Judges of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2018 are announced

Caroline Bird and Daljit Nagra (photo credit: Lucinda Douglas-Menzies).

The two poet judges of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2018 have been announced! We’re delighted to welcome onto the judging panel the brilliant writers Caroline Bird and Daljit Nagra.

2018 will be an extra special year, as it marks the twentieth anniversary of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. As such, we’re particularly pleased that this year’s judges already have a relationship with the award, with Caroline Bird being a Foyle Young Poet herself in 1999 and 2000, and Daljit Nagra having judged the 2008 award.

Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2018 artwork. Credit: James Brown.

This year’s competition will open at the end of March, but the judges already can’t wait to read the entries. Caroline Bird offers a word of advice to entrants: ‘Nothing is off limits… don’t be well behaved, you can write about the secret things, the forbidden things, the dangerous stuff. And you don’t have to write like the judges, write like yourself.’ To find out more about Caroline’s experience winning the Award herself and her top tips to entrants this year, read our latest Young Poets Network interview with her.

Meanwhile, Daljit Nagra is on the hunt for a poem that ‘looks like it’s on a journey of discovery’. Above all, he wants to see ‘a poet having a good time, whether it be about a serious subject such as environment issues or a silly one such as a chocolate wrapper’. Read the anthologies of previous years’ top 15 winners and 85 commended poets to get inspired before the competition opens.

Now in its twentieth year, the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award has been kick starting the careers of some of the most exciting new voices. Previous winners include Sarah Howe, Helen Mort, Jay Bernard and Theophilus Kwek.

Look out for celebrations and extra special Foyle activities throughout the year. We’ve already started celebrating with two Foyle Young Poets’ winning poems appearing on the London underground this spring, alongside this year’s judge Daljit Nagra and last year’s judge Sinéad Morrissey. You can order free copies of the posters now.

For all the latest news, follow us @youngpoetsnet and @poetrysociety, like Foyle Young Poets on Facebook, and sign up to the Young Poets Network mailing list for all the updates on our opportunities for young poets. If you’d like to be notified when this year’s competition opens at the end of March, email [email protected].

Foyle Young Poets 20 Years logo

Caroline Bird has five collections of poetry published by Carcanet. Her most recent collection, In These Days of Prohibition, was shortlisted for the 2017 TS Eliot Prize and the Ted Hughes Award. A two time winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, her first collection Looking Through Letterboxes was published in 2002 when she was 15. She won a major Eric Gregory Award in 2002 and was shortlisted for the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2001 and the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2008 and 2010. She was one of the five official poets at the 2012 London Olympics.

Daljit Nagra is from a Sikh background and was born and grew up in West London then Sheffield. He has published four books of poetry with Faber & Faber. His poem Look We Have Coming to Dover! won the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem in 2004. His first collection, of the same name won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2007 and the South Bank Show Decibel Award in 2008. His subsequent two collections, Tippoo Sultan’s Incredible White-Man Eating Tiger-Toy Machine!!! and his version of the Ramayana were nominated for the TS Eliot Prize. In 2014 he was selected as a New Generation Poet by the PBS. His latest collection is British Museum which was published in 2017. He is the inaugural Poet in Residence for Radio 4/4 Extra and teaches at Brunel University London.

14 March 2018