Goldsmiths poets win 2016 Authors’ Awards

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Goldsmiths, University of London graduate Sam Buchan-Watts and staff Jack Underwood and Maura Dooley have won prizes for poetry at the 2016 Society of Authors’ annual Authors’ Awards.

Playwright, poet and author John Agard presented the awards at a ceremony on Wednesday 21 June at the Army and Navy Club in Mayfair where some £86,000 was distributed to writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Most prizes are funded by writers’ bequests.

Sam Buchan-Watts was presented with an Eric Gregory Award for his collection The Loop, and received £4,500, with judges praising the “understatedly witty, thoughtful and visually alert” collection. Founded in 1960, the prize is intended to encourage and support poets under the age of 30.

After studying English Literature at Goldsmiths, Sam recently joined the University of York to write his PhD on contemporary poetry. He was named one of Faber & Faber’s New Poets for 2015-16.

Jack Underwood, Lecturer in Creative Writing in the Department of English and Comparative Literature, received a Somerset Maugham Award and £2,000 for his debut poetry collection Happiness (Faber). The prize was launched in 1947 by W.Somerset Maugham to allow writers under the age of 35, working in a range of creative genres, to enrich their work through foreign travel.

One of five winners this year, the judges commented on the collection’s “rare quality of being accessible, lucid, direct, but also fresh”. Jack – a poet, librettist and musician – completed both his MA and PhD in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths.

Maura Dooley was one of four writers to win a £1,875 Cholmondeley Award for outstanding achievement in poetry, a prize founded by the late Dowager Marchioness of Cholmondeley in 1966.

Maura is a Reader in Creative Writing in the Department of English and Comparative Literature, with research interests in contemporary poetry and the short story.

Find out more about the Authors' Awards on the Society of Authors website