Malika Booker will be chairing the Forward prize judges

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Writer and spoken word artist Malika Booker will be chairing this year’s judging panel for the Forward poetry prizes. The panel also includes poets George Szirtes and Liz Berry, singer-songwriter Tracey Thorn and Don Share, editor of Poetry magazine.

Booker is a poet, playwright, novelist and multi-disciplinary artist. She is the founder of Malika’s Kitchen, a London-based writers’ collective with branches in New York and Chicago, and was the RSC’s first poet-in-residence. Her publications include the poetry collection, Pepper Seed (Peepal Tree Press, 2013). She currently holds the Wellcome Trust’s cultural fellowship at Leeds University.

Booker said: "This is an exciting time nationally and internationally for poetry. Last year we saw poets who are normally positioned at the margins taking centre stage. We saw traditional poets pushing against our rigid criteria of what constitutes a poem. Poets are experimenting, redefining and reconstructing their poetics. I have seen some amazing new collections hit the market place already and am therefore delighted to be able to read this year’s poetic offerings whilst chairing such a distinguished and talented cohort of Forward Prizes judges." 

The main Forward prize has been increased from £10,000 to £15,000 this year. The Forward prizes are for best collection (£15,000), the Felix Dennis prize for best first collection (£5,000) and the best single poem prize (£1,000)The prizegiving ceremony will be held on 20 September at the Royal Festival Hall, on London’s Southbank. More details





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