Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Forward Prize shortlist strike rate

CBe has now published three first collections of poetry. Not many. But all three have been on the Forward First Collection Prize shortlist; and the first two, J. O. Morgan’s Natural Mechanical and Nancy Gaffield’s Tokaido Road, both went on to win the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. (The third, Dan O’Brien’s War Reporter, is not eligible for this year’s Aldeburgh prize, its official publication date being outside their limit.)

CBe poetry titles were also on the main Forward shortlist last year and the year before (Beverley Bie Brahic’s White Sheets, D. Nurkse’s Voices over Water).

They help, these shortlistings, these prizes – I mean, for an outfit that barely knows what marketing is and can’t afford to pay someone who does, and which the Arts Council has three times decided not to support, they help sell some books and so keep the thing afloat. I’m indecently proud to have published Morgan, Gaffield, O’Brien, Brahic, Nurkse. I’m no less proud to have published, say, Andrew Elliot’s Mortality Rate.

PS [September 2013]: After I printed War Reporter early in order to give copies to Dan O'Brien when he came to London in June, the distributor Central Books changed the publication date to the date they received copies - and this change was picked up by Nielsen bookdata and by Amazon. So, with a June publication date, War Reporter was eligible for the Aldeburgh prize after all, and was duly submitted.

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