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Hollie McNish’s ‘funny and serious’ poetry wins Ted Hughes prize

A “funny and serious, humane and consciousness-raising” poetry collection that reports from the “frontline of motherhood” has scooped the prestigious Ted Hughes poetry award for new work in poetry.

  • YouTuber Hollie McNish beat six other shortlisted poets to the £5,000 prize with her third collection, Nobody Told Me.
  • The collection combines poems and diary entries in a revealing memoir that follows her from when she discovered she was pregnant seven years ago, to when her daughter turned three years old.
  • The prize, which is administered by the Poetry Society, was presented by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy at a ceremony in London on Wednesday.

Singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams, who judged the prize with poets Jo Bell and Bernard O’Donoghue, said the book “should be sold alongside Caitlin Moran and Bill Bryson. Honest and insightful, it will resonate outside the poetry world to reach a new generation of poetry readers.”

 

The collection covers all aspects of motherhood, challenging taboos about post-pregnancy sex and breastfeeding as well as the sense of isolation and loss many women feel after giving birth. It also celebrates the joys of having a young child. On publication, the Guardian wrote that “her poems can often sound like love letters to her daughter and each phase of babyhood”.

Read More: The secret delight of poetry

 “stigma attached to writing about things related to women in poetry”. She added: “It just shocked me how hard certain things are as soon as you become pregnant – and yet no one talks about it.”

-McNish

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