Ted Hughes and Carol Ann Duffy. Credits: Hughes - Caroline Forbes, Duffy - Hayley Madden.
Ted Hughes and Carol Ann Duffy. Credits: Hughes – Caroline Forbes, Duffy – Hayley Madden.

On Thursday 9 July 2009, Carol Ann Duffy had her first Audience with Her Majesty The Queen to mark her appointment as Poet Laureate. Duffy chose the occasion to announce a new award for poetry.

She revealed that the annual honorarium the Poet Laureate traditionally receives from HM The Queen would instead be donated to fund The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. The prize is awarded to a UK poet, working in any form, who has made the most exciting contribution to poetry in that year.

At the time of the announcement, Judith Palmer, Director of the Poetry Society commented: “Through Carol Ann’s generosity, and the support of Buckingham Palace, a wonderful opportunity has arisen to recognise the many ways in which poets enrich our cultural lives. It’s been great fun devising this exciting new initiative with her, which we believe will make a significant impact in raising awareness of the range and vitality of contemporary poetry. It’s a particular honour, in the Poetry Society’s centenary year, to be launching an award which links the names of two such inspirational poets – Carol Ann Duffy and Ted Hughes.”

Carol Ann Duffy commented: “I’m delighted, with the assistance of Buckingham Palace and the Poetry Society, to be founding this new award for poetry. With the permission of Carol Hughes, the award is named in honour of Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate, and one of the greatest twentieth century poets for both children and adults.”

Crow © Estate of Leonard Baskin
Crow © Estate of Leonard Baskin


The logo for the Ted Hughes Award was designed by David Carroll of David Carroll & Co and uses the iconic image of Crow by Leonard Baskin. The image was used originally on the cover of Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow by Ted Hughes (Faber, 1970) and is reproduced by kind permission of Lisa Baskin and the Estate of Leonard Baskin.