Rathbones Shortlist/Raleigh Book Auction – Poetry News Roundup February 27th

Today on My Poetic Side we look at the Rathbones Folio Prize shortlist. We also have an article about a poetry book belonging to Sir Walter Raleigh that is up for auction.

Rathbones Folio Prize Shortlist Revealed

This year’s shortlist for the Rathbones Folio Prize which has a cash prize of £30,000 has been revealed.

The prize is open to all genres of writing; poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Established in 2013, this prize is the first one to be open to writers from all over the world for works written in English.

The shortlist includes a book by Azadeh Moaveni, an American Iranian journalist, which follows the lives of a group of women who joined Islamic State. The shortlist also includes a collection of poetry by Fiona Benson “Vertigo & Ghost”, novels by Ben Lerner and Valeria Luiselli and a number of short story collections.

The winner will be announced during a ceremony that will take place on 23rd March at the British Library.

Raleigh’s Poetry Book to be Auctioned

The London auction house Bonhams will be offering a book that has only been recently discovered to be from Sir Walter Raleigh’s personal library up for sale on 11th March. They have put a guide price of between £30,000 to £50,000 on the item.

The book is a copy of Rime et Prose written by Torquato Tasso, and is signed. Tasso was a sixteenth-century Italian poet. The book comes from the personal collection of Raleigh.

Perhaps best known as an adventurer, who is responsible for the introduction of the potato and tobacco to England, Raleigh was also a scholar and a poet. He built up a rather large library of printed books and manuscripts. However, until recently it was believed that only 6 of his carefully collected books from the extensive collection had survived. The discovery of the copy of Rime et Prose Part 3 has been hailed as an exciting find.


There are a number of similarities between the two men. Torquato Tasso who is widely regarded as one of the foremost 16th century poets in Italy was popular throughout Europe. The poet had links to the Italian court, but he had a fall from grace and spent some years of his life in prison. The book that is to be auctioned was written during his time in jail.


Raleigh was also a noted figure in court. He played a key part in colonising North America and was a favourite with the queen. When James I came to the throne he was out of favour and treated with mistrust. He was imprisoned for a number of years but then released for an expedition where he was subjected to execution on his return. It is believed that part III of Rime et Prose may have been amongst the books Raleigh had with him during his time in prison.

Copies of Rime et Prose parts I and II were also owned by Raleigh and were amongst the small number of books in his collection that survived. Part II was sold at auction in 1997 by Bonhams.

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