A surprise announcement from the Writers' Trust of Canada today contained some good news for Canadian poets, just in time for National Poetry Month: The former Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize, awarded since 2014, has now become the Latner Griffin Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize. The new award, which includes additional sponsorship from philanthropist Scott Griffin as well as increased support from the Latner Family Foundation, notably raises its prize purse significantly, from $25,000 to $60,000, making it a major player on the world poetry stage.
Open to mid-career Canadian poets as it was in its previous iteration, the newly tweaked prize came about after Griffin approached the Writers' Trust with a suggestion of increasing the size of the award.
The announcement comes shortly after the first shortlist for a newly changed Griffin Poetry Prize, which is also sponsored by Griffin and which merged its international and Canadian awards into one in a move that left some in the Canadian poetry community concerned that Canadian collections might be disadvantaged. So a Canadian-focused poetry award getting increased funding and profile is likely to be extra-welcome news for those in Canadian writing and publishing now.
The Latner Griffin Prize will be presented alongside seven other awards for excellence in Canadian literature at the annual Writers’ Trust Awards, one of the richest literary prize-giving nights in Canada.
To be eligible for the award, a Canadian poet in mid-career must have published at least three collections of poetry that demonstrate mastery of the art. Poets will be recognized for both an outstanding existing body of work and for their anticipated future contributions to Canadian poetry. There is no age restriction and no submission process. Past winners of the prize include Ken Babstock, Karen Solie, Gregory Scofield, and Louise Bernice Halfe.
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For more information about the newly revamped prize and the Writers' Trust various support programmes for Canadian writers, visit the Writers' Trust of Canada website.