At last night's Forward Prize 2014, poet Liz Berry won the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection. We had expected the news. Her debut, Black Country about place, childhood and flight soars with promise. For Liz, though, who says she wanted to tell a story about the Black Country, the place where I grew up and where my family lives, the win was a wonderful surprise. Describing the collection as a love letter to the Black Country, Liz says, I wanted to write poems which uncovered the magic beneath its grit and to reclaim its beautiful (though sadly often much maligned) dialect as the stuff of poetry. In this, she excelled, as you can hear in her spellbinding reading of 'Birmingham Roller', above.
Our thanks to Sasha Hoare, Toni Busque and Chris Meade, who created this film for Arvon. Liz Berry is an alumnus of the Jerwood/Arvon mentoring scheme.