Raymond Antrobus continues an extremely strong 2019, winning the £30,000 Rathbones Folio Prize just a few months after he was announced as the winner of the Ted Hughes Award. It is the first time the Folio prize – which rewards the best work of literature of the year, regardless of form – has been awarded to a poet.
The 33-year old Jamaican-British spoken-word poet, who was diagnosed as deaf at the age of six, was up against seven other books. This year’s shortlist included Diana Evans’s Women’s prize-shortlisted novel Ordinary People, and Anna Burns's Milkman which won the Man Booker last year.
The 2019 judges were the poet, writer and teacher Kate Clanchy, the London-based Mexican writer Chloe Aridjis, and the author, poet and playwright Owen Sheers. Chair Kate Clanchy said: “We chose eight books we loved, in different genres, and deciding between them was painful. In the end it came down to two books and a tense vote.” But Antrobus’s The Perseverance came out on top.