Belfast Telegraph

Poets battling for Heaney honour

A record number of poets from across Ireland and Britain are bidding for the prestigious Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry.

The award which carries the name of the Nobel Laureate is organised annually by Queen's University, Belfast.

Over 100 published authors are battling it out for the honour which is presented to the writer of the best first collection of poetry published last year.

The award was previously scooped by Welsh poet Sian Hughes who impressed the judges with her collection The Missing.

Judges for the 2011 Prize are Ireland Professor of Poetry Harry Clifton, director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen's Professor Ciaran Carson and Leontia Flynn, a Research Fellow at the Centre.

Professor Clifton said: "We were very impressed by the quality of the submissions we saw last year and Sian was a worthy winner. This time around we're seeing that the standard is even higher.

"The Seamus Heaney Centre has a great tradition of nurturing powerful, thought-provoking poets and this year's entries have shown that they are no exception."

The award will be presented later this year by poet and writer John Montague and Martin Murphy, managing director of Hewlett-Packard (HP) Ireland.

The winner will be awarded a prize of £1,000 along with the coveted title of Seamus Heaney Centre Poet of the Year.

The shortlist of up to five books will be announced at the end of September and the judges will crown the winner at a presentation at Queen's University Belfast in November.

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