The winners of the second Manchester Poetry Prize were announced at a gala ceremony at MMU last week.
Cheshire-born Judy Brown won the £10,000 first prize and New-York based Michelle Kern was awarded the Manchester Young Writer of the Year Award and a bursary for study at the University.
Courage and bravery
Over 1,000 entries from writers in more than 40 countries were received, with each submitting three to five unpublished poems.
Judges Simon Armitage, Lavinia Greenlaw and Daljit Nagra were delighted with the "courage and bravery" of the writing submitted, with chair of the panel Simon adding:
“Asking for a batch of poems rather than a single entry allows judges to look beyond competency and control in writing and to reward other virtues, such as risk-taking, inventiveness and sustained achievement.”
The six short-listed finalists (pictured above, excluding Michelle Kern) - Lesley Saunders, Clive McWilliam, John Clarke, Jack Underwood, Judy Brown and Michelle Kern - read aloud from their portfolios before Brown and Kern were announced winners.
International ‘community’ for poets
Judy was shocked by the announcement, saying: “Thank you very much. We just thought we were coming for a free dinner! Thank you so much. It’s fantastic, it’s lovely!”
Michelle, who sadly couldn’t be at the prize-giving in person, said: “I feel incredibly lucky to be honoured among such exciting writers. I cannot survive as a writer without the support of a community and now I am a member of a community with no borders.”
Poems in Judy’s portfolio range from ambiguous tensions in a park scene to an invisible woman exploring the deck of a ship. Michelle’s work mixes hushed explorations of spaces – gardens, houses and classrooms – with a frozen moment of drama on horseback.
Launch pad for writers
Established by the Writing School Creative Director and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy in 2008, the Manchester Poetry Prize celebrates the very best creative writing and acts as a launch pad for new writers.
Previous short-listed writers have gone on to win other awards, appear at reading events and have their work published and profits raised from the prize have enabled creative events and activities to run across the city.
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