Pascale Petit's 'Mama Amazonica' wins inaugural £5,000 Laurel prize
Pascale Petit’s seventh poetry collection Mama Amazonica has won the inaugural eco-poetry Laurel prize, which was inaugurated by the poet laureate Simon Armitage. The announcement was made at an online ceremony and reading held on the evening of National Poetry Day.
The judges were Simon Armitage, Robert Macfarlane and Moniza Alvi. The prize is funded by Simon Armitage out of the £5,000 honorarium he receives annually from the Queen, and is run by the Poetry School. The £2,000 second prize went to Karen McCarthy Woolf for Seasonal Disturbances (Carcanet); and Colin Simmons won the £1.000 third prize with Hen Harrier (Shearsman). In addition Matt Howard won £500 for best first collection for Gall (Rialto).
In addition the prize’s partner for this year, the UK’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), are funding a commission for the three winners to write a poem inspired by the AONB closest to their heart.
Pascale Petit's 2017 collection Mama Amazonica won the Royal Society of Literature's 2018 Ondaatje prize for writing celebrating the spirit of a place - the first time in the prize's 15-year history that a poetry title won the award. Her latest collection Tiger Girl, published last month by Bloodaxe, and shortlisted for the Forward prize for best collection, explores her grandmother’s Indian heritage and the fauna and flora of subcontinental jungles, which are under threat from poaching and deforestation.
PHOTOGRAPH: GREG FREEMAN / WRITE OUT LOUD