Arts Council England Promotes Poetry To Commemorate Abolition

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 12 April 2007
shows a close up portrait of poet Fred D'Aguiar

First poet published under the scheme is Fred D'Aguiar, with his poem Legal Tender. Photo - Richard Mallory Allnutt

Arts Council England is commissioning new work and launching a competition to find new poetry on the theme of enslavement.

It is inviting 11 poets to commemorate the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act by writing new work. A twelfth poem will be found through a national competition on the Arts Council website.

The competition is open to poets who have not published a full-length collection yet and the winner will see their work published alongside the 11 commissioned poems and receive a prize of £500.

“There is a rich tradition of narrative and verse linked to slavery,” said Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive of Arts Council England. “Enslavement means many things to many people. The Arts Council hopes this competition will inspire both known and new poets to add to a powerful tradition.”

“The commissioning of this poetry is one of many ways in which we will seek to explore the legacy of slavery – how it affects who we are, how we view others, and how we live our daily lives.”

Critically acclaimed poets Bernardine Evaristo, Fred D’Aguiar and Paul Farley have already been commissioned. The poems will be published individually each month on the Arts Council website, starting with D’Aguiar’s work in April 2007.

Read Legal Tender by Fred D'Aguiar

Photo of Fred D'Aguiar coutesy of the photographer, Richard Mallory Allnutt

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