Nobel Prize Poet’s Speech/Young Writer Award – Poetry News Roundup December 9th

We begin another week here on My Poetic Side with a look at the poet’s speech at the Nobel Prize ceremony. We also have a short article about the winner of this year’s Young Writer of the Year Award.

Poet Gives Nobel Lecture

The poet Peter Handke, who was awarded a Noble Prize for literature earlier this year, accepted his award over the weekend. His naming as a winner and his recent career were surrounded with controversy, but he managed to avoid that during the ceremony.

Speaking in German, Handke focused on those things that were of the most importance to him during his lecture; his mother’s stories and the wonders of the nature that surrounds us. In his carefully worded speech, Handke was careful to avoid any mention of Serbia, the war and his previous comments that had caused so much controversy and led to many arguing that he should not have been awarded a Nobel prize.

However, to many, it may have appeared that he had a hidden agenda. He used long quotes from the poem The Litany of Loreto which he chose to make in his mother tongue – Slovenian. He also quoted the Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer. These quotes were made in Swedish.

Raymond Antrobus Named Winner of 2019 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award

Raymond Antrobus, the multi-award-winning poet, has been named as this years Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award for The Perseverance (Penned in the Margins). The award has a prize fund of £5000. Earlier this year Antrobus won the Ted Hughes Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the Rathbones Folio prize for the same book. It was also shortlisted for a number of other awards. He was the first poet to have ever been named as a winner of the Rathbones Folio Prize.

The collection is a varied one which explores a range of topics including the poet’s diagnosis with deafness when he was just a child, the alcoholism of his father and his mixed-heritage upbringing.

This year the prize saw a record number of entries being submitted and the judges had a tough job on their hands which led to them adding the poet Kate Clanchy and writer Victoria Hislop to their panel.

Antrobus said on winning the award that the road to publication had not been easy. He was turned down by many publishers before finally finding one who wanted to publish his book. He was full of praise for his editor who not only cut his original manuscript in half but also told him when he needed to stop making any changes to the poems.

The Young Writer of the Year Award is in its fifth year, having previously taken a break of seven years. The prize which began nearly 30 years ago is open to a work of non-fiction, fiction or poetry that has been penned by an Irish or British author who is aged 18 to 35.

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