Ted Hughes Award

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The Ted Hughes Award is an annual prize given to a living UK poet for new work in poetry. It is awarded each spring in recognition of a work from the previous year.


The award was established in 2009 with the permission of Carol Hughes in honour of British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes.[1] Annually the members of the Poetry Society and Poetry Book Society recommend a living UK poet who has completed the newest and most innovative work that year, "highlighting outstanding contributions made by poets to our cultural life." The award seeks to celebrate new work that may fall beyond the conventional realms of poetry, embracing mediums such as music, dance and theatre. [2] The £5,000 prize funded from the annual honorarium that Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy receives as Laureate from The Queen.[3][4]

Alice Oswald was the inaugural winner of the 2009 award for her collection Weeds and Wildflowers (etchings by Jessica Greenman).[2] The 2010 award, selected by judges Gillian Clarke, Stephen Raw and Jeanette Winterson, was awarded to Kaite O’Reilly for her site specific retelling of Aeschylus’ play, The Persians (first produced in 472 BCE). Three other poets were short-listed. Christopher Reid worked with director Niall MacCormick to adapt his narrative poem The Song of Lunch into a 50-minute BBC2 film. David Swann's The Privilege of Rain (published by Waterloo Press, with wood-cuts by Clare Dunne), is a collection compiled following a year as Writer in Residence at HMP Nottingham (prison). Katharine Towers' The Floating Man is a debut collection published by Picador.[3]

The 2011 award went to Lavinia Greenlaw won the prize for sound piece Audio Obscura. Shortlisted were Julia Copus for Ghost Lines, Robert Crawford for Simonides, Andrew Motion for Laurels and Donkeys and Christopher Reid for Airs and Ditties of No Man’s Land.[5]

The 2012 award, selected by judges Cornelia Parker, Ian Duhig and Maura Dooley, went to Kate Tempest for her work Brand New Ancients.[6] Shortlisted were Colette Bryce, Roy Fisher, Ruth Padel, Mario Petrucci, Denise Riley and Tamar Yoseloff.[7]

The 2013 award went to Maggie Sawkins for Zones of Avoidance, a live production featuring multimedia written and performed by Sawkins and directed by Mark Hewitt.[8]

The 2014 award went to Sir Andrew Motion for his radio programme Coming Home. The production featured poetry by Motion based on recordings he made of British soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.[9]

The 2015 award was won by David Morley for his selected poems The Invisible Gift.

The 2016 award was won by Hollie McNish for her poetic memoir Nobody Told Me.[10]



  1. ^ Hughes Award history Archived 2011-05-19 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c "The Blagger's Guide To...The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry". The Independent . 13 March 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b Ted Hughes Award, hosted by the Poetry Society Archived 2011-04-26 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Website of the British Monarchy, "New poetry award announced", 9 July 2009
  5. ^ Poetry Society, 2012 award
  6. ^ a b "Kate Tempest wins Ted Hughes poetry prize for 'spoken story'", Guardian, 27 March 2013
  7. ^ Poetry Society 2013 Award detail Archived 2011-04-26 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ The Poetry Society, Maggie Sawkins Wins Ted Hughes Award, Poetry Book Society, 1 April 2014.
  9. ^ Brown, Mark (2 April 2015). "Andrew Motion wins Ted Hughes award for poetry work about returning soldiers". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Ted Hughes Award". poetrysociety.org.uk. Poetry Society. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  11. ^ "Ceredigion poet Kaite O'Reilly wins Ted Hughes Award". BBC News. 25 March 2011.
  12. ^ Flood, Alison (30 March 2012). "Lavinia Greenlaw wins Ted Hughes award 2011 for new work in poetry". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  13. ^ "Jay Bernard wins Ted Hughes new poetry award". BBC News Online. BBC. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  14. ^ Lea, Richard (28 March 2018). "Jay Bernard's 'personal and brave' poetry wins Ted Hughes award". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 8 April 2018.

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