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Poetry Librarian joins jury for Forward Prizes 2018 | 29-Jan-18

The National Poetry Library's very own Poetry Librarian, Chris McCabe (pictured), has been announced as one of the jurors for the Forward Prizes for Poetry 2018.

This year's judging panel will be chaired by writer, critic, broadcaster and film-maker Bidisha. Chris is joined by fellow poets Mimi Khalvati, Niall Campbell, and vlogger, poet and author Jen Campbell. They will choose the winners of the Forward Prize for Best Collection (£10,000), the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection (£5,000) and the Best Single Poem Prize (£1,000). The Prizes are among the most coveted literary awards in the UK and Ireland.

"The poetic community of today is borderless, open and buzzing with international voices," Bidisha said. "As a passionate poetry reader, critic and writer I am delighted to be working in an age when it's undoubtedly having a moment and so many brilliant poets, both emerging and longstanding, are being heard."

On being announced as a judge, McCabe said: "Having worked at the National Poetry Library for 16 years I've been lucky enough to be spoiled by the variety and range that can be found in contemporary poetry. Being a judge for the Forward Prize is a great opportunity for me to read more than ever before, to make new discoveries and advocate for some of the more hidden poems and poets that are sometimes overlooked by the prizes. I'm looking forward to being challenged and surprised by what the UK's poetry publishers put forward for the prize."

Chris McCabe, in addition to being Poetry Librarian, is a published poet with four published collections. The most recent is Speculatrix from Penned in the Margins, a collection described by the publisher as including "a sequence of wild, neurotic sonnets at the corpus of Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre to conjure a visceral landscape of decay and financial collapse."

McCabe was shortlisted for The Ted Hughes Award 2013 for his collaborative book with Maria Vlotides, Pharmapoetica. He is writing a series of creative non-fiction books that aim to discover a great lost poet in one of London's Magnificent Seven cemeteries and his first novel, Dedalus, is forthcoming from Henningham Family Press in 2018.

Find out more about the Forward Prizes for Poetry 2018

Image by Harpreet Kalsi


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