Salt is delighted to announce, on National Poetry Day, that Siân Hughes and Andrew Philip have both been shortlisted in the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize.

The 2009 shortlist for the 2009 Aldeburgh First Collection Prize – one of the most important and established poetry prizes in the UK – signals the arrival of five authentic and distinctive poets and a flourishing small press industry.

Judge David Constantine says “contemporary poetry in the UK is thriving” with 2009 seeing a record 92 entries.

Judge, Mimi Khalvati says “There was a great deal of consensus among the judges: all the books in our final shortlist are either intellectually or emotionally compelling”.

Michael Laskey, Chair of the judging panel says “This is a strong shortlist – five absorbing and very different books that demonstrate the range and relevance of the best contemporary poetry.”

The Aldeburgh First Collection Prize is valuable not just for its cash prize of £3,000, but also for the emphasis on identifying and developing talent. The winner receives a week of ‘protected’ writing time on the inspirational Suffolk coast and – most crucially – a fee-paying invitation to read and participate in the 2010 Aldeburgh Poetry Festival.

The Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, established in 1989 was the first award designed to recognise and benefit a poet at first book stage. Supported from 2003-2008 by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation (as the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize), it is one of the UK’s oldest and most influential prizes for contemporary poetry.

The three-poet judging panel was chaired by Michael Laskey with David Constantine and Mimi Khalvati.The winner of The Aldeburgh Fist Collection Prize will be announced on Saturday 7 November during the 21st Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, 6-8 November 2009. The annual Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, this year celebrating its 21st birthday, (6-8 November 2009) is the Trust’s core and most high profile activity.

Previous Aldeburgh First Collection Prize winners include Robin Robertson (1997), Colette Bryce (2000), Henry Shukman (2002) and Nick Laird (2005).

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