Shahidha Bari to chair Forward prize judges panel

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The presenter of BBC Radio 3’s arts and ideas programme Free Thinking, Shahidha Bari, will chair this year’s Forward prizes panel of judges, it was announced on Monday. Bari is a writer, academic and broadcaster working in literature, philosophy and art. She teaches at the University of London.

She is joined on the panel by Jamie Andrews, head of cultural and learning programming at the British Library and the poets Tara Bergin, Andrew McMillan and Carol Rumens.

The Forward prizes will be presented on Sunday 20 October as part of Southbank Centre’s Poetry International festival. Last year Danez Smith, aged 29, became the youngest winner of the Forward best collection prize.

Shahidha Bari said: “Poetry matters more than ever, responding to our private lives and our shared futures. It can be daring and humane in an age of division and hostility.”

The awards - worth a total of £16,000 - are sponsored by Bookmark Content, the global content and communications agency, and are run by the Forward Arts Foundation. They comprise the Forward prize for best collection (£10,000), the Felix Dennis prize for best first collection (£5,000) and the Forward prize for best single poem (£1,000).


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