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Student up for poetry award

TALENT: Nick Makoha

A GOLDSMITHS College MA student has been shortlisted for a major poetry award.

Nick Makoha, who is close to completing an MA Creative and Life Writing postgraduate course, has been nominated alongside four others for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection, which offers £5,000 to the winner for his work Kingdom of Gravity.

Makoha, who fled Uganda’s civil war and Idi Amin’s tyranny as a young boy, left his job as a London banker to commit to poetry full time.

The poems in Kingdom of Gravity address the horrors of the civil war in Uganda, and feature a curiosity about how people behave in extreme situations. The judging panel described the collection as a “searing, mysterious contemplation of exile, fatherhood and violence”.

Makoha said: “Writing my first collection has been a constant learning curve, and at times it felt like a moving horizon. Being shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection has brought this journey into focus. There is an electric excitement that is storing inside me.”

The prize is part of the 2017 Forward Prizes for poetry. The judging panel is chaired by Andrew Marr, and includes poets Ian Duhig, Sandeep Parmar and Mona Arshi and artist Chris Riddell. They will be awarded on September 21 at the Royal Festival Hall.
The prizes are among the most coveted awards for poetry in Britain and Ireland.

They were set up in 1991 by philanthropist Willian Sieghart to celebrate excellence in poetry and increase its audience.
Past winners include Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy and Alice Oswald.

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