Forward Prizes for Poetry

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Forward Prizes for Poetry
Forward Prizes for Poetry Logo.png
Awarded for Best Collection (£10,000); Best First Collection (£5,000); Best Single Poem (£1,000)
Sponsor Forward Worldwide, Arts Council England, The John Ellerman Foundation, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Rothschild Foundation, The Felix Dennis Trust
Location United Kingdom

The Forward Prizes for Poetry were created in 1991 by William Sieghart with the aim of celebrating excellence in poetry and increasing its audience, raising poetry's profile and linking poetry to people in new ways. The prizes do this by identifying and honouring talent. Each year, works shortlisted for the prizes - plus those highly commended by the judges - are collected in the Forward Book of Poetry.

The awards. sponsored since their inception by the marketing agency Forward Worldwide, are the most important annual poetry prizes in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland: winners include Thom Gunn, Seamus Heaney, Alice Oswald, Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy, Kathleen Jamie and Claudia Rankine.

The winners of the 2015 prizes were awarded on 28 September 2015 at Southbank Centre:

The 24th Forward Book of Poetry, an anthology of all the poems shortlisted for the prizes or highly commended by the judges, was published on 17 September 2015. Poems of the Decade: an Anthology of the Forward Books of Poetry, a selection of work by poets included in the first ten Forward Books of the 21st century is currently a set text for English Literature A Level (Edexcel). The poets represented include Patience Agbabi, Simon Armitage, John Burnside, Carol Ann Duffy, Helen Dunmore, UA Fanthorpe, Seamus Heaney, Andrew Motion, Daljit Nagra and Sean O'Brien.


The Forward Prizes for Poetry consist of three awards:

  • The Forward Prize for Best Collection, £10,000
  • The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection, £5,000
  • The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in memory of Michael Donaghy, £1,000

The Prizes are run by the Forward Arts Foundation, which is also responsible for National Poetry Day. The executive director of the Forward Arts Foundation is Susannah Herbert.[1]


The 2015 judging panel was chaired by A. L. Kennedy. Her fellow judges were the BBC producer Emma Harding and the poets Colette Bryce, Carrie Etter and Warsan Shire, the first Young Poet Laureate for London.[2]

2015 Shortlist[edit]

Best Collection[edit]

Ciaran Carson, From Elsewhere (Gallery Books)

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, The Boys of Bluehill (Gallery Books)

Paul Muldoon, One Thousand Things Worth Knowing (Faber & Faber)

Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric (Penguin Books)

Peter Riley, Due North (Shearsman)

Best First Collection[edit]

Mona Arshi, Small Hands (Liverpool University Press, Pavilion Poetry)

Sarah Howe, Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus)

Andrew McMillan, physical (Cape Poetry)

Matthew Siegel, Blood Work (CB editions)

Karen McCarthy Woolf, An Aviary of Small Birds (Carcanet)

Best Single Poem[edit]

Maura Dooley, 'Cleaning Jim Dine's Heart' (The Poetry Review)

Andrew Elliott, 'Doppelgänger' (Sonofabook)

Ann Gray, 'My Blue Hen' (The Moth)

Claire Harman, 'The Mighty Hudson' (Times Literary Supplement)

Kim Moore, 'In That Year' (Poetry News)

2014 Shortlist[edit]

Best Collection[edit]

Colette Bryce, The Whole & Rain-domed Universe (Picador Poetry)

John Burnside, All One Breath (Cape Poetry)

Louise Glück, Faithful and Virtuous Night (Carcanet)

Kei Miller, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (Carcanet)

Hugo Williams, I Knew the Bride (Faber & Faber)

Jeremy Paxman, Dannie Abse and Helen Mort at the Forward Prizes judging meeting 2014

Best First Collection[edit]

Fiona Benson, Bright Travellers (Cape Poetry)

Liz Berry, Black Country (Chatto & Windus)

Niall Campbell, Moontide (Bloodaxe Books)

Beatrice Garland, The Invention of Fireworks (Templar Poetry)

Kevin Powers, Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting (Sceptre)

Vidyan Ravinthiran, Grun-tu-molani (Bloodaxe Books)

Best Single Poem[edit]

Tim Nolan, 'Red Wing Correctional Facility' (Troubadour International Poetry Prize)

Denise Riley, 'After La Rochefoucauld' (Eggbox/UEA Poetry Series)

Stephen Santus, 'In a Restaurant' (The Bridport Prize)

Jack Underwood, 'Thank you for your email' (The White Review)

Jeffrey Wainwright, 'An Empty Street' (PN Review)

2013 Shortlist[edit]

Best Collection[edit]

Rebecca Goss, Her Birth (Carcanet/Northern House)

Glyn Maxwell, Pluto (Picador Poetry)

Sinéad Morrissey, Parallax (Carcanet)

Jacob Polley, The Havocs (Picador Poetry)

Michael Symmons Roberts, Drysalter (Cape Poetry)

Samuel West, Sheenagh Pugh, Jeanette Winterson, Paul Farley and David Mills at the first 2013 judging meeting

Best First Collection[edit]

Emily Berry, Dear Boy (Faber and Faber)

Marianne Burton, She Inserts the Key (Seren)

Steve Ely, Oswald's Book of Hours (Smokestack Books)

Hannah Lowe, Chick (Bloodaxe Books)

Dan O'Brien, War Reporter (CB Editions)

Adam White, Accurate Measurements (Doire Press)

Best Single Poem[edit]

Patience Agbabi, 'The Doll's House' (Poetry Review)

C. J. Allen, 'Explaining the Plot of Blade Runner to My Mother Who Has Alzheimer's' (Troubadour International Poetry Prize)

Rosie Shepperd, 'A Seedy Narrative or Moments of Lyrical Stillness?' (Smith|Doorstop)

Nick MacKinnon, 'The Metric System' (The Warwick Review)

Hugo Williams, 'From the Dialysis Ward' (London Review of Books)[3]

Previous Winners[edit]

Best Collection[edit]

Best First Collection[edit]

Best Single Poem[edit]

Previous Judges[edit]

























See also[edit]


  1. ^ Forward Arts Foundation. Retrieved 04 July 2013
  2. ^
  3. ^ Shortlist Announcement, 08.07.13, ''
  4. ^ a b c Alison Flood (1 October 2012). "Jorie Graham takes 2012 Forward prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 

External links[edit]