Hollie McNish's poetic memoir about motherhood wins Ted Hughes award
Hollie McNish has won this year’s £5,000 Ted Hughes award for new work in poetry for her poetic memoir Nobody Told Me, which has been described as a collection of “diary” poems and stories, documenting parenthood and addressing love, sex, feeding, gender, ice cream, race, commercialism and finding secret places to scream every once in a while.
Judge Jo Bell said: “Adrian Mitchell said that ‘most poetry ignores most people’ but Hollie’s book puts things that most people ignore right back in the spotlight. This book is more than the sum of its parts, combining the immediacy of a diary with straight talking poetry from a spoken word tradition. This book is funny and serious, humane and consciousness-raising: it changed the way I think about women (and I am one). Should be given to every new parent, and handed to them along with their baby-care products."
Fellow judge Bernard O’Donoghue added: “There is a long and honourable tradition since antiquity of works alternating between prose memoir and poetry based on it – works like Dante’s Vita Nuova and Basho’s Narrow Road to the Deep North. Nobody Told Me is a classic case of this mixed form. Hollie McNish describes the experience of pregnancy and young motherhood in a vivid language that brings both forms to life, and makes them real for readers to whom these things are new as well as those to whom they are familiar.”
You can read an extract here from Nobody Told Me here