May 28, 2019

Raymond Antrobus becomes first poet to win the Rathbones Folio Prize and is shortlisted for the Forward Prizes for Poetry

Raymond Antrobus was awarded the Folio Prize, which goes to the best work of literature of the year of any form, at a ceremony held at the British Library on 20th May. Launched in 2013, the Rathbones Folio Prize is the only literary prize in which all books, fiction and non-fiction, are judged, strictly on merit, by an Academy of writers. The 2019 judges were the writers Kate Clanchy, Chloe Aridjis and Owen Sheers.

Two months ago he was awarded the Ted Hughes Award and has most recently been shortlisted for the Forward Prizes for Poetry £5,000 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection alongside Jay Bernard,  David Cain, Isabel Galleymore, and Stephen Sexton.

The 33-year-old writer’s collection The Perseverance spans history and continents, exploring issues such as his diagnosis with deafness as a child, experiences of being mixed heritage, and thoughts on masculinity, as well as his father’s alcoholism and dementia. The Perseverance was published as a 91-page paperback last October by London-based poetry indie Penned in the Margins. To date it has also been shortlisted for the Griffin Prize, the Jhalak Prize, and the Somerset Maugham Award.

Raymond Antrobus was born in Hackney, east London, to an English mother and a Jamaican father. At school, he was thought to be dyslexic with severe learning disabilities because his deafness was only discovered when he was six. He is one of the world’s first recipients of an MA in Spoken Word Education, from Goldsmiths in London, and now works nationally and internationally as a poet and teacher.

He was London Book Fair’s Poet of the Fair in March and recently  signed his first picture book deal with Walker Books about a father and son journey where Boy Bear struggles to fit into the hearing world.


Raymond Antrobus. Image: Adrianne McKenzie