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New performed poem category at Forwards next year 'to rebalance historical inequities'

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There was an intriguing moment last week at the Forward prizes ceremony at Contact theatre in Manchester, when organisers revealed that next year there will be a new prize category - Best Single Poem, Performed.

This category will be judged in 2023 by Joelle Taylor, winner of this year’s TS Eliot prize. Mónica Parle, co-executive director of the Forward Arts Foundation, said the new prize would seek “to rebalance historical inequities in our emphasis on written over performed poetry … We also hope it will increase the ways poets and audiences access and  engage with the prizes.”  

Joelle Taylor said: ‘This new category is great news for the wide range of poetics on offer, and will undoubtedly revive a scene damaged by the pandemic. I’m excited to be working with Forward to develop a new element to their work that reflects my long engagement in performance and spoken word.”

The organisers are hoping to announce more details about the new prize within a few days, and to invite submissions early in the new year.

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