The ‘Oscars’ of poetry are set to take place in Manchester next month

Forward Prizes for Poetry is venturing out of London for the first time in 30 years for a special ceremony at Contact.

By Emma Davidson | 1 November 2022

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The winners of this year’s Forward Prizes for Poetry will be announced on 28th November 2022 at a live event at Contact, Manchester, which puts young people at the heart of their decision-making and creative practice. 

This new partnership sees the Forward Prizes for Poetry looking forward to the next 30 years with a reinvigorated commitment to supporting emerging and diverse talent across the UK and Ireland as well as building diverse mass audiences for poetry. 

The Forward Prizes are the most influential awards for new poetry published in the UK and Ireland, and over the last three decades have lauded some of the most recognised names in poetry including Simon Armitage, Thom Gunn, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy, Claudia Rankine, Jackie Kay and Caleb Femi. 

Distinctive for championing new voices and internationally renowned poets alike, the award’s shortlisted poets perfectly encapsulate the Forward Poetry Prizes dual role to celebrate excellence and welcome readers into the world of contemporary poetry. 

The Prizes are awarded in three categories: the Forward Prize for Best Collection (£10,000), the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection (£5,000) and the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (£1,000), and collections represent a mix of new voices and significant names. 

The Forward Prizes shortlists this year highlight the work of contemporary poetry to voice and process grief, to bend and play with the language of identity, to challenge and inhabit silence and to weave politics and spirituality into ways readers can feel lived experience in powerful and engaging ways. 

The Forward Poetry prize shortlists 2022 recognize works from the poetry lists from the big houses, with Chatto & Windus receiving two nominations in the Best Collection category and another in Best First Collection, whilst independent publishers continue to show their importance in the poetry landscape, particularly in their skills and support publishing emerging talent, with four out of five of the Best First Collection shortlisting. 

The shortlists also welcome the first shortlisting from Bloomsbury’s inaugural poetry list (overseen by editor Kayo Chingonyi who was shortlisted for A Blood Condition in 2021 Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection) with the jazz-inflected grief sonnets of Anthony Joseph’s Sonnets for Albert.