Griffin Prize Winner/Iranian Book Published By Penguin – Poetry News Roundup May 20th

Today in our poetry news round-up we take a look at the 2020 winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize. We also take a look at the Iranian poetry book that will be published in English by Penguin.

Kaie Kellough Named Winner of 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize

The poet from Montreal has been named as the winner of this year”s Griffin Poetry Prize for his third collection “Magnetic Equator”.  As the winner of the Canadian category, he will receive a cash prize worth $65,000. The other big prize this year goes to Sarah Riggs for her translation from French of Etel Adnan’s “Time”. The prize for this category is to be split, with Riggs taking 60% and the remaining 40% being given to Adnan.

Those poets who made it to the shortlist but did not win will each receive $10,000. The Griffin Poetry Prize offers the single largest prize in the world for a volume of poetry.

The winners were announced in a short film that the organisers posted on YouTube yesterday. This year there will be no special gala presentation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The annual award ceremony normally takes the form of a rather swanky soiree in Toronto with everyone who is anyone on the cultural scene in Canada present.

Kellough learned that he was the winner whilst he was out walking in Montreal and he received a congratulation tweet. It might not be the most exciting way to find out that you are a winner but he said that there were certainly some upsides to the way in which the announcements have been made this year. Being nominated for such a big prize he said felt rather “personal” and thrust him into the limelight. An award ceremony can make a finalist feel like they are on display so this way he edge was taken off the nervous anxiety of the occasion.

Kellough was born in Calgary but in 1998 moved to Montreal. He has roots in Guyana and a strong Caribbean background. His works have been published and performed all over the world. Magnetic Equator was shortlisted for the Quebec Writers’ Federation 2019 A.M Klein Prize for Poetry and some of the poet”s novels have also been finalists for a number of awards.

This year the three judges read a total of 572 poetry books from a total of 14 different countries in order to create the shortlist. The Griffin prize has been running since 2000 when it was founded by Scott Griffin, it numbers amongst its trustees Margaret Atwood, David Young and Michael Ondaatje

Selected Iranian Poetry to be Published by Penguin

A book which contains a selection of poems by  Garous Abdol-Malekian, the poet, has been translated for English language readers and will be published shortly by Penguin.

Abdol-Malekia is an acclaimed poet, in 2003 he was awarded the KarnamehPoetry Book of the Year. He was also the 2006 winner of the Iranian Youth Poetry Book Award.

His poetry has already been translated into French, German, Spanish, Arabic and Kurdish.

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