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  • Faisal Mohyuddin Wins the 2017 Sexton Prize for Poetry

    CHICAGO HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER WINS LEADING UK POETRY BOOK PRIZE

    THE SEXTON PRIZE, JUDGED THIS YEAR BY MAJOR POET KIMIKO HAHN, HAS BEEN WON BY Faisal Mohyuddin, for his debut poetry collection The Displaced Children of Displaced Children 

    Mohyuddin's work was selected from a remarkably diverse and competitive shortlist. His prize will be $1000 USD, and publication by British, London-based independent publishing house, Eyewear – and his book will be distributed across the USA by SPD and in the UK and Ireland by Central Books. 

    Final Judge Professor Hahn - Distinguished Professor, English Department MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation Queens College, The City University of New York - said of the winning book: “Mohyuddin's craft is composed of measurable touches that go hardly noticed. And the subject! Serious stuff , yes, but the collection contains a variety of tones and concerns. There is the jelly-fish in space (lament though the poem may be), a talking banana, binging on pumpkin pie. To be sure, the title refers to diaspora and the poems refer to families in and immigrants from Pakistan. There are a literal landscapes and clear memories to be enjoyed. And yet, because these poems are so well crafted and the emotion so well expressed, the subject matter is overtaken by such themes as boundary, legacy, loss, claim. Whether a long narrative poem, or shorter lyric poems, these are the works of a poet, mature in his concerns and thinking.” 

    Mohyuddin had this reaction to his win: “For years I have turned to Kimiko Hahn’s poetry to find beauty, inspiration, love, and, above all, a feeling of home. Few poets’ work moves me the way her work moves me. So when I learned Professor Hahn had selected my collection as the winner of the 2017 Sexton Prize, I was incredibly honored, elated, and quite honestly flabbergasted. This is undoubtedly an amazing honor, the depths of which I cannot fully grasp. For that, I am profoundly grateful to Professor Hahn and to everyone at Eyewear.” 

    Faisal Mohyuddin is the author of the chapbook The Riddle of Longing, forthcoming Fall 2017 from Backbone Press. He is the recipient of the 2014 Edward Stanley Award from Prairie Schooner, and his work has also appeared in Narrative, RHINO, Catamaran, Chicago Quarterly Review, Poet Lore, Crab Orchard Review, Atlanta Review, and elsewhere. New work is forthcoming in The Missouri Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and the anthology Misrepresented People: Poets Respond to Trump’s America. A graduate of Carleton College, Northwestern University, and Columbia College Chicago, and an alumnus of the U.S. Department of State’s Teachers for Global Classrooms fellowship, Faisal teaches English at Highland Park High School in Illinois and lives with his wife and son in Chicago.  He is a proud American Muslim of Pakistani descent.

    Eyewear books was founded in 2012 by Cambridge writer-in-residence Dr Todd Swift, and publishes works by leading poets, including Paul Muldoon, George Szirtes, Rebecca Gayle Howell, George Elliott Clarke, Hester Knibbe, Sumia Sukkar, Don Share, Keaton Henson, Jan Owen, Mark Ford and Elspeth Smith. 

    The runners- up are:

    The Tilt Torn Away from the Seasons by Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers

    Truce Country by Sue Hyon Bae 

    They will both be offered a publishing contract for Eyewear and a $200 USD advance as their prize. Of these Judge Hanh said: “In a very rich and complex grouping of brilliant collections, these still stood out for me.” 

    Mohyuddin’s book will be published in early 2018 in time for AWP, and will be formally launched in London sometime next year. 

    Last year's winner was American Purgatory, selected by Don Share, and written by Rebecca Gayle Howell. It was an indie best-seller this past year.

  • Sohini Basak wins the 2016 Beverly Series Prize

    January 3—LONDON 

    Eyewear Publishing LTD is pleased to announce that Sohini Basak, of Barrackpore, India, is the winner of the 2016 Beverly Series for her debut collection of poetry, We Live in the Newness of Small Differences.

    The 2016 Beverley Series was open to original manuscripts in any genre by any writer working in the English language. The series received a wide range of submissions from writers both emerging and established, in over thirteen countries, writing memoir, poetry, short stories, novels, and experimental forms. Kelly Davio, Eyewear’s Senior Editor and the final judge for the 2016 Beverly Series, selected We Live in the Newness of Small Differences from a pool of fourteen finalists determined by Eyewear’s editorial team of judges, Oliver Jones, Rosanna Hildyard, and Todd Swift.

    Davio had this to say of the selection process:

    ‘With such a range of worthy manuscripts from which to select, I had a challenging job in selecting a winner for The Beverly Series. Ultimately, I had to rely on what surprised me, what delighted me, what made me forget that I was judging a competition and allowed me to immerse myself in a fully realized work. Sohini Basak’s We Live in the Newness of Small Differences is all of those things. It’s an impressive collection with a controlled voice, an attention to musicality, a beautiful execution of the craft, and a playful sense of the elasticity and possibility of the line. I have no doubt that this book’s publication will mark the emergence of a powerful new voice in the poetry world, and I’m proud that we at Eyewear have the opportunity to bring this work to the reading public.’

    Basak’s poetry and fiction have appeared in journals including 3: AM Magazine, Out of Print, Suburban Review, Missing Slate, Ambit, Lighthouse, Ofi Press, Helter Skelter, and Paris Lit Up, as well as in print anthologies of Emma Press and Poetrywala. She won second prize at the inaugural RædLeaf India Poetry Prize in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Melita Hume and the Jane Martin poetry prizes in 2014. She was a 2015-2016 fellow of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective.

    Basak studied literature and creative writing at the universities of Delhi, Warwick, and East Anglia, where she was awarded the Malcolm Bradbury continuation grant for poetry. She is a social media manager for the translation journal Asymptote. She grew up in Barrackpore and currently lives in Delhi.

    Eyewear will publish We Live in the Newness of Small Differences in January of 2018. To reserve an advance review copy, contact info@eyewearpublishing.com 

    Submissions for the 2017 Beverly Series, final judge Todd Swift, are now open. Learn more here.

  • Jenna Clake’s FORTUNE COOKIE Wins the 2016 Melita Hume Prize for Poetry

    30 November--LONDON

    Eyewear Publishing LTD is pleased to announce that Jenna Clake is the 2016 winner of the £1,500 Melita Hume Prize--the UK's largest monetary prize for a debut collection--for her book Fortune Cookie.

    ‘I am thrilled to have won the Melita Hume Prize, and look forward to releasing my first collection,’ says Clake. ‘This is something I have been working towards for the past few years, and I am incredibly grateful to Eyewear for the opportunity.’

    Clake is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. Her research focuses on the feminine and feminist Absurd in twenty-first century British and American poetry. She is also the Poetry and Arts Editor for the Birmingham Journal of Literature and Language. Clarke's work appears in Poems in Which, The Bohemyth, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and more. 

    The final judge, Professor Mark Ford, editor of the American edition of John Ashbery's collected poems and Faber poet, selected Fortune Cookie from this year’s exceptionally strong shortlist of ten. Ford had this to say about the finalists and the winner:

    'All of the ten submitted manuscripts that made it onto the short list for this year’s Melita Hume Poetry Prize contained excellent poems, and I would not be at all surprised if all ten of the poets selected went on to develop original and interesting poetic careers. I was struck by the variety of the idioms put to use by these manuscripts, and by the different conceptions of poetry implicit in their styles and choice of subject matter. It is perhaps a cliché to say that the most distinctive feature of the contemporary poetry scene is its diversity – we don’t live ‘in the age’ of anyone in particular, as the Victorians, say, lived in the age of Tennyson. Therefore a judge of a poetry competition such as this has to tune in to the kind of poetry that is being developed in a given manuscript, and then come to a decision about how successfully the poet is deploying the techniques made available by the mode selected. Personal taste also, inevitably, comes into it: a different judge might well have picked a different winner.

    I was also conscious that the winning manuscript would be published as a book. It is not easy for poets putting together a first collection to get a sense of how a volume should be arranged so as to hold a reader’s interest, and if I had a general tip for these poets it would be to study how, say, Philip Larkin arranged the poems in The Less Deceived and The Whitsun Weddings. A number of the manuscripts submitted seemed to me simply too long, to offer too many poems in the same vein. Certainly poets need to develop a distinctive style, but a collection has to be various and surprising, and to present poetry in a range of different registers.

    After much agonizing I selected Jenna Clake’s collection, aptly entitled Fortune Cookie. I found the poems in this manuscript a delight to read: funny, moving, unpredictable, sure-footed, elegant, lively. They reminded me of the work of the great American poet James Tate, who died a couple of years ago. Many offer deadpan accounts of wacky or off-kilter situations, or present mini-narratives that are almost parables, but not quite. Reading each one was indeed a bit like opening a fortune cookie, and finding a motto inside that was at once intriguing and entertaining, bleak and hilarious. I much look forward to seeing this collection in print.'

    Eyewear will release Fortune Cookie in autumn of 2017. Reviewers who wish to reserve an advance review copy should email the editors at info@eyewearpublishing.com.

    The entry period for the 2017 Melita Hume Prize will open in January. The final judge will be Forward-winning poet Vahni Capildeo.

  • Rebecca Gayle Howell’s AN AMERICAN PURGATORY Wins the 2016 Sexton Prize for Poetry

    20 October—LONDON

    Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce that Rebecca Gayle Howell is the winner of the 2016 Sexton Prize for her manuscript AN AMERICAN PURGATORY.

    Don Share, editor of Poetry Magazine and final judge for the inaugural Sexton Prize, selected Howell’s AN AMERICAN PURGATORY from a shortlist of seven manuscripts from this year’s open competition.

    Share called AN AMERICAN PURGATORY “far-reaching, inventive, surprising, and apt…a terrific book.”

    Howell’s previous publications include Render /An Apocalypse (CSU, 2013), which was selected by Nick Flynn for the Cleveland State University First Book Prize and was a finalist for ForeWord Review's Book of the Year. 

    She is also the translator of Amal al-Jubouri's Hagar Before the Occupation/Hagar After the Occupation (Alice James Books, 2011), which was named a 2011 Best Book of Poetry by Library Journal and was shortlisted for Three Percent's Best Translated Book Award.

    Among Howell’s awards are fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Carson McCullers Center, as well as a Pushcart Prize. Native to Kentucky, Howell is a Senior Editor for Oxford American

    Eyewear will launch AN AMERICAN PURGATORY at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C.

    To reserve an advance review copy of the title, email the editors at info@eyewearpublishing.com.

    Author photo by Jacob Shores-Arguello.