Dr Ben Wilkinson, lecturer in Creative Writing in the School of the Arts, has been highly commended in what The Telegraph describes as ‘the poetry Oscars’.

Wilkinson launched his debut book of poems Way More Than Luck (Seren, 2018) at a busy Live Literature event in Bolton Central Library in February of this year. Described as a ‘beautifully serious debut by a more-than-promising young author’, the book explores mental health, distance running, the social fabric of football and the writing life in ‘artfully invisible poetic forms’.

Poems included in the collection have already garnered the author a Northern Writers’ Award and an Arts Council England writer’s grant. But now Wilkinson’s work has been highly commended in The Forward Prizes 2019, described by jury chair Bidisha as ‘invaluable in finding the most essential, exciting voices, highlighting the contemporary poets who are at the top of their game and whose words will travel far and reach many readers’. The author was able to complete the collection with support from the University of Bolton’s Jenkinson Awards scheme for research excellence.

Following the recognition, Wilkinson’s work has just been published in The Forward Book of Poetry 2019, which ‘brings together the best contemporary poetry published in the British Isles over the past year’. The judging panel – including chair Bidisha, Niall Campbell, Mimi Khalvati, Chris McCabe and Jen Campbell – considered new poetry and the best poems from magazines and competitions before arriving at their selection.

The winners of the Forward Prizes for Best Collection, Best First Collection and Best Poem of the Year will be announced at a prize-giving ceremony held at London’s Southbank Centre on Tuesday 18th September. Wilkinson will be reading as part of Manchester’s premier reading series Poetry & Players on Saturday 15th September (Whitworth Art Gallery, 2.30-4pm), and later in the year at the Shrewsbury Literature Festival on Sunday 25th November.

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