Poet Alice Oswald has won the third £25,000 Warwick Prize for Writing. It is the first time the prize has been awarded to a collection of poetry.
Memorial, published by Faber, is a reworking of Homer’s Iliad and focuses on Homer’s extended similes and on the brief biographies of the minor war dead, “most of whom are little more than names, but each of whom lives and dies unforgettably”.
Oswald withdrew from the T S Eliot Prize in 2011 over discomfort with the prize's new sponsor, investment management company Aurum Funds.
Chair of the Warwick Prize for Writing judges, Professor Ian Sansom from Warwick University, said: “It was a unanimous decision to award the Warwick Prize for Writing 2013 to Memorial, this is a book that forges its own unique medium of expression. Memorial is a book that looks to the present as well as the past, which combines the personal with the political, and my fellow judges and I were thrilled by its imaginative and intellectual ambition.”
Oswald won the T S Eliot Prize in 2002 for her second collection of poetry, Dart. Her third collection, Woods etc, won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize 2006, and in 2009 she was awarded the Hawthornden Prize for Sleepwalk On The Severn, a poem for several voices set at night on the Severn Estuary.
Along with the £25,000 prize, Oswald will also be awarded the opportunity to take up a short placement at the University of Warwick.
The Warwick Prize for Writing is run by the University of Warwick and takes submissions from across disciplines and nationalities.