Stellar line-up of judges for this year’s Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry

Kei Miller wp

The Poetry Society is delighted to announce that Julia Copus, Kei Miller and Grayson Perry are the three intrepid judges set to decide who will be awarded the 2014 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. The Ted Hughes Award was the first award to recognise new poetry sensation Kate Tempest – who has since gone on to be picked as a Next Generation Poet 2014 and shortlisted for the Mercury Prize. Who will the judges discover this year?

Established in 2009, the Ted Hughes Award seeks to recognise exciting new work in poetry. Celebrating innovation, the Award often highlights the ways in which poets engage with other art forms. In order to reflect the nature of the Award and the wide variety of work considered, the judging panel always comprises artists from a range of backgrounds: this year award-winning poets Julia Copus and Kei Miller join Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry. The Ted Hughes Award is made possible by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, who donates the prize money from the annual honorarium awarded to her by HM The Queen. Duffy said of this year’s award:

“It’s a great pleasure to be introducing the 6th annual Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. Combining poetry with a host of other forms of artistic expression, it has become one of the most significant prizes in the calendar. It acknowledges new and emerging artists producing original, innovative and vital works like Zones of Avoidance, the piece that made Maggie Sawkins the 2013 winner. As well as the prestige associated with being awarded a prize like this, it expands the reach of the winning work, bringing it, and its creator, to the attention of eager new audiences across the UK.”

When it comes to the entries, Grayson Perry: “will be looking to cry… I will be measuring the tears – although they may be tears of laughter” while Julia Copus will be searching for work that “leaves me more keen-sighted, able to see the world newly and distinctly” and that’s exactly the kind of work that has come to be expected of the UK’s most innovative poetry award.

Watch Kei Miller, recently named as one the the Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation Poets 2014, talk about his writing life and work here.

The award seeks to highlight and reward poetry in books and beyond – on the stage, on the radio, on film and TV, in art
galleries and around us in the built environment. Previous winners of the £5,000 prize include Maggie Sawkins in 2013 and Kate Tempest in 2012, as well as Lavinia Greenlaw in 2011 for Audio Obscura, a sound work; the playwright Kaite O’Reilly for her 2010 verse translation of The Persians; and, in 2009, Alice Oswald for her illustrated collection Weeds and Wildflowers. In order to consider the full sweep of new poetry, the Ted Hughes Award invites members of the Poetry Society, and / or Poetry Book Society, to recommend a living UK poet, working in any form, who they feel has made an outstanding contribution to poetry in 2014. Recommendations are shortlisted by the judges in February 2015 and the winner is announced at an event in March 2015.

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