I won!

This was a real surprise, as I was pretty sure I knew who the winner would be when I saw the shortlist. But it turns out I was wrong.

In an interesting, though perhaps a little self-indulgent literary salon (a first for me) discussing new writing at Somerset House (a first, too) meeting Romesh Gunesekera (also a first, of course) the announcement and presentation was made. This is my best prize so far, because this is an international magazine of some repute, and it was judged by Moniza Alvi, who’s a pretty sharp poet. I’m really pleased, so thanks to Wasafiri.

I think the only downside was that I more or less confirmed some of the characteristic failings of contemporary poetry lit culture which were being discussed in the salon prior to the award, by being a white, middle-aged, British male winner of a prize in a magazine which is trying hard to promote writers of colour, an international agenda, and young writers wherever possible. I think my poem, “Anthropology of Loss”, fits the agenda, even if I don’t, but I did feel a little ambivalent taking the prize: overjoyed at the success, but slightly concerned that there might be others better suited for such a wonderful award.

The poem, along with the winners of the Fiction and Life Writing prizes will be published in the March issue of Wasafiri. You can find the list of winners and the shortlisted works at: http://www.wasafiri.org/pages/news_01/news_item.asp?News_01ID=205