Naomi Shihab Nye and Sandeep Parmar are to judge this year's £5,000 Ledbury Poetry Prize for Second Collections.
The prize was set up in 2016 as the first "mid-career" prize for poetry. It aims to support and encourage poets with a shortlist, and a prize of £5,000 for a winning second collection. In assessing the shortlisted second collections, the judges will also read the poets’ first collections and take account of how their work has developed from debut to second book. Submissions must have been published in Britain and Ireland in 2019 or 2020.
The shortlisted poets will be invited to read at an online prizegiving event as part of the Ledbury Poetry Festival, where the judges will announce the winner.
Commenting on the role, Parmar, who won the inaugural prize, said: “I'm so pleased to co-judge the Ledbury Poetry Prize for Second Collections, which is a prize that uniquely tracks the maturing of a poet's voice beyond their (often more visible) debut collections. A second collection can be an opportunity for the poet's imagination to free itself from expectations, and take risks by shaking off traditional structures and modes to open up new ways going forward. It can be a telling hinge in a poet's career and a sign of innovations to come, whether that book becomes a discrete project onto itself or a continued conversation with its readership. I look forward to seeing what these poets produced when they returned to their desks and once again face the blank page.”
Shihab Nye, current Young People's Poet Laureate of the United States, added: “It's often easy to begin, but harder to continue. I'm happy to judge a prize which respects the continuance of a writer's practice, a voice unfolding beyond the joyous flush of a first book. May we all feel fortified to continue the work which nourishes us. I am honored to be judging with Sandeep Parmar — please know we will read your work with greatest appreciation.”
Publishers should send three copies of each submitted second collection to the Ledbury Poetry Festival no later than Friday 26th February 2021. Initially, books can be submitted by PDF or by post. Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to Ledbury Poetry Festival, The Master’s House, Ledbury HR8 1EA.