Chair of Forward prizes resigns

<p>Poet Michael Donaghy has stepped down as chair of the judges for this year's Forward Poetry Prizes after controversy over the selection of its shortlists. The move follows accusations that the publishing allegiances of some judges had unfairly influenced the selection of the lists. Donaghy and a fellow judge, Sean O'Brien, have both recently been published by Macmillan imprint Picador, which has two of the five titles on the shortlist for best collection.</p><p> Claims of bias have been made by Neil Astley, managing director of poetry specialist Bloodaxe, which has no titles on the lists for Forward's two main awards in 2002. The allegations were made in a discussion of the prizes on Radio 4's Front Row arts programme and subsequently repeated elsewhere in the media. Donaghy has taken the decision to step down from the judging panel in order to counteract suggestions of a pro-Picador bias.</p>