During the shortlist readings evening, The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry’s 2018 Lifetime Recognition Award was presented to Ana Blandiana, the most highly-acclaimed contemporary Romanian poet, whose stature is comparable to that of Anna Akhmatova in Russian, or Václav Havel in Czech, literature.
A prominent opponent of the Ceausescu regime, her daring, outspoken poems, along with her courageous attitude in the defence of ethical values, has made her a legendary figure in Romanian literature. She suffered various reprisals and prohibitions under two Communist dictatorships, and three bans on her writing (1959-64, 1985, 1988-89). Over the years, her works have become symbols of an ethical consciousness that refuses to be silenced by a totalitarian government.
Trustee Jo Shapcott paid tribute to Ana Blandiana and presented her with the award.