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St John’s staff members and Fellow shortlisted for poetry prize

Two staff members and a Fellow of St John’s College have been shortlisted for a poetry prize for their first collections.

Adam Crothers, Special Collections Assistant, Rebecca Watts, Library Project Assistant, and Alex Wong, Research Fellow in English Literature at St John’s, have all been shortlisted for The Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for First Full Collection 2017.

The Seamus Heaney First Collection prize is awarded to the author who the judges consider to have the best full first collection of poetry published in the UK or Ireland in the preceding year. It is supported by Glucksman Ireland House, New York’s University Center for Irish and Irish-American Studies, and one of the top-ranked academic Irish Studies programs in the United States.

Alex Wong’s Poems Without Irony (Carcanet), Adam Crothers’s Several Deer (Carcanet), and Rebecca Watts’s The Met Office Advises Caution (Carcanet) were shortlisted alongside This Changes Things by Claire Askew (Bloodaxe) and Bird-Woman by Em Strang (Shearsman Books). Poems Without Irony has received positive reviews from Review 31 and PN Review, Several Deer won the Shine/Strong Poetry Award 2017, and The Met Office Advises Caution featured in the Guardian and Financial Times ‘Best Books of 2016’.

The winner will be announced during the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Summer School on 26-30 June 2017, and the prize will be £5,000. The winner will also be invited to read at Glucksman Ireland House at New York University for the annual Tom Quinlan Lecture in Poetry.

Rebecca and Adam will be reading from their collections at the St John’s Poetry Festival on Monday 19 June. The event takes place at the Main Lecture Theatre in the Old Divinity School, St John’s College, from 1-7pm; Rebecca will be reading at 5.20pm and Adam at 6pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Listen to Rebecca and Adam reading and discussing their poetry on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, broadcast on 8 June (8 minutes in).