The Michael Marks Awards are now in their seventh year, and in 2015 a new ‘Best Illustration’ prize was awarded which was won by Mat Osmond, Senior Lecturer on MA Illustration at Falmouth. Speaking about the new Illustration prize, Wordsworth Trust Director Michael McGregor says “This year for the first time we are delighted to announce an additional award for illustration, promoting the poetry pamphlet as an object of visual as well as of poetic beauty”. The new award ‘recognises outstanding illustration of a poetry pamphlet published between July 2014 and June 2015’. The judge, Nicholas Penny, was asked to ‘consider illustration in any medium and look for a subtle and sustained relationship between image and text, as well as the overall quality of the images’.
The Awards have been presented by The Wordsworth Trust and the British Library, with the support of the Michael Marks Charitable Trust. They have established themselves as one of the most significant awards in contemporary poetry, designed to raise the profile of poetry pamphlets, recognising the enormous contribution that they make to the poetry world.
Illustration Award Judge, Nicholas Penny (Director of the National Gallery, London from 2008 – 2015), wrote the following piece on Mat’s award winning pamphlet:
“Mat Osmond’s pamphlet Deadman and Hare:part 1, Fly Sings, published by Strandline Books, designed by Pirrip Press, is illustrated in an elegant but economic manner with black and white images which are sometimes miniature and specific and sometimes mysteriously abstract. They provide a sort of pictorial punctuation, cunningly placed and spaced, between and beneath the lines -thus, one cannot miss them or think of the poetry without them.”
The winners were announced at a special dinner at the British Library attended by an invited audience of poets, publishers, critics and supporters of poetry on the evening of Tuesday 24 November 2015. The winner of the Poetry Pamphlet Award was ‘The First Telling’ by Gill McEvoy and the Publisher’s Award was won by Edinburgh based Mariscat Press.