Beautifully written and emotionally charged
The Director of Newcastle University’s Centre for Literary Arts was presented with the award for Best Collection at a ceremony at London’s Royal Festival Hall last night.
The £10,000 Forward Prize is one of the most prestigious in poetry and previous winners include Carol Ann Duffy and Ted Hughes.
The judging panel, which was made up of poets Ian Duhig, Sandeep Parmar, Mona Arshi and artist Chris Riddell, was chaired by broadcaster and journalist Andrew Marr. He said: “The poems in On Balance are beautifully written, emotionally charged and filled with a wonderful complexity. This is writing that successfully comes right up to the edge, again and again. We were taken by the openness, the capacity and the exuberance of this work. On Balance is a collection that readers will keep and go back to for a long time to come.”
Fantastic night for our poets
Also shortlisted for best collection was Dr Tara Bergin, Lecturer in Poetry at Newcastle University, for The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx.
Sinéad Morrissey said: "I'm delighted that On Balance has been awarded this year's Forward Prize. It was an incredibly strong shortlist and, with Tara Bergin's fantastic collection The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx also shortlisted, a very strong showing for Newcastle University. It was especially pleasing to win this time round as it was the third time I've been shortlisted for this particular award."
Professor Morrissey’s work has received numerous accolades including the Patrick Kavanagh Award (of which she was the youngest ever winner), the Michael Hartnett Prize and the Irish Times/Poetry Now Award. In 2007 she took first prize in the National Poetry Competition with ‘Through the Square Window’, a haunting poem that contrasts an image of the dead gathering outside a window with that of a child sleeping peacefully indoors.
Dr James Annesley, Head of the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics said: “I’m thrilled for Sinéad, absolutely delighted to see her beautiful collection recognised like this. With Tara Bergin nominated alongside Sinéad, it was another fantastic night for poets from our University.”
The Forward Prize is further recognition for creative writing at Newcastle University. In January, Jacob Polley won the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry for his collection Jackself, a prize Sinéad Morrissey also won in 2014. In 2007, Professor Sean O’Brien became the first poet to win the TS Eliot and Forward Prizes for the same collection in the same year.
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