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Kei Miller Captures Forward Prize 2014

Kei Miller wins 2014 Forward Prize

Jamaican novelist, essayist and poet Kei Miller has captured the 2014 Forward Prize with his collection The Cartographer Tries to Map the Way to Zion, the latest addition to his already enviable list of published works comprising two novels, four poetry collections, a collection of short stories and a collection of “essays and prophesies”.

So although he has already written down his own prophesies, one does not need to be clairvoyant to recognize that the slate of accolades currently coming his way, signal that Miller is certainly taking his place as one of the world’s voices to reckon with. 

Indeed, the Poetry Book Society (UK) recently named Miller among the list of 20 Next Generation Poets. The list is produced every ten years. Additionally, Miller is currently 

shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas prize for writers under forty for which he will contend with Eleanor Catton (Man Booker laureate, 2013) and Eimear McBride (winner of the  Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, 2014). Earlier in the year his work was also included in the South Bank Centre’s 50 Greatest Love Poems in 50 Years.

According to the UK Telegraph, the judges praise Miller’s collection for being witty and bold. 

“Kei is doing something you don’t come across often: this is a beautifully voiced collection which struck us all with its boldness and wit,” cited the UK Telegraph. “Many poets refer to multiple realities, different ways of observing the world. Kei doesn’t just refer, he articulates them.”

The Forward Prize for Best Collection with comes with a purse of £10,000.00. The shortlisted entrants were All One Breath (John Burnside), The Whole & Rain-Domed Universe (Colette Byrce), Faithful and Virtuous Night (Louise Glück), and I Knew the Bride (Hugo Williams).

Chaired by Jeremy Paxman the team of judges included poets Vahni Capildeo (Utter), Dannie Abse (Speak) and Helen Mort (Division Street, a pint for the ghost) as well as singer-songwriter Cerys Matthews.

Liz Berry received the award The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection for In Black Country (£5000) while Stephen Santus Best Single Poem (£1000) for ‘In a Restaurant’.