The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry 2018 goes to Jay Bernard, the award seeks to recognise excellence in poetry.
Bernard was given the award for new poetry with the performance Surge: Side A, a multimedia sequence which explores the 1981 New Cross fire.
A £5,000 prize is given to the poet “who has made the most exciting contribution to poetry”, using published poetry collections with installations, live performance, and radio pieces.
The 1981 fire was when 13 young people died at a birthday party in south London. To date the cause has not been identified from inquests held in 1981 and 2004.
The solo performance, given at the Roundhouse as part of the 2017 Last Word festival, was a combination of archive footage, film, audio and live poetry written in the voices of the people killed in the fire.
Jay Bernard is from London and works as a writer and film programmer at BFI Flare (London’s LGBT film festival). They are the author of three pamphlets, The Red and Yellow Nothing (2016), English Breakfast (2013), and Your Sign is Cuckoo, Girl (2008), and have been featured in numerous anthologies and magazines, including TEN: The New Wave and Out of Bounds: Black British Writers and Place. They were part of the original line-up for two Speaking Volumes Breaking Ground tours to the USA, showcasing the best Black British writers from the UK.