In today”s poetry news roundup we bring you a story about the celebration of the poet Wilfred Owen that will be taking place at Ripon Cathedral and we look at the winners of this year’s Windham-Campbell prize.
Centenary of War Poet to be Marked by Ripon Cathedral
On 18th March, 100 years after the last birthday of the war poet Wilfred Owen, the Cathedral of Ripon will be commemorating the life of the poet with a reading of some of his finest poems followed by a pilgrimage trail.
Owen spent time on his 25th birthday, the last one he had before he was killed sitting in the cathedral. He had been posted to an army camp in the city less than a week previously where he was supposed to be regaining his strength after he had been sent back to England suffering with shell shock. Shortly after this, he returned to the front, although he had been given the chance to remain at home due to his fitness; returning was very much against the advice of his friend and fellow poet Siegfried Sassoon who is said to have quipped that he would stab him in the leg if he did go back.
Whilst he was recuperating Owen wrote several poems with connections to Ripon, and four of these will be read during the service. The service, which will take the form of an evening service of poetry and music and will be held on Passion Sunday will be followed by the launching of a pilgrimage trail that will focus on the area around the cathedral and will be based on the life of the poet and of course his poetry. The trail will finish at the cottage where Owen wrote poetry whilst recuperating.
Windham-Campbell Prize Winners Announced
Yesterday morning the lives of eight English-language authors were changed completely when they learned that they had each won $165,000 (approximately £119,000). The eight authors were winners of the Windham-Campbell prize, a fund set up to help give authors financial freedom that will enable them to continue writing free from financial worries.
The recipients know nothing about their nominations, which are done confidentially, there is no shortlisting, the judging is done anonymously. In fact, the first time they become aware of their participation is when they get a phone call telling them that have won; a task that Michael Kelleher, the programme director says is the “Highlight of his year”.
This year’s recipients include writers from the US, UK, Uganda and Jamaica. Poetry is well represented with two winners; Lorna Goodison from Jamaica and Cathy Park Hong from the US.
The awards were set up in 2013 by Donald Windham the late author in memory of Sandy M Campbell his partner of 40 years. They are awarded to English-language writers of all types of writing, from anywhere in the world, the only proviso is that their writing is in English. The prize is amongst the most prestigious and richest literary awards in the world.