We’re delighted to announce that Melissa Lee-Houghton’s collection Sunshine has been shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. This news continues the remarkable success Melissa has enjoyed with the collection, which featured on the shortlists for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem and the Costa Poetry Award. Sunshine is Melissa Lee-Houghton’s […]
This news continues the remarkable success Melissa has enjoyed with the collection, which featured on the shortlists for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem and the Costa Poetry Award.
Sunshine is Melissa Lee-Houghton’s third book (all with Penned in the Margins) and combines acute social observation with a dark, surreal humour born of first-hand experience. Abuse, addiction and mental health are all subject to Lee-Houghton’s poetic eye. But these are also poems of extravagance, hope and desire, that stake new ground for the Romantic lyric in an age of social media and internet pornography.
Melissa Lee Houghton has previously emphasised the importance of writing in generating empathy and giving a voice to the marginalised:
“I wrote this book because I care about people. In Sunshine I explore my own pain in order to shine a spotlight on the agonies being experienced by innumerable other people who are surviving unendurable plights, and those who do not survive them. I am truly honored and delighted that it has been recognised on the Ted Hughes Award shortlist.
Born in Wythenshawe, Manchester in 1982, Melissa’s second book, Beautiful Girls, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and in 2014 she was selected as a Next Generation Poet. A survivor of multiple psychiatric admissions, Melissa has written powerfully about her experiences of the mental health system in a recent Guardian article.
Editor of Penned in the Margins Tom Chivers said of the achievement:
“There is a kind of bravery in Melissa Lee-Houghton’s work that connects back to the language-world of Ted Hughes – an intensity of thought, and a strangeness that is neither easy nor comfortable to achieve. It’s fitting that Sunshine – one of 2016’s most powerful new works – should be shortlisted for an award in his name.”
The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry seeks to recognise excellence in poetry, highlighting outstanding contributions made by poets to our cultural life. The judges of the 2016 Prize are award-winning poets Jo Bell & Bernard O’Donoghue and Mercury Prize-nominated singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams. The £5000 prize – donated by Carol Ann Duffy, funded from the annual honorarium the Poet Laureate traditionally receives from HM The Queen – will be presented to the winner at an award ceremony on 29 March 2017.