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Raymond Antrobus wins Ted Hughes Award

Raymond Antrobus has won the Ted Hughes Award 2018 for his debut collection, The Perserverance. The book, published by Penned in the Margins, was also the Poetry Book Society Choice for Winter 2018 and a Poetry Book of the Year in The Guardian and The Sunday Times. It has also been longlisted for this year's Folio prize.

Born in Hackney, the 33-year-old British Jamaican has received the £5,000 prize after fiercely challenging Ted Hughes’s description of deaf children as “alert and simple” in a poem from The Perserverance.  The collection touches on family life, particularly the death of Antrobus’s father, his diagnosis with deafness as a small child, and his biracial heritage.

The Ted Hughes Award 2018 is judged by Linton Kwesi Johnson, Mark Oakley and Clare Shaw. The judges said: 

This is transformative writing creating a new cultural landscape. Antrobus makes us hear between the lines through poems well-crafted with emotional intelligence. This collection’s critique of the supremacy of the sonic world opened new doors and gave us new insights.

Antrobus was shortlisted alongside the Indian poet Tishani Doshi for Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods, Birmingham’s Roy McFarlane for The Healing Next Time, Susan Richardson’s Words the Turtle Taught Me, and Hannah Sullivan, who won the TS Eliot prize last year for Three Poems.

Antrobus was presented with his award at a ceremony on Wednesday evening, alongside the poet Wayne Holloway-Smith, who was chosen from 14,000 entries to win the £5,000 national poetry competition for his poem The posh mums are boxing in the square.