Monday, 25 October 2010

The Michael Murphy Memorial Prize

To celebrate National Poetry Day on 8th October 2010, the English Association announced the inauguration of a new biennial prize of £500 for a distinctive first volume of poetry in English published in Britain or Ireland – in the first instance between January 2008 and June 2011.

The Prize has been established by some of his colleagues at Nottingham Trent University, in honour of the Liverpool-born poet Michael Murphy, who died of a brain tumour, aged 43, in May 2009.

Michael Murphy’s first volume of poetry, After Attila, appeared from Shoestring Press in 1998 when he was 33. Shoestring has published two subsequent collections, Elsewhere (2003) and Allotments (2008), and will bring out a posthumous Collected Poems in 2011. In 2001 Michael was awarded the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize by Poetry Review as ‘New Poet of the Year’. The intention of the present prize is to extend the same recognition to another new poet.

The adjudicators for the first award will be:

Poet and critic Deryn Rees-Jones (Michael’s widow)
Poet and literary historian Gregory Woods
Poet, translator and publisher Anthony Rudolf

I met Michael, once, briefly, many years ago, when we were both nominated for the Dearmer Prize, which he deservedly won. I remember him being so very happy and proud that night. It is terribly cruel that within the decade he would succumb to cancer. This prize is a fitting tribute to his memory and his craft.

For further details on how to have a collection considered for the prize, click here.

New Welsh Review seeking next editor, commencing March 2011

The closing date for applications for the post of editor of New Welsh Review is fast approaching – 3 November 2010.

You'll need enthusiasm, energy, tenacity, and a strong understanding of the tradition of Welsh writing in English, as well as the finest of literary writing from Wales today. Likewise, you should be in a position to contextualise Welsh writing in a wider UK and European context. You'll also require confidence, independent thinking, strong organisational skills, grace under pressure and a can-do, self-starting approach. The ability to network and form strong professional relationships with writers, academics, thinkers and other organisations is an absolute must.

This is a wonderful and quite unique opportunity for the right person. If you think you've got what it takes to be the next steward of Wales's literary magazine, which encompasses features, fiction, poetry and literary criticism, visit the New Welsh Review website.

Friday, 22 October 2010

From Aberystwyth to Vancouver – and back

Thanks to all those who came through the cold last night to enjoy Tyler Keevil reading from and discussing his work. It was an excellent event and it was great to see such a large and appreciative audience.

If you haven't already bought Tyler's terrific debut, Fireball, please do. More information on Tyler and other new faces including in Parthian's Bright Young Things series can be found by clicking here.

T. S. Eliot Prize shortlist 2010

The shortlist for this year's T. S. Eliot Prize has been announced. The titles selected are:

Seeing Stars Simon Armitage (Faber)
The Mirabelles Annie Freud (Picador)
You John Haynes (Seren)
Human Chain Seamus Heaney (Faber)
What the Water Gave Me Pascale Petit (Seren)
The Wrecking Light Robin Robertson (Picador)
Rough Music Fiona Sampson (Carcanet)
Phantom Noise Brian Turner (Bloodaxe)
White Egrets Derek Walcott (Faber)
New Light for the Old Dark Sam Willetts (Jonathan Cape)

This year's judges are noted poets Anne Stevenson (Chair), Michael Symmons Roberts and Bernadine Evaristo. The winner will be announced on 24 January 2011.

Congratulations to all those on the list, and particular congratulations go to Pascale Petit and John Haynes, representing Wales's own Seren with two quite extraordinary books. Intriguing to see who will win – and interesting that this is Pascale's third showing on the T S Eliot shortlist.

I heartily recommend that those who can attend the shortlist reading on 23 January 2011 at the Southbank. It's always a fantastic event, but tickets always fly, so book early. Details of the prize and of the readings can be found by clicking here.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

In the pipeline

A hectic and highly enjoyable few months, which have seen the editor take her first holiday in some years. But now the tan has faded and onwards we go into the autumn/winter.

Commitments mean I'll be missing out on catching the many events on offer at Baylit this year, which is a shame. A fantastic line-up of new voices and new approaches. I recommend those who can to join Owen Sheers, Russell Celyn Jones, Niall Griffiths and Gwyneth Lewis discussing their reworkings of stories from the Mabinogion (28 October), an innovative series of past-present collisions from Seren. I'd also flag up TXT2Baylit (27 October), which features, among others, performance poet Liam Johnson. I first saw him in action when I sat on the judging panel for the 2009 John Tripp Award. Johnson was just pipped to the post for our vote on the night, but he made a huge impression on all of us and went on to scoop the audience favourite. Verbal pyrotechnics combined with wit, enormous verve and nerves of steel. He's not to be missed.

In other news, I'm currently completing production on Issue 90. This issue features fantastic new writing from Geoffrey Hill, Robert Minhinnick, Rachel Trezise, Rebbecca Ray, Menna Elfyn, Clare Dudman, Gee Williams, Kathryn Simmonds, Michael Symmons Roberts, Matthew David Scott and more. Plus micro-fiction and stunning photography from Eamon Bourke in Buenos Aires and our reviews pages. I'll keep you posted on the publication date.