Forward Prizes for Poetry 2020

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This event took place on: 25 October 2020.

The Forward Prizes rank among the year’s great literary celebrations: this event is unmissable for anyone interested in the best new poetry published today. Hear poems from each of the 15 shortlisted poets and find out who has won the most coveted poetry prizes in the British Isles.

Shortlist for Best Collection: £10,000
Caroline Bird, Natalie Diaz, Vicki Feaver, David Morley, Pascale Petit

Shortlist for Best First Collection: £5,000
Ella Frears, Will Harris, Rachel Long, Nina Mingya Powles, Martha Sprackland

Shortlist for Best Single Poem: £1,000
Fiona Benson, Malika Booker, Regi Claire, Valzhyna Mort, Sarah Tsiang

Poems of desire – for a voice, for breathing space, for bodies missed or missing – are a recurring theme in this year’s shortlists. They celebrate a world whose inhabitants are spurred to song by the need to assert their own existence and history. They speak of flesh, muscle and all forms of touch, from the knock-out blows of boxer Tyson Fury to lovers’ kisses.

Several poets follow threads of language to places as various as the Dale Farm traveller site, a palace-prison in 16th-century Spain, an East London housing estate and the Mojave reservation of southern California, while others make vivid the stuff of everyday life: birdsong, lawnmowers, petrol stations.

The Forward Prizes judges, Alexandra Harris, Kim Moore, Roger Robinson, David Wheatley and Leaf Arbuthnot read over 208 poetry collections, and 205 single poems entered from journals, to find the most exciting poetry published across the UK and Ireland.

The Prizes, sponsored since 1992 by Bookmark, the global content marketing and communications agency, have a reputation for heralding fresh new voices as well as honouring famous names. Shortlisted and commended poems are brought together in the annual Forward Book of Poetry anthologies.

This event is available to the audiences and users of public libraries through the Living Knowledge Network.

James Baldwin's America and its Urgent Lessons for Today

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With Eddie S Glaude Jr. A searing indictment of racial injustice in America, inspired by the life and work of James Baldwin.

Eddie S. Glaude Jr of Princeton University follows the increasingly politicised journey of 'the poet of the revolution' James Baldwin, in the years from The Fire Next Time in 1963 to No Name in the Street in 1972. This was the time of the Civil Rights Movement, when attempts to force a confrontation with the truth of America's racism was answered with the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

In his new book Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for Today, Glaude suggests we can find hope and guidance for our own times, a new era of shattered promises and white retrenchment. Mixing biography with history, memoir and trenchant analysis of our moment, Begin Again bears witness to the difficult truth of race in America. It is at once a searing exploration that lays bare the tangled web of race, trauma, and memory, and a powerful interrogation of what we all must ask of ourselves in order to bring about a more just future.

Glaude will be in conversation with Rob Berkeley.

Click here to purchase <a href="https://pagesofhackney.co.uk/webshop/product/begin-again-james-baldwins-america-and-its-urgent-lessons-for-today-eddie-s-glaude-jr/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><b>Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Today<b></b></a>

World Book Night: Kazuo Ishiguro and Kate Mosse

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Kazuo Ishiguro is one of the world’s most treasured and celebrated contemporary fiction authors, whose award-winning novels include Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day. He appears in conversation with no. 1 bestselling author Kate Mosse to discuss Klara and the Sun, his first book since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, in this special event presented by The Reading Agency and the British Library. The event also marks the 10th anniversary of World Book Night, The Reading Agency’s national celebration of books and reading.

Klara and the Sun is an intensely moving and beautiful exploration of human connection and creativity in the face of loneliness and advanced technologies. Ishiguro looks at our changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?

He talks to Kate Mosse about the inspiration for the novel, and the power of books and reading to bring people together and change lives.

World Book Night is run by The Reading Agency and celebrated each year on 23 April, the UNESCO International Day of the Book. World Book Night brings people from all backgrounds together for one reason – to inspire others to read more. Since 2011, organisations and individuals have held events up and down the country to celebrate the difference that reading makes to their lives. Organisations can volunteer to hand out books from our annual list to people who don’t read for pleasure or own books. 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of World Book Night and is in partnership with Specsavers. Find out more at www.worldbooknight.org

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