Ledbury Poetry Festival launches £5k prize for second collections

Ledbury Poetry Festival launches £5k prize for second collections

Ledbury Poetry Festival is launching a £5,000 prize for second poetry collections: The Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize.

This year's prize will be judged by Forward Prize winner Vahni Capildeo and fellow poet Tara Bergin and the winner will receive a cash prize of £5,000, with the winner announced at this summer's Ledbury Poetry Festival.

The organisers said: "The biennial Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize is a response to poetry’s increasing emphasis on débuts and will highlight poets’ more accomplished, though often overlooked, second collections. Without the exposure needed to sell copies, low sales can impact directly on poets’ publishing prospects for the future."

Chloe Garner, Ledbury Poetry Festival director, said: “Poets at second collection stage genuinely need recognition and encouragement. I am sure that audiences will appreciate the opportunity to discover excellent books that might not yet have received the attention they deserve.”

The Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize is being welcomed by poetry publishers. Neil Astley, editor at Bloodaxe Books, said: "If the poet is someone who has a job or other commitments, and hasn’t been able to assist much in promotion of their work, or do many readings, an excellent second collection may well be completely overlooked; and the discouragement that brings may affect where the poet goes from there."

Tom Chivers, editor at poetry publisher Penned in the Margins, added: "I welcome a new prize for second collections, to shine a spotlight on work that might otherwise fall down the gap between the excitement of the new and the confidence of the established."

Eligible for entry are "book-length" second collections by poets from Britain and Ireland who have previously published "book-length" first collections.

The shortlist will be announced on Monday 12th June. The winner will be announced at Ledbury Poetry Festival which runs from 30th June to 9th July.  

Full submission details for the Prize are on the Ledbury Poetry Festival website.