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Triumph at last for Burnside at Forward Prize
06.10.11 | Katie Allen
John Burnside has won the Forward Prize for Best Collection after being shortlisted a previous three times for the poetry prize.
The 56-year-old received the £10,000 award for his collection Black Cat Bone (Jonathan Cape), praised by chair of judges Andrew Motion as "[a book] to linger over, as well as one to enjoy at first reading". He said: "It is a distinguished winner of the Forward Prize."
The awards, now in their 20th year, took place yesterday evening (5th October) at Somerset House in London on the eve of National Poetry Day. The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection, worth £5,000, went to Rachael Boast for Sidereal (Picador). The collection was also longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and shortlisted for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize.
The £1,000 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem went to To a Nightingale by the late R F Langley, who died this year. The “superb” poem was published in London Review of Books. Langley's widow Barbara Langley collected the prize in his honour.
William Sieghart, chairman of the Forward Arts Foundation, said: "This is a landmark year as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Forward Prizes and we look forward to awarding and celebrating contemporary poets and poetry for another 20 years to come.
"I am thrilled that John Burnside has won this year’s prize for the first time. It is well deserved amongst a shortlist that was one of the finest in the history of the prizes. I look forward to reading more work by the debut poet Rachael Boast, who I am sure will have many more years of success ahead of her. I am also pleased that we were able to celebrate the work of the late Roger Langley tonight."