In 2014 Niall Campbell was the first winner of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. With a prize of £20,000, the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award is one of the largest in the UK. Open to Scottish poets aged 30 or under, the Award is given every two years. This August, the winner of the second Edwin Morgan Poetry Award will be announced at a special event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Today, the Trustees of the Edwin Morgan Trust are pleased to announce the shortlist of the second Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. The poets include:
• Claire Askew. Askew’s first collection This Changes Things was published by Bloodaxe earlier this year and she has appeared on Radio 3’s The Verb.
• Penny Boxall. Boxall’s first collection Ship of the Line is published by Eyewear. In 2014 she was commended in the Forward Prize.
• Sophie Collins. Collins received an Eric Gregory Award in 2014. An extended selection of her work will be featured in the first instalment of the newly revived Penguin Modern Poets series, with Emily Berry and Anne Carson, this July.
• Harry Giles. Giles’s debut collection Tonguit (Freight Books) has been nominated for 2016’s Forward Prize for Best First Collection.
• Miriam Nash. Nash’s pamphlet Small Change is published by flipped eye. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2015.
• Stewart Sanderson. Sanderson was shortlisted for the inaugural Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. In 2015 he received an Eric Gregory Award. This November he will take up a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship in Grez-sur-Loing, France.
Niall Campbell’s victory on 2014 demonstrates the life-changing potential of the prize and its reputation for recognising important new talent. 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: ‘I think the bankers have it wrong – time isn’t money; money is time. 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. The award allowed me 21 months away from work to concentrate on writing.’
As a consequence of being able to perform more, Campbell was contacted by an American editor who saw him at a reading, and he is soon to have a first US collection published as part of the prestigious Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets.
The judges of the Award are the National Poet for Scotland and Makar Jackie Kay and poet Stewart Conn. The judges say: ‘Our short-list reflects not just the richness and energy of this year's entries but a startling diversity: traditional forms put to harmonious use, dream-worlds and the natural world lyrically evoked, insights into aspects of Scottishness and responses to works of art, verbal wit and typographical inventiveness, and a probing of new poem sources and modes, of all of which we feel Edwin Morgan would have heartily approved.’
The winner of the 2016 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award will be announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Thursday 18 August, 7pm.