Forward Prize for Poetry Nominees Announced

Belfast-based poet Sinéad Morrissey's Parallax is one of five books shortlisted for best collection

Portadown-born poet Sinéad Morrissey has been shortlisted for the 2013 Forward Prize for Best Collection, for her new book, Parallax, written in 2012 while she was an Arts Council of Northern Ireland Major Individual Award recipient.

Morrissey currently works as a creative writing lecturer in poetry at Queen's University, and has published four previous collections, There Was Fire in Vancouver (1996), Between Here and There (2001), The State of the Prisons (2005), and Through the Square Window (2009), all on Carcanet Press.

The Forward Prize for Poetry is one of the UK’s top annual poetry awards, worth £10,000 to the winner. Author Jeanette Winterson chaired the 2013 Forward Prize judging panel, which also consisted of actor/director Samuel West, journalist David Mills and the poets Paul Farley and Sheenagh Pugh.

'Parallax is a powerful year for poetry,' said Winterson following the announcement of the shortlist. 'We made our choices looking for poems that used a lit-up living language and had a sense of purpose.'

The Forward Prize presents three separate prizes annual. The three prizes are unique in honouring both the work of established poets (Best Collection £10,000) and the debuts of brilliant unknowns (Best First Collection £5,000). The Best Single Poem award (£1,000) is a prize for which only award-winning poems and published works not yet collected in book form are eligible.

Welcoming the shortlisting, Damian Smyth, ACNI head of literature and drama, said: 'We are delighted that, once again, Sinéad's work is being recognised at the highest levels and for a collection which shows a poet reaching the crest of her powers in both private and very public poems. The Forward Prize was won by Seamus Heaney in 2010 and Sinéad is keeping good company in this category of Best Collection.’

The prizes will be awarded by Winterson on October 1, 2013 at the Southbank Centre in London. Tickets for the event, at which Samuel West and other celebrated actors will read poetry from the shortlist, are now on sale. The 22nd annual Forward Book of Poetry, containing the judges’ choice of the year’s best poems, will be launched on the same day.

Morrisey’s fellow contenders for the £10,000 Forward Prize for Best Collection are Rebecca Goss for Her Birth, Glyn Maxwell for Pluto, Jacob Polley for The Havocs and Michael Symmons Roberts for Drysalter.

Established to bring greater attention to contemporary poetry, previous winners of the Forward Prize for Poetry include Don Paterson, Carol Ann Duffy, Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney, who won in 2010 for his collection Human Chain, inspired by the poet's experiences after a stroke.