Katharine Towers has been shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for her collection The Floating Man

The judging panel, including Gillian Clarke. Stephen Raw and Jeanette Winterson picked a shortlist of five titles, with the winner to be announced at an awards receptions in London on 24 March 2011.

Gillian Clarke said: "This is an innovative new prize that encourages poets to work with and inspire those who work in other art forms. This is fitting for a prize named after Ted Hughes, whose translations from ancient mythologies, and whose own rich collaboration with photographers and illustrators has shown us the way. This prize will grow in scope from year to year. I welcome that 'new' element."

"My expectation is that, as the Ted Hughes Award gets older (at present it seems to be at the toddler stage), the full gamut of risk-taking collaborations and new ways of confronting poetry are celebrated by this wonderful prize," added Stephen Raw. "This year we have a high quality shortlist and I am looking forward to a lively discussion when the other two judges and I thrash out a worthy winner."

Jeanette Winterson commented: "Poetry has always been a break-out form, an escape from the confines of cliché. Here we are finding that poetry is still working in surprising ways with new forms and new platforms, but keeping feeling where it belongs at the centre of life and through language."

In 2010, for the second year, members of the Poetry Society and Poetry Book Society were invited to recommend a living UK poet, working in any form, who has made the most exciting contribution to poetry.

The winner will be announced at an awards reception in London on 24 March 2011.

The £5,000 prize is donated by Carol Ann Duffy, funded from the annual honorarium the Poet Laureate traditionally receives from HM The Queen. The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry seeks to recognise excellence in poetry, highlighting outstanding contributions made by poets to our cultural life.

"The inaugural year of the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry revealed how much exciting work is going on in poetry. This award crosses artistic boundaries, recognising a broad range of poetry from film poems, translations and sculpture to verse plays and the printed word. As Alice Oswald, our first winner, said ‘it’s an award that dips beyond the mainstream into some of the more unusual poetic channels’. I’m looking forward to an exciting second year of the award." Carol Ann Duffy, 2010 


The Shortlist in full:

Martin Figura for Whistle. The personal story of the death of Figura’s mother at the hands of his father.

Kaite O’Reilly for The Persians. A beautifully poetic new version of Aeschylus’ tragic play.

Christopher Reid for Song of Lunch. Reid worked with director Niall McCormick to adapt his narrative poem ‘Song of Lunch’ into a 50-minute film.

David Swann for The Privilege of Rain. A collection of poems and prose written after a year as Writer in Residence at HMP Nottingham.

Katharine Towers for The Floating Man. Towers’ powerful début collection, a PBS recommendation.


Find out more about Katharine Towers

Find out more about The Floating Man

Find out more about the Ted Hughes Award