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Forward thinking poetry

St Andrews poet Don Paterson has won the £10,000 Forward poetry prize with his collection Rain, described by the judging panel as displaying “a total mastery of his art”.

The award completes a hat trick of Forward Poetry prizes for Paterson, a creative writing lecturer at the University of St Andrews. His debut collection Nil Nil took the Forward prize for Best First Collection in 1993 and last year he won the Best Single Poem award with Love Poem For Natalie “Tusja” Beridze.

Competing on one of the strongest shortlists in recent years, Rain was considered ‘tremendously moving’ by judge and former winner David Harsent. He commented, “It is a book of great seriousness by a particularly gifted writer. It has enormous emotional depth and he is a very skilful writer in real command of his craft.”

The award is considered one of the most prestigious poetry honours in the UK. Created in 1991 to bring contemporary poetry to a wider audience, the annual Forward poetry competition is the only major award that recognises the work of both established and up-and-coming poets.

Paterson is only the second poet in the Forward prizes’ history to win both an award for Best First Collection and Best Collection.

The announcement was made last Thursday on National Poetry Day after an awards ceremony at Somerset House in London. The ceremony also saw Emma Jones’s The Striped World named Best First Collection and Best Single Poem was won by Robin Robertson for At Roane Head.

ENDS

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Ref:  Don Paterson Forward prize 161009
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