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The Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2018

Edwin Morgan, 1980
Edwin Morgan, 1980

The 2018 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award is now accepting entries from young Scottish poets or poets living in Scotland. With a prize of £20,000, the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award is one of the largest in the UK. The Edwin Morgan Trust was established in 2012 to fulfil the wishes of the Scottish poet laureate, Edwin Morgan (1920–2010), particularly the foundation of a new award for young Scottish poets. In the short time the biennial prize has been running (in 2014 and 2016), it has already established itself as a platform for the discovery of fine new poets; its winners and runners-up include poets who later went on to be nominated for a Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award and the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for First Full Collection as well as poets who have been published by Bloodaxe and the prestigious Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets.

The conditions for entry have changed a little for 2018. Whereas in previous years a collection could either be published or unpublished, it must now be unpublished; it can be submitted if it has been accepted for publication so long as the collection doesn’t appear in print by the time of the announcement of the Prize, which will take place at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August.

Poets should be no older than 30 years of age on the first day of January in the year of the Award, i.e. 1 January 2018 for the 2018 Award. Furthermore, those taking part must either have been born in Scotland, or continuously resident in Scotland for the last three years, or brought up in Scotland, or have a Scottish parent.

In 2014 Niall Campbell was the first winner of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. After winning the EMPA, his debut collection Moontide went on to win the Saltire Society’s First Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

Campbell says of his win in 2014: ‘The award allowed me 21 months away from work to concentrate on writing. I used this extra time away from work to write. And to read more than I would have. And to accept offers of readings which I might not otherwise have been able to accept.’

In 2016, Penny Boxall won the second Edwin Morgan Poetry Award with her collection Ship of the Line, which was published by Eyewear. A runner-up in 2014 and 2016, Claire Askew saw her first collection This Changes Things go on to be published by Bloodaxe and also be shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for First Full Collection. Also a runner-up in 2014 and 2016, Harry Giles went on to be nominated for 2016’s Forward Prize for Best First Collection for his debut collection Tonguit (Freight Books).

Could you be the next winner of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award? Or do you perhaps know someone who could be? The EMPA is now open for submissions and wishes all entrants the best of luck. Remember: the deadline is 2 March.

For further details of how to apply, visit the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award website.

Category: competition