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This item is taken from PN Review 141, Volume 28 Number 1, September - October 2001.

News & Notes
The Forward Prize shortlists have been announced. The Best Collection Prize shortlist is: Anne Carson, The Beauty of the Husband (Cape); Douglas Dunn, The Year's Afternoon (Faber); Matthew Francis, Dragons (Faber); James Lasdun, Landscape with Chainsaw (Cape); and Sean O'Brien, Downriver (Picador). The Best First Collection, sponsored by Waterstone's, will be decided between Andrew McNeillie, Nevermore (Carcanet/Oxford Poets); Caitriona O'Reilly, The Nowhere Birds (Bloodaxe); Catherine Smith The New Bride (Smith/Doorstop); John Stammers, Panoramic Lounge Bar (Picador); and Greta Stoddart, At Home in the Dark (Anvil). Allan Crosbie, Ian Duhig, Alan Jenkins, Robert Seatter and Henry Shukman have been shortlisted for the Tolman Cunard Prize for Best Single Poem. The Prizes will be announced on Wednesday 3 October, the eve of National Poetry Day.

Coverage of the above news in The Times was headed 'Forward Judges turn back Heaney' and quoted one judge to the effect that 'of all Seamus's books, this [Electric Light] certainly wasn't his best'. One does begin to wonder if the qualifications for reaching the shortlist are cumulative, relative or absolute. This aside, it can often appear that the weight of the publisher is a necessary condition for shortlisting, and proximity to the heart of the establishment sufficient. On this reckoning, something has gone seriously wrong, or seriously right. However, knowing as we do that necessary and sufficient conditions are only tacitly limited to the non-accidental, and taking a cursory glimpse at the list for the main prize, we can rest assured that matters of reputation, recommendation and fashion are far from the minds of all concerned.

ALLEN CURNOW's most recent collection of poetry, The Bells of Saint Babel's has been awarded the Montana New Zealand Book Award for best poetry collection. The collection will be published by Carcanet in September 2001.

The Poetry School, London's own national and international school of poetry, has just published its programme for 2001-2002. Co-ordinated by Mimi Khalvati, the school runs workshops, intensive and distance learning courses, readings, seminars and lectures at venues around the capital. Highlights include seminars/workshops led by Paul Muldoon, Elaine Feinstein, Ruth Padel, James Fenton and David Constantine. For further information and to receive a copy of the programme, contact Jacqueline Gabbitas at 1a Jewel Road, Walthamstow, London E17 4QU. Tel. 020 8223 0401, email or visit the website on

Hard on the heels of the announcement of the 2001 Griffin Poetry Prize comes the announcement that the judges for the 2002 Awards will be Robert Creeley, Michael Hofmann and the Canadian poet, novelist and essayist Dionne Brand.

The St Andrew's Archive Group of Shifnal Civic Society plan to place a plaque on the house which stands on the site of the birth place of Thomas Lovell Beddoes. Odfellows, on Shifnal Market Square in Scotland, is the site of the existing building and the plaque will be unveiled on Sunday 16 September.

The University of Auckland has announced the establishment of the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (NZEPC). Planned as a comprehensive electronic gateway to poetry resources in New Zealand and the Pacific region, the resource will be aimed at an audience of national and international scholars, poets and readers. A trial site at includes a range of audio, text and commentary material on eight well-known New Zealand authors and will build up over the coming months.

JAMES SIMMONS, founder of The Honest Ulsterman, poet, academic, playwright, singer, songwriter and teacher, died on 20 June. Born in 1933 in Londonderry, he was an undergraduate at Leeds University and went on to teach at the New University of Ulster at Coleraine in a department led by Walter Allen. Setting up The Honest Ulsterman as a 'monthly handbook for a revolution' (a slogan soon abandoned after pressure from the RUC), Simmons worked at the University of Coleraine from 1968 to 1983 and went on working for the causes of poetry and literature until his death.

ANNE RIDLER was awarded an OBE in the last Queen's Birthday Honours.

In addition to a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours, CHARLES TOMLINSON has been awarded Il Premio Internazionale Ennio Flaiano per la Poesia. He will be reading for the Warwick Writing Programme at the University of Warwick on Wednesday 10 October. Details available from www. htm, or write to The Warwick Writing Programme, Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, The University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL.

Creative Revelations: Translators and their Writers is the name of a conference to be hosted by the Cultural Institutes and Embassies of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands in collaboration with the British Centre for Literary Translation and the Translators' Association at the Voice Box (Royal Festival Hall) on Sunday 23 and Monday 24 September. Featuring bi-lingual readings with the German author Judith Hermann, further details and a full conference listing can be obtained by calling 01603 592 785 or by emailing c.fuller@

The Petra Kenney Poetry Competition, one of the largest in the UK, is accepting entries until 1 December. Details and entry forms from The Secretary, Petra Kenney Poetry Competition, PO Box 32, Filey, Yorkshire, YO14 9TG.

Robert Saxton and Isobel Lusted have won first and second prizes respectively in the 2001 Keats-Shelley Prize (poetry) sponsored by the Folio Society. The judges were Tom Paulin (Chair), Matthew Sweeney, John Hartley Williams, Angus Graham and Professor Nicholas Roe. The essay prizes went to Toby Venables and Caroline Bertonèche.

The Arts Council of England has awarded the Raymond Williams Community Publishing Prize for 2001 to the Bradford Heritage Recording Unit for Keeping the Faith - The Polish Community in Britain by Tim Smith and Michelle Winslow. The runner up was The Redbeck Anthology of British South Asian Poetry edited by Debjani Chatterjee and published by Redbeck Press.

TOVE JANSSON, creator of the Moomins, died in Helsinki on 27 June aged seventy-six. A curious mixture of comforting bourgeois conformism and delightful bohemian irreverence, the world of the Moomins captivated readers around the world. The first collection of stories was published to immediate acclaim shortly after the Second World War, and the last in 1970. While the books and stories became darker as time passed, her wit, sharp intelligence and flair for the absurd remained undimmed. The more recent Moominmania of the 1980s centred around a commercial desire to market and brand the peculiar brand of happiness possessed by the extended Moomin clan, but Jansson's real achievement lay in exposing the necessity of melancholy and illustrating the many ways in which it can be vanquished.

DAVID C. WARD has mailed to ask that 'people who write about Ezra Pound please note that the correct spelling of the institution in which he was incarcerated is Saint Elizabeths. There is no apostrophe and it is not possessive.' Further hot weather is forecast for Washington D.C.

StAnza, Scotland's annual poetry festival, takes place in St Andrews in October, beginning on National Poetry Day (4 October) and running through until Sunday 7 October. Readers include Carcanet authors Edwin Morgan and David Morley, as well as Kate Clanchy, Simon Armitage, Michael Donaghy and Lavinia Greenlaw. Other events include a Poetry Cabaret with Donny O'Rourke, Writing Workshops and an exhibition 'MacDiarmid Remembered'. For a programme, call 01592 414714. More information is available at the StAnza website at stanza, and tickets can be reserved by calling the StAnza Box Office at the Crawford Arts Centre on 01334 474610 after 3 September.
News & Notes compiled by CHRIS GRIBBLE.


This item is taken from PN Review 141, Volume 28 Number 1, September - October 2001.

Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this item to
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