TORONTO – Thursday, June 4, 2015 – The Stairwell by Michael Longley and Blue Sonoma by Jane Munro are the International and Canadian winners of the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize. They each received C$65,000 in prize money.
The Griffin Poetry Prize was founded in 2000 to serve and encourage excellence in poetry. The prize is for first edition books of poetry written in, or translated into, English and submitted from anywhere in the world.
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During the evening, renowned poet and writer Derek Walcott was honoured with The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry’s 2015 Lifetime Recognition Award. Trustee Carolyn Forché paid tribute to Derek Walcott.
The awards ceremony, attended by some 350 invited guests, was held in the Fermenting Cellar in The Distillery Historic District. Scott Griffin, founder of the prize, and trustees Mark Doty, Carolyn Forché, Michael Ondaatje, Robin Robertson, Karen Solie, Colm Tóibín and David Young hosted the event where the guests enjoyed a reading by Ayo Akinfenwa, 2015 English Stream Finalist of Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la poésie.
The Judges for the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize are Timothy Bowling (Canada), Fanny Howe (US) and Piotr Sommer (Poland). These distinguished writers and poets each read 560 books of poetry, received from 42 countries around the globe, including 24 translations. The trustees of The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry select the judges annually.
The 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist features collections by four international and three Canadian poets:
- Eleanor Goodman’s translation from the Chinese of Something Crosses My Mind by Wang Xiaoni, published by Zephyr Press
- Marek Kazmierski’s translation from the Polish of Finite Formulae & Theories of Chance by Wioletta Greg, published by Arc Publications
- Michael Longley’s The Stairwell, published by Jonathan Cape
- Spencer Reece’s The Road to Emmaus, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Shane Book’s Congotronic, published by House of Anansi Press
- Jane Munro’s Blue Sonoma, published by Brick Books
- Russell Thornton’s The Hundred Lives, published by Quattro Books
On June 3 the poets read excerpts from their books at the Shortlist Readings for 1,000 people in Toronto in Koerner Hall at The Royal Conservatory, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning. Trustee Mark Doty presented each poet with a leather-bound edition of their book and a $10,000 honorarium for their participation in the Readings.
The Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology: A Selection of the 2015 Shortlist, edited by Tim Bowling and published by House of Anansi Press, is now available at most retail bookstores and online. Royalties generated from the anthologies, published annually, are donated to UNESCO’s World Poetry Day that was created to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard in their communities.
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For further information, contact:
Griffin Trust Manager
Photo credit: Event photo by Tom Sandler