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Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize 2020

36m Poetry 2020

One of the highlights of the Seamus Heaney Centre calendar, the annual Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize was originally shown on QFT Player on Thursday 2 July 2020.

This film features short readings from each of the shortlisted poets before Nick Laird, chair of the judges panel, announces and introduces the winner.

The Shortlist includes:

Flèche, by Mary Jean Chan (Faber & Faber, 2019) Significant Other, by Isabel Galleymore (Carcanet, 2019) A Man’s House Catches Fire, by Tom Sastry (Nine Arches Press, 2019) So Many Rooms, by Laura Scott (Carcanet, 2019) Fold, by Lucy Wadham (Pindrop Press, 2019)

“Each book on the shortlist is ambitious enough to find, amid the deafening static of real life, a space to communicate in. We were put in mind of John Hewitt’s prescription: ‘I do not pitch my voice / that every phrase be heard / by those who have no choice: / their quality of mind / must be withdrawn and still, / as moth that answers moth / across a roaring hill.’ Any one of these books would be a worthy winner, and all are worth your time.” - Nick Laird, Chair of the Judges panel

This prestigious prize is awarded annually to a writer whose first full collection has been published in the preceding year, by a UK or Ireland-based publisher. The winning writer receives £5,000. It is supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies.

This year’s judges were Professor Nick Laird, poet and Chair of Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre; Professor Frank Ormsby, Ireland Chair of Poetry; and Dr Leontia Flynn, poet and reader in Poetry at the Seamus Heaney Centre.

First Collection Poetry Prize




United Kingdom