Endowed by the late great Edwin Morgan, the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award is an annual prize for young Scottish poets, “in the region of £20,000 [$31,300],” which replaces the previous Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition (2008–2012). The Award is open to poets under the age of 30, “born in Scotland, or continuously resident in Scotland for the last two years, or brought up in Scotland, or having a Scottish parent,” and is awarded on the basis of a published or unpublished first collection of poetry. This year’s inaugural Edwin Morgan Poetry Award was presented at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
The Award website explains that Morgan “was in his forties before making his first real breakthrough, and often remembered the problems young poets can have in getting a first collection published. So when he came to gift his estate to the nation and good causes, he stipulated that there should be a new prize in his name.”
Runner up for this year’s Award was Claire Askew, who “lives in Edinburgh, and holds a PhD in Creative Writing & Contemporary Women’s Poetry from the University of Edinburgh,” and was “twice selected for the Scottish Poetry Library’s Best Scottish Poems.” Winner of the Award with his first collection Moontide was Niall Campbell, who grew up on the island of South Uist, “recipient of an Eric Gregory Award,” and winner of the Poetry London Competition for 2013. “To the sunken dark, I sent all the light I knew,” tweeted the Book Festival Twitter stream (#edbookfest) from his reading at the presentation ceremony.
Award judge Stewart Conn said of Campbell’s work: “These poems, with their rich textures, succulent descriptions and seductive cadences reveal a gifted word-smith… [they] transform the sea-bound Uist they celebrate.” Fellow judge Jen Hadfield remarked: “In lightly framing the unsaid, some of these poems have a haunted quality: they are cat’s cradles between poet and reader.”