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Laura Scott & Isabel Galleymore shortlisted for Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize 2020

Monday, 8 Jun 2020

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Massive congratulations to Laura Scott and Isabel Galleymore, who have both been shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize 2020! Laura's collection So Many Rooms was published in August 2019, and Isabel's collection Significant Other was published in March 2019 and was nominated for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection at last years awards.

The annual Poetry Prize is awarded to a writer whose first full collection has been published in the preceding year, by a UK or Ireland-based publisher. The winning writer receives £5,000.
The winner will be announced during the Seamus Heaney Centre’s annual Poetry Summer School, at a special virtual Awards Night on Thu 2 Jul 2020.

The 2020 Shortlist includes:

Flèche, by Mary Jean Chan (Faber & Faber, 2019)

Significant Other, by Isabel Galleymore (Carcanet, 2019)

A Man’s House Catches Fire, by Tom Sastry (Nine Arches Press, 2019)

So Many Rooms, by Laura Scott (Carcanet, 2019)

Fold, by Lucy Wadham (Pindrop Press, 2019)

This year’s judges are Professor Nick Laird, poet and Chair of Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre; Professor Frank Ormsby, Ireland Chair of Poetry; and Dr Leontia Flynn, poet and reader in Poetry at the Seamus Heaney Centre.
The judges are still in discussions over which of the shortlisted collections is the winner of this prestigious prize, to be announced in July. Here are their comments on the shortlist.

'Isabel Galleymore’s Significant Other is full of contenders for the title role of this gorgeous book: here are human partners, animal correlatives such as barnacles and tarantulas and owls, but also the imagination itself. One’s most significant other might be the mutable self, a cloud who can take the shape of anything. Galleymore’s poems have a conviction and a restraint rare among debut work.'

'Laura Scott’s So Many Rooms is a confident and intricate collection dealing with relationships and memory. Cognizant of all the angles, alive to the smallest damage, to the bruises left on petals by the rain, Scott is a master of the slant take, the delicate phrasing. Her images both clarify and darken the matter at hand. In Scott’s world, poems are ‘like fish / swimming inside you, / waiting for someone / to tap the glass.'

Congratulations to Isabel & Laura - this is a huge achievement, and so well deserved for both of you!

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