Paxman to chair Forward Poetry Prizes

Combative "Newsnight" presenter Jeremy Paxman will chair the judging panel for the Forward Prizes for Poetry 2014.

The writer and broadcaster leads a panel made up of singer-songwriter Cerys Matthews, and poets Dannie Abse, Vahni Capildeo and Helen Mort.

Susannah Herbert, director of the Forward Arts Foundation, said: "Jeremy Paxman's personal relish for memorable language and robust debate - not to mention his deep love of poetry - make him an excellent chair of the Forward judges this year."

When selecting his "Desert Island Books" for The Bookseller's sister publication, We Love This Book, Paxman chose the collected poems of John Donne and of W B Yeats as two of his favourite volumes.

Founded in 1991, the Forward Prizes are given each year for the best collection, the best first collection and the best single poem. Shortlisted and highly-commended entries are collected into the annual Forward Book of Poetry, released on the day the awards are announced.

This year, the awards will be announced on 30th September at London's Southbank Centre.

The prizes are worth a total of £16,000, and are sponsored by Forward Worldwide and Felix Dennis, and supported by Arts Council England. Previous winners have included Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy, Ted Hughes and Alice Oswald.