Google Doodle for Jewish Poet/Wole Winner/Wirral Horn Award – Poetry News Roundup December 11th

Today in our poetry news round up, we take a look at the Google Doodle dedicated to a Jewish poet. We also have the winner of the Wole Soyinka Poetry Prize and finally the Wirral Horn Award given to the Wilfred Owen Story.

Google Doodle Celebrates German Born Jewish Poet

The German born Jewish poet Nelly Sachs was celebrated yesterday in a Google Doodle.

Born in Berlin in 1891, Leonie Nelly Sachs fled to Sweden with her mother in 1940. Here she worked as a translator and writer. It wasn’t however until twenty years later that she gained true recognition for her writing.

It was her life in Germany as a Jewish woman that became the inspiration for much of her writing, together with the suffering that she saw growing up in a Germany where the Nazis came to power.

Her first collection of poetry was titled “In the Houses of Death” (In den Wohnungen des Todes). It is widely revered for the unique way in which it describes suffering especially that of the Jewish people.

Nelly Sachs was awarded a Nobel Prize for her work in 1966, an honour which she had to share with Shumel Yosef Agnon – a very important figure in the world of modern Hebrew fiction. Both of them were nominated for their contributions to Jewish literature. They both won for different things. Agnon for his characterstic narrative art which portrayed motifs of the life of the Jewish people and Sachs for her lyrical and dramatic writing. Sachs felt that whilst her work represented the people, while Agnon’s represented the state of Israel.

In 1970, when Sachs died at the age of 79, her belongings were donated to the National Library in Sweden.

Wole Soyinka Prize Winner

Last week, we bought you an article about the shortlist for the Wole Soyinka poetry prize. The winner has now been announced as Harriet Anena; the Ugandan journalist and poet.

The winning collection is called “A Nation in Labour”. Anena shares the prize this year with Tanure Oiaide who is from Nigeria and is the poet behind “Songs of Myself”.

Both winners will take home a cash prize of $10,000 (approximately £7870).

Wirral Horn Award Given to The Wilfred Owen Story

The Wilfred Owen Story, which is located in Birkenhead on the Wirral, has been awarded the Wirral Horn Award for its contribution to the heritage of the local area.

The museum, which is the only permanent exhibition in the UK that is dedicated to telling the story of the war poet, opened eight years ago. Wilfred Owen spent his formative years in the region, so it seemed the natural location for the museum. His family moved to Birkenhead in 1897, his father was transferred to Shrewsbury before moving back to Birkenhead where he took up a position as a stationmaster. They eventually moved back to Shrewsbury before Owen went to the front.

The story served as a natural information point during the recent Wilfred Owen 100 Festival, which took part as part of the centenary commemorations for the end of World War One.

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