Picador Poetry Prize shortlist announced
The prize recognises the best new, previously unpublished poetry in the UK. It is awarded for a representative selection of a poet's work, rather than a single poem. The winner (to be announced in January) will receive an advance and the collection will be edited by Don Paterson and subsequently published by Picador.
From hundreds of entries the judges have chosen a shortlist of ten poets:
Mir Mahfuz Ali
Mir Mahfuz Ali was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1958. He studied at Essex University and the City Literary Institute in London. He dances, acts and has worked as a male model and a tandoori chef.
Gill is a lawyer, and worked for many years as a solicitor in the City of London. Her first pamphlet, 'The Thief', was published by HappenStance in June 2010. She won the 2008 Frogmore Prize for the single poem 'Estd in 1769 London'.
Born in 1973, Kaddy Benyon has worked extensively as a television scriptwriter and has had poems published in various magazines. She lives with her husband and two children and is completing an MA in Creative Writing at ARU, Cambridge.
Originally from Merseyside, Alan Buckley moved to Oxford to study English Literature and has lived there ever since. He has worked as a forklift truck driver, a psychotherapist, and a poet in residence at a prison. His debut pamphlet "Shiver" was the Poetry Book Society pamphlet choice in 2009.
Beatrice Garland works as a clinician, teacher and researcher for the NHS. She began to write poetry in 1989 and her work has been published in various magazines, including PN Review, the London Magazine, the Spectator and Rialto. In 2001 she won the National Poetry Prize and in 2002 the Strokestown International Poetry Prize.
Edward Mackay lives in east London and runs a conflict-resolution charity. He studied English and History at Oxford University. He was shortlisted for an Eric Gregory Award in 2009.
Born in 1970, Richard Meier works in the policy department of a leading mental health organisation. Some of his poems have appeared in magazines such as The Reader, The Rialto and Smiths Knoll, as well as the 2002 Oxford Poets Anthology.
Helen Mort was born in Sheffield in 1985. She has published two pamphlets, 'the shape of every box' and 'a pint for the ghost' which was also developed into a live literature show at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010.
Andrew Sclater lives in rural Northumberland where he writes and builds dry stone walls. He has been an actor, lecturer, gardener, editor, and landscape historian.
Ben Wilkinson was born in Stafford and his poems have appeared in various publications including Poetry Review, Poetry London, The Spectator, The Manhattan Review and the TLS. A pamphlet, The Sparks, was published in 2008.
Upon announcing the shortlist, the Chair of the judges, Don Paterson, commented: 'We've been delighted with the quality and variety of the entries, which have presented us with a snapshot of a poetry in terrifically good health. All the shortlisted poets have a bold sense of the poem as a vital form, and it's going to be a formidable task to choose the winner.'
Picador Publisher, Paul Baggaley, commented: 'Since 1997 Picador has earned a reputation for publishing the very best in contemporary poetry and, throughout his editorship, Don Paterson has consistently brought the brightest young poets to the Picador Poetry list. The Picador Poetry Prize is an exciting way of finding talented new voices for the list and in bringing them to a wider audience. I'm incredibly proud of our commitment to publishing exceptional poetry and look forward to welcoming a new poet to Picador.'
Since it began in 1997, Picador Poetry has established itself as one of the leading poetry imprints in the UK, and the roll-call of Picador authors includes many of the best-known names in British and American verse. The Picador Poetry Prize aims to encourage unpublished poets, unearth new talent, and bring exciting new writing to a wider audience.
Read a poem from each of the shortlisted poets. The winner will be announced in January - watch this space for news.
See more titles from Picador Poetry.