We’re delighted to see Next Generation Poet 2014, Helen Mort, has won this year’s Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize for her collection Division Street (Chatto & Windus). One of the most significant and long-established poetry awards in the UK was announced at the opening of the 26th Aldeburgh Poetry Festival on Friday 7th November. From a shortlist of five outstanding titles, the three judges (Imtiaz Dharker, Robert Seatter and Anthony Wilson) unanimously agreed that the prize should go to Helen.
Winning this year’s Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize feels like a natural achievement for Helen Mort who has already benefited from The Poetry Trust’s talent development programmes. In 2009, she was one of eight up-and-coming poets selected for the highly-competitive Aldeburgh Advanced Seminar residential course in Suffolk; and in 2011 she took part in a ‘New Voices’ event at Aldeburgh Poetry Festival.
Responding to the news of her win, Helen said:
“Aldeburgh is a place I’ve always held dear – it was one of the first poetry festivals I ever went to and I fell in love with the location and atmosphere. The first time I attended, I was manning a stall on the main stage and listened to all the headline poets with a mixture of awe and exhilaration, never imagining I’d be one of them. And the chance to enjoy a week’s protected writing time in Aldeburgh is much needed too. After you’ve written a first book, you crave time and space to return to the things that got you writing in the first place. So the Prize is not only recognition for my first book but a new start for my next project. I’m thrilled.”
In other news, Kei Miller‘s collection The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion, followed up its success at this year’s Forward Prize by being named on the shortlist for the 2014 Costa Book Awards. Miller will go up in the poetry category against Collete Bryce’s The Whole and Rain-Domed Universe, Jonathan Edwards’ debut My Family and Other Superheroes, and Lavinia Greenlaw’s A Double Sorrow.
The winner of the poetry category will be announced on 5 January after which it will fight it out with the other category’s for Costa’s Book of the Year Award.