Poet Raymond Antrobus has won this year’s £5,000 Ted Hughes Award for his collection The Perseverance (Penned in the Margins).
Hackney-born Antrobus’ work examines loss, language and praise via elegies to his Jamaican father and meditations on the poet's own deafness. He was named the winner at a reception at Mercers’ Hall, London, on 27th March.
The book, his first collection, has previously been hailed as a poetry book of the year by the Guardian and the Sunday Times, while he was Poet of the Fair at the London Book Fair earlier this month.
This year’s prize was judged by Clare Shaw, Canon Mark Oakley and Linton Kwesi Johnson. Shaw praised Antrobus for telling a “universally relevant story” while Kwesi Johnson called it “the most engaging collection of poems we have read in a long time”.
Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who presented the award, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that these important poems have won the Ted Hughes Award in the tenth year of the prize.”
Antrobus is a founding member of Chill Pill and the Keats House Poets Forum, and the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, Complete Works III and Jerwood Compton Poetry. He is one of the world’s first recipients of an MA in Spoken Word Education from Goldsmiths, University of London and has had multiple residencies in deaf and hearing schools around London, as well as Pupil Referral Units.
He saw off competition from Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods by Tishani Doshi (Bloodaxe), The Healing Next Time by Roy McFarlane (Nine Arches), Words the Turtle Taught Me by Susan Richardson (Cinnamon Press) and Three Poems by Hannah Sullivan (Faber).
The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry, presented annually by the Poetry Society since 2009, celebrates the outstanding contributions made by poets to cultural life. Last year’s award was given to Jay Bernard for Surge: Side A (Speaking Volumes).
Prize money comes from an annual payment the Poet Laureate traditionally receives from The Queen.