Costa Award Scrapped/Wordsworth Celebration/ US Poet’s Inspiration Sold – Poetry News Roundup June 20th

Today on My Poetic Side, we look at the scrapping of the Costa Book Award, the finale of the celebrations for Dorothy Wordsworth and the house that inspired a poem.

Costa Book Award Scrapped

A sudden announcement by the Coffee company, Costa, has sent sparks of disappointment rippling across the book industry. After a very successful 50 years the Costa Book Awards, which until 2005 were known as the Whitbread Awards, will be ceasing with immediate effect. The 2021 awards, which were made in February, are to be the last.

The award, which was aimed at writers in the UK and Ireland began in 1971 when it was established by Whitbread. In 2005, Costa took over the finance of the award and then in 2019 Costa was sold by Whitbread to Coca-Cola. In 2021 the prize fund given out by the Costa Awards was £60,000.

Over the years, the prize has been given to many authors, writers and poets who have become household names. Former prize winners include Roald Dahl in 1983 for The Witches, the only literary award he ever won. They also include Seamus Heaney for Beowulf in 1999 when he narrowly won against JK Rowling, Paul Theroux, Iris Murdoch and Philip Pullman in 2001 for The Amber Spyglass.

Costa has not given any reason for closing the awards and has indicated at the present moment that there are no plans for another company to take over the award.

Kirkgate Centre in Cockermouth Holds Celebration for Dorothy Wordsworth

Whilst Dorothy Wordsworth may not be as famous as her brother the poet William Wordsworth, she is still well known in literary circles. This year, to mark the 250 anniversary of her birth, the Kirkgate Centre in Cockermouth will be completing its year of celebrations with the final of their #IAmDorothyProject.

Dorothy was not only a writer with many accomplishments to her name, she also wrote a large amount of poetry that was unpublished, and a travel account that was not published until 1874 but that detailed a tour she took in Scotland with her brother.

The final month of the event will include viewings of a giant portrait of Dorothy, a light display, a film “Make the Journey” that follows Dorothy’s life from Cockermouth to Rydal and, of course, plenty of poetry.

The finale of the festival is due to take place on 3rd July.

Home That Inspired US Poet to be Sold

A home in Dorset that was the inspiration for the work of an American poet has been put up for sale with a price tag of almost £1 million.

The former farmhouse which is a Grade II listed building and can be dated back to the 17th century was the inspiration for the poem “Paradise for Sale” by Ogden Nash. The poet spotted a sale advertisement in 1959 in Country Life magazine for the property and was inspired to write the poem which included the lines:

“Sure the gods could not but bless, the man who lives at that address”.

The property, which is a four-bedroom one, retains many of its original features which inspired Nash to create his poem.


  • jarcher54

    Joan, I am an avid follower of your blog. I am always impressed at the splendid breadth and depth of your coverage of poetry and literature. Just wanted to say thanks.

  • jarcher54

    Joanne that is... (-:

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