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Laura Scott Wins Seamus Heaney Centre Prize

Friday, 3 Jul 2020

Cover image of So Many Rooms by Laura Scott
We're overjoyed to share the news that Laura Scott has been awarded this year's Seamus Heaney Poetry Prize for her debut collection, So Many Rooms, by the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen's University, Belfast. The prize was announced at a virtual ceremony last night, which you can watch here.

Speaking about her award, Laura said: 'I’m honoured and delighted, actually I’m over the moon, to have won this prize. As it's a first collection prize, I was looking back at my first notebook, the one I bought when I started writing seriously. It has fragments of things I wanted to get into poems, notes to myself, and on the tenth page, this quote from Seamus Heaney:

"This was the first place where I felt I had done more than make an arrangement of words: I felt that I had let down a shaft into real life. The facts and surfaces of the thing were true, but more important, the excitement that came from naming them gave me a kind of insouciance and a kind of confidence. I didn’t care who thought what about it: somehow, it had surprised me by coming out with a stance and an idea that I would stand over."

'I never met Seamus Heaney, but here he was saying exactly what I needed to hear. He pinpointed the precise sense in which writing poems is doing something bigger than yourself. It is not just you and the words.'

This prestigious prize is awarded annually 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. It is supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies.
Visit the prize website here to read more about the prize, including judges' comments. Huge and heartfelt congratulations to Laura for this well-deserved award, from everyone on the Carcanet team.

photo of Laura Scott So Many Rooms, the debut collection from Geoffrey Dearmer Prize-winning poet Laura Scott, moves with its own lyric strangeness, opening up different rooms and also different worlds. It was The Guardian's Poetry Book of the Month in August 2019.

Buy it here.

Laura Scott was born in London and now lives in Norwich. Her pamphlet, What I Saw, won the Michael Marks Prize in 2014, and in 2015 she won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize. Her poems have appeared in various magazines including PN Review, Oxford Poetry and Poetry Review, and a selection of her work was featured in Carcanet’s New Poetries VII in 2018.

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