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Beverly Rycroft Wins the 2012 Ingrid Jonker Prize for Missing

MissingAlert! Beverly Rycroft has won the 2012 Ingrid Jonker Prize for English Poetry for her debut collection, Missing. The judges praised Rycroft’s understated use of emotion and the sustained imagery throughout her poems.

The prize will be awarded to Rycroft at a ceremony during the Open Book Festival on Saturday 22 September at the Fugard Theatre.

Press release:

2012 INGRID JONKER PRIZE AWARDED TO A COHESIVE, CRAFTED AND WITTY COLLECTION IN A YEAR OF OUTSTANDING ENTRIES

Beverly Rycroft’s debut collection missing is the winner of this year’s Ingrid Jonker prize for English poetry. The judging panel consisted of the poets Professor Wendy Woodward, Liesl Jobson and Helen Moffett.

Rycroft was singled out for her ‘craft, her strong, confident voice, the originality and variety of imagery and tone.’ Missing was praised for its beguiling narrative, ‘like a novel or memoir of a gripping descent into Pluto’s kingdom, and the unsteady ascent back into life’. The reader is completely immersed in the journey ‘but the poetry is never self-pitying or sentimental. Emotions are deftly understated and become all the more forceful.’ Judges found a spirit of emotional generosity in her poems: ‘Throughout the purgatory of illness, Rycroft has an appreciation, always, of what is happening elsewhere in spite of personal suffering, recalling Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts”’.’

Judges commented not only on the courage, humour and sustained imagery of the poems, but on Rycroft’s ability (following Emily Dickinson’s dictum) to tell the truth only slightly slant.

Nine volumes were submitted for judging. Competition was stiff, with one judge describing the process as a ‘photo-finish’ and another commenting that the top three were ‘remarkable works’ which displayed ‘a high level of artistry, a deeply considered aesthetic and courageous investigation into the most private histories of the narrators inhabiting the pages.’

The Ingrid Jonker Prize for debut poetry collections is awarded every year, alternately for work in English and Afrikaans. The prize, which consists of a medal and a cash amount, will be handed over at a ceremony during the Open Book Festival at the Athol Fugard Theatre on Saturday 22 September at 20h00. Ingrid Jonker’s daughter will be present to hand over the prize. Beverly Rycroft will read from her winning collection.

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Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    September 13th, 2012 @17:17 #
     
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    Congratulations to Bev! I must add that the competition was exceptionally strong, with several serious and impressive contenders. It's a joy to see poetry of this calibre being published. Modadji in particular is creating an impressive literary legacy.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    September 14th, 2012 @12:25 #
     
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    It's gratifying as a small publisher when an author wins a prize, it somehow affirms what one is doing, especially in publishing poetry, as the financial rewards are elusive indeed. I've been thrilled with the response to Bev's win, such good will and enthusiasm from well wishers.

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  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    September 14th, 2012 @14:06 #
     
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    A joy to have been part of the process. Hearty congratulations to all who submitted work.

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