not-me / while always clearly being me’. (He has written elsewhere, in the long essay Mixed-Race Superman, that ‘the mixed-race person grows up to see the self as something strange and shifting’.)

Writing on RENDANG in the Guardian, Joanna Lee has described how it ‘leans into a vocabulary all of its own, and announces itself as an artefact that will not be dislodged’; a good metaphor for the way Harris’s poems frequently build themselves around some undislodged irritation, like the grain of sand which produces a pearl. In 2019, Harris received a Poetry Fellowship from the Arts Foundation.

Read reviews of RENDANG in The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Irish Times and by Martyn Crucefix.
Read Will Harris’s ‘Top Ten Encounters in Literature‘ in The Guardian

Forward Prizes History:

  • 2020 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection, winner for RENDANG (Granta)
  • 2018 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, shortlisted for ‘SAY’ (The Poetry Review)

Photo credit: Etienne Gilfillan