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The Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2018

The Trustees of the Edwin Morgan Trust are pleased to announce that Roseanne Watt has won the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2018.  Watt is the third poet to win an award set up by the late Makar Edwin Morgan to support poets 30 years of age and under. With its award of £20,000, the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award is one of the largest literary prizes in the UK.

Roseanne Watt is a poet, filmmaker and musician from Shetland; her poems are shaped by the landscape and language of her birthplace. She is poetry editor for the online literary magazine The Island Review. She was the winner of the 2015 Outspoken Poetry Prize (Poetry in Film) and runner-up in the 2018 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award. She lives and works in Edinburgh.

The Edwin Morgan Poetry Award is a competition for full-length, unpublished manuscripts. The judges were novelist Janice Galloway and poet John Glenday.

Galloway says of Watt that ‘her poems are built from the sight, sound and heartbeat of land as much as from the sea and salted-away memory, alongside which we find the most complex and mysterious of human experiences. This is a celebration of language, place and the mystery of being alive, alive, alive.’

Glenday adds, ‘There’s a remarkably mature intelligence at work in these profound, assured and wilfully spare poems—Roseanne Watt’s is a truly individual and welcome voice.’

Professor James McGonigal, chair of the Edwin Morgan Trust, says, ‘Not only did the number of entries increase for the third award, new and different voices from across Scotland were revealed. The judges combined diligence, sensitivity and their extensive professional experience in selecting five of these anonymous collections as worthy finalists. We are most grateful to them, and to all the entrants.’

The runner-up is Daisy Lafarge, who will receive a prize of £2,500. Lafarge is a writer and editor based in Edinburgh. In 2017 she received an Eric Gregory Award and her pamphlet, understudies for air, was published by Sad Press. She is a PhD researcher at the University of Glasgow and an editor at MAP, a platform for artist-led publishing and production.

Galloway says, ‘Daisy Lafarge’s poetry is such a daring, dramatic, even confrontational, collection I found myself, on occasion, open-mouthed with surprise and delight as I read, not just first time, but second and third too.’ Glenday added, ‘While reading through the submissions I was persistently drawn back to Daisy Lafarge’s work—her poems are so jampacked with pizazz, with verve, with sheer delight in the finicky, enthralling stuff of writing.’

The other short-listed poets, who each receive £1,000, are: Tom Docherty, Nadine Aisha Jassat and Peter Ratter. The Award is administered by the Scottish Poetry Library.

Category: competition, poets