The 2020 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 fulfill 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, 2016 and 2018), it has already established itself as a platform for the discovery of fine new poets; its winners and runners-up include poets who 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 Polygon, Bloodaxe and Granta as well as the prestigious Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets.
To enter, poets must submit an unpublished collection of poetry; it can be submitted if it has been accepted for publication so long as the collection doesn’t appear in print by the time of the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. The runner-up will receive £2,500 and other shortlisted poets £1,000.
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 2020 for the 2020 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.
For further details of how to apply, visit the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award website.
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.
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. A runner-up in 2014 and 2016, Harry Josephine Giles went on to be nominated for 2016’s Forward Prize for Best First Collection for their debut collection Tonguit (Freight Books) and a Saltire Society Poetry Book of the Year Award in 2019 for their second collection.
In 2018, Roseanne Watt won the third Edwin Morgan Poetry Award with her collection Moder Dy, which was subsequently published by Polygon. She has also performed on Radio 6 and was asked by the SPL to edit its online anthology Best Scottish Poems 2019. Runner-up Daisy Lafarge has signed a two-book deal with Granta. Shortlisted Nadine Aisha Jassat was included in Jackie Kay’s International Literature Showcase Selection of Ten Compelling BAME Poets working in the UK, while her debut poetry collection Let Me Tell You This (404 Ink) won praise.
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. Next year is the centenary of Morgan’s birth, so an especially good moment to enter the competition.
The deadline is 2 March.