In a year of unprecedented success for The Perseverance, Raymond Antrobus has been shortlisted for The Sunday Times/Warwick University Young Writer of the Year Award.
This latest shortlisting completes a stellar year for Raymond Antrobus, in which his debut book The Perseverance won the Rathbones Folio Prize, the Ted Hughes Award, the Poetry Book Society Choice, the Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for four other awards including the prestigious international Griffin Poetry Prize.
The Young Writer of the Year Award is given to ‘a work of outstanding literary merit’ in fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a writer aged 35 and under. Described as the most influential prize for new writers in Britain and Ireland, past winners include Zadie Smith, Robert Macfarlane and Simon Armitage. The other shortlistees are: Julia Armfield for Salt Slow (Picador), Yara Rodrigues Fowler for Stubborn Archivist (Fleet) and Kim Sherwood for Testament (riverrun).
The Perseverance is a book of loss, contested language and praise, where elegies for the poet’s father sit alongside meditations on the d/Deaf experience. Writing in the Sunday Times, Jeremy Noel-Tod called it ‘[A] memorable collection … Antrobus interlaces wit and pathos as he examines his identity as a deaf British-Jamaican man in a world between sign language and speech.’
The book is published by Penned in the Margins, a small press based in east London, and the only indie on the shortlist of four.
Antrobus’ editor, Tom Chivers, says, “What an incredible year for Ray! We are so proud of having published The Perseverance; I’m struggling to think of a single book of poems published by anyone in the last ten years that has come close to receiving so many plaudits…”
Born in Hackney in 1986, Antrobus still lives in London, where he works as a writer and teacher. His poems speak across worlds, including the D/deaf and hearing communities, and are reaching a broad readership, some of which might be picking up poetry for the first time. He has led workshops in D/deaf schools across the country, as well as in prisons; and a local school in Hackney has even named a new building after him.
Antrobus has kept up a whirlwind reading schedule this year, performing at numerous literary festivals all over the world including Bali, Miami, New Zealand and Edinburgh.
Tom adds, “Ray seems to have that rare combination – readers love him, but he’s also something of a poet’s poet. People will be reading The Perseverance for many, many years to come. And personally I can’t wait to find out what’s next for Ray.”
The winner of the Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award will be announced on 5 December.