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The Judges

Liz Berry was born in the Black Country and now lives in Birmingham. She received an Eric Gregory Award in 2009, an Arvon-Jerwood Mentorship in 2011 and won the Poetry London competition in 2012. Her pamphlet The Patron Saint of Schoolgirls was published by Tall Lighthouse in 2010. Liz's poetry has been broadcast on BBC Radio and recorded for the Poetry Archive. Her debut collection, Black Country (Chatto & Windus, 2014), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2014.

"I'm looking forward to reading poems full of surprise and energy; bold feelings and careful thoughts; poems which sing out from the page with their own distinct voices.”

Michael Symmons Roberts was born in 1963 in Preston, Lancashire, UK. His poetry has won the Forward Prize, the Costa Poetry Prize and the Whitbread Poetry Award, and been shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize. He has received major awards from the Arts Council and the Society of Authors. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and of the English Association. His continuing collaboration with composer James MacMillan has led to two BBC Proms choral commissions, song cycles, music theatre works and operas for the Royal Opera House, Scottish Opera, Boston Lyric Opera and Welsh National Opera. His broadcast work includes ‘A Fearful Symmetry’ - for Radio 4 - which won the Sandford St Martin Prize, and ‘Last Words’ commissioned by Radio 4 to mark the first anniversary of 9/11. He has published two novels, and is Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.

“Foyle Young Poets has become an essential institution, a way of discovering and developing the next generation of poets. Former Foyle winners are now among the most admired British poets, so it’s a real privilege to be invited to judge this year’s competition, and an exciting prospect too.”