Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry


Ted Hughes Award winners and judges 2011From L ot R: Michael Symmons Roberts, Sarah Maguire, Carol Ann Duffy, Lavinia Greenlaw, Edmund de Waal.

Judges Edmund de Waal, Sarah Maguire and Michael Symmons Roberts presented the 2011 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry to Lavinia Greenlaw for her outstanding sound work Audio Obscura.

Taking place at Manchester’s Piccadilly station in July 2011 and at London’s St Pancras International station in September / October 2011, Audio Obscura is a sound work in which the listener enters interior lives and discovers, somewhere between what is heard and what is seen, what cannot be said. Audio Obscura was commissioned and produced by Artangel and Manchester International Festival, and Lavinia collaborated with sound designer Tim Barker to produce the work.

The judges said: “Audio Obscura was a groundbreaking work that fully captured the spirit of the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. The judges felt this was a particularly outstanding year with six stellar entries on the shortlist”.

Greenlaw’s poetry includes Minsk and The Casual Perfect. She has also published novels and the non-fiction The Importance of Music to Girls and Questions of Travel: William Morris in Iceland. She has held residencies at the Science Museum and the Royal Society of Medicine, and is Professor of Creative Writing at UEA. Her exploration of perception has led to radio programmes about landscape and light.

Greenlaw was presented with her prize of £5,000 by Carol Ann Duffy at an award ceremony at the Savile Club on Wednesday 28 March 2012, alongside the winner of the National Poetry Competition.


"The recommendations demonstrated just how engaged and engaging contemporary poetry is in Britain. We saw striking and original collaborations with photographers, composers, producers, painters and sculptors. Although we could have listed more, the entries that made the shortlist all show how poetry can transform (and be transformed by) other arts to produce new and remarkable work. In particular, we were delighted to see such strong contributions from radio this year. The role of BBC radio in developing and promoting poetry is as significant now as it was for Louis MacNeice and Dylan Thomas. Long may it continue!" Michael Symmons Roberts, judge.

Simon Armitage for Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster
A drama documentary for BBC Radio 4, this is an elegy to the 20-year-old student who was attacked whilst attempting to protect her boyfriend from a group of violent youths. Four years after her death, Sophie's story is told through poems by Simon Armitage, and an interview with her mother, Sylvia Lancaster. Produced by Sue Roberts.

Julia Copus for Ghost Lines
A personal testimony of IVF treatment and failed pregnancy by Julia Copus in poems and prose, written especially for this BBC Radio 3 programme. Poems read by actress Hattie Morahan with music composed by Jacob Shirley. Produced by John Taylor/Fiction Factory.

Robert Crawford for Simonides
Translations of the ancient Greek poet, on death, loss and remembrance, accompanied by photographs by Norman McBeath. The project is also the subject of a 2011 exhibition. Commissioned by the University of St Andrews as part of its 600th Anniversary.

Lavinia Greenlaw for Audio Obscura
A sound work that saw its audience don headphones amongst the bustle of London St Pancras and Manchester Piccadilly train stations to listen in on individual narratives. Commissioned and produced by Artangel and Manchester International Festival.

Andrew Motion for Laurels and Donkeys
A BBC Radio 4 programme produced by Tim Dee featuring a sequence of dramatic war poems to mark Remembrance Day.

Christopher Reid for Airs and Ditties of No Man’s Land
An orchestral piece set in the First World War, first performed as part of the BBC Proms and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Music composed by Colin Matthews.

Hear extracts from shortlisted titles.


Edmund de Waal has porcelain in thirty international collections and has created major installations for the V&A and Tate Britain. His latest book, The Hare with Amber Eyes, won the Costa Award for Biography in 2010 and the Ondaatje prize.

Sarah Maguire has published four highly-acclaimed collections of poetry including The Pomegranates of Kandahar, shortlisted for the 2007 T.S. Eliot Prize. She is the founder and director of the Poetry Translation Centre and received a Cholmondeley Award in June 2008.

Michael Symmons Roberts' poetry collections include Corpus (2004), which won the 2004 Whitbread Poetry Award and was shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize and the T. S. Eliot Prize. He is also an award-winning maker of documentaries for television and radio.