The judges, Ella Jeffery and Ed Wright are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2020 First Poetry Book Prize is Nellie Le Beau for her manuscript Inheritance. She wins $1500 and publication. Nellie Le Beau’s poetry appears in Westerly, Cordite, Rabbit, Stilts, The Suburban Review, and elsewhere. Twice shortlisted for the Fair Australia Prize, she is a 2020 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk fellow. Her writing has been translated into French, Spanish, and Arabic.
Ella Jeffery writes: The finely wrought poems in Nellie Le Beau’s Inheritance are intelligent and striking. The poet’s voice is assured as it reels the reader between past and present, between the uncertainty of memory and the crisp precision of observation. Inheritance is an inventive, wide-ranging and vibrant debut collection animated by Le Beau’s capacity for terse, unequivocal phrasing and compelling imagery.
Ed Wright writes: Nellie Le Beau’s Inheritance is a psychic exploration of the mediation between past, present and future. The imagery deployed is striking and often surprising, teasing the reader with its unexpected angles and irresolutions. Like the very best poetry, it often feels as if the reader is being provided with the scaffolding to think in new ways. While the individual poems are distinctive and play with different speaker positions and poetic registers, one of the great strengths of the collection is the way it hangs together as a reading experience. I left the manuscript feeling refreshed and as if my mind had been taken on an adventure.
The shortlisted poets are:
Scott Patrick Mitchell
Due to the high quality of the shortlist, Puncher and Wattmann are pleased to be able to offer the chance for publication to these manuscripts too. We will be in touch with these poets soon.
Highly commended: Gavin Yates and Kay Are.
The judges note that there was a high standard to the entries in general and congratulate all the contestants.