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Aldeburgh First Collection Prize 2010

From a record 95 entries, the shortlist for the 2010 Aldeburgh First Collection Prize - one of the most influential and established poetry prizes in the UK - highlights six distinctive new voices as the ‘ones-to-watch’ amongst the next generation of UK poets./p>

The Poetry Trust announced the shortlist today:

Christian Campbell Running the Dusk(Peepal Tree Press)
Robert Dickinson Micrographia (Waterloo Press)
Sheila Hillier A Quechua Confession Manual (Cinnamon Press)
Katharine Towers The Floating Man (Picador Poetry)
Sam Willetts New Light for the Old Dark (Cape Poetry)
Tony Williams The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street (Salt Publishing)

Both Christian Campbell and Sam Willetts are also shortlisted for the Forward Best First Collection Prize (to be announced on Wednesday 6 October 2010).

The Aldeburgh First Collection Prize is valuable not just for its cash prize of £3,000, but also for the emphasis on identifying and developing talent. The winner receives a week of ‘protected’ writing time on the inspirational Suffolk coast and - most crucially - a fee-paying invitation to read at the 2011 Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. This year’s winner will be announced at the start of the 22nd Aldeburgh Poetry Festival on Friday 5 November 2010.

One of this year’s three poet/judges, Neil Rollinson, is refreshingly candid about the short-listing process: “There’s an awful lot of bad poetry being written, and published. It’s disappointing but it’s true. Most of the books I read were either derivative, solipsistic or lacking either freshness or ambition. There were, however, a few splendid books which were a joy to read and which I’d be happy to recommend to anyone. As it happens, all three judges were in agreement about these books. Beautifully crafted and highly original, any one of our shortlist would make a good winning collection.”

The Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, established in 1989, was the first major award designed to recognise and benefit a poet at first book stage. Supported from 2003 until 2008 by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation (as the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize), it is one of the UK’s oldest and most influential prizes for contemporary poetry.

The three-poet judging panel for the 2010 Prize comprises Michael Laskey (Chair), Neil Rollinson and Jo Shapcott.

The winner of the 2010 Aldeburgh First Collection Prize will be announced on Friday 5 November at the main opening reading of the 22nd Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, 5-7November. This reading features Matthew Caley, Don Paterson and last year’s Aldeburgh First Collection Prize winner, J O Morgan. The new winner receives a cash prize of £3,000, a week’s ‘protected’ writing time on the Suffolk coast, and a fee-paying invitation to read at the 2011 Aldeburgh Poetry Festival.