Judges Gillian Clarke, Stephen Raw and Jeanette Winterson awarded the 2010 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry to Kaite O’Reilly for her extraordinary retelling of Aeschylus’ play, The Persians.
“Poetry crosses time, the old play becomes the new poetry. Here’s the truth of language colliding with the clichés of politics and the advertisement of war. This verse play is entertainment, challenge and a lie detector.” – Judges of the Ted Hughes Award
The Persians is a beautifully poetic version of Aeschylus’ tragic play. Kaite O’Reilly’s masterly retelling of this 2500 year old story focuses on how war destroys people’s identity and her use of language is contemporary but never loses any of the historical context.
O’Reilly was presented with her prize of £5,000 by Carol Ann Duffy at an award ceremony at the Savile Club on Thursday 24 March 2011, alongside the winner of the National Poetry Competition.
Martin Figura for Whistle (a collection published by Arrowhead Press and touring performance produced by Sarah Ellis and supported and developed by Apples & Snakes). The personal story of the death of Figura’s mother at the hands of his father.
Kaite O’Reilly for The Persians (a National Theatre of Wales site specific performance). A beautifully poetic new version of Aeschylus’ tragic play.
Christopher Reid for Song of Lunch (a broadcast production for BBC 2). Reid worked with director Niall McCormick to adapt his narrative poem ‘Song of Lunch’ into a 50-minute film.
David Swann for The Privilege of Rain (published by Waterloo Press, with wood-cuts by Clare Dunne). A collection of poems and prose written after a year as Writer in Residence at HMP Nottingham.
Katharine Towers for The Floating Man (published by Picador Poetry). Towers’ powerful debut collection, a PBS recommendation.
“This is an innovative new prize that encourages poets to work with and inspire those who work in other art forms. This is fitting for a prize named after Ted Hughes, whose translations from ancient mythologies, and whose own rich collaboration with photographers and illustrators has shown us the way. This prize will grow in scope from year to year. I welcome that ‘new’ element.”
“My expectation is that, as the Ted Hughes Award gets older (at present it seems to be at the toddler stage), the full gamut of risk-taking collaborations and new ways of confronting poetry are celebrated by this wonderful prize. This year we have a high quality shortlist and I am looking forward to a lively discussion when the other two judges and I thrash out a worthy winner.”
“Poetry has always been a break-out form, an escape from the confines of cliche. Here we are finding that poetry is still working in surprising ways with new forms and new platforms, but keeping feeling where it belongs at the centre of life and through language.”
Gillian Clarke has been the National Poet for Wales since 2008, she is President of Ty Newydd, and tutor of the M.Phil in Creative Writing at the University of Glamorgan. Recent publications include: A Recipe for Water, and a prose collection, At the Source (Carcanet).
Stephen Raw is a self-employed artist and designer. He also produces ‘bespoke’ lettering for publishers, architects and design groups throughout Europe. A recent commission was to design the Memorial to the Royal Ballet Founders now set in the floor of Westminster Abbey close by Poet’s Corner. He has exhibited widely: Germany, Italy, Ireland, Pakistan and the United States. He is an Honorary Fellow of the MA Creative Writing Course at MMU where he occasionally lectures. At present he sits on the Royal Mint Design Advisory Committee.
Jeanette Winterson OBE is the author of nine novels for adults, including Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, The Powerbook, and The Stone Gods. She also writes for children, Tanglewreck, The Battle of the Sun, and is a regular contributor to The Ti