Yousif M. Qasmiyeh’s collection Highly Commended by The Forward Prizes

Writing the Camp is a collection by our Baddawi Lab collaborator, Yousif M Qasmiyeh.

The poetry collection has been Highly Commended by The Forward Prizes.

The Forward Prizes for Poetry are the most widely coveted awards for new poetry published in the UK and Ireland. The annual ceremony brings poetry’s biggest names to perform alongside rising talent before diverse and enthusiastic audiences. The Prizes, run by the Forward Arts Foundation since 1992, are sponsored by Bookmark Content. There are three categories: the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection and the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. Poems from the shortlisted and highly commended books are published in the annual Forward Book of Poetry creating an invaluable overview for poetry lovers and a perfect introduction for new poetry readers. Notable alumni include Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes and Claudia Rankine, while Simon Armitage, Jackie Kay, Carol Ann Duffy and Daljit Nagra are among those boosted by early career Forward recognition.

It is an exceptional, essential collection drawn from the poet’s experience of the Baddawi refugee camp in Lebanon. The poetry moves beyond the observational into a philosophical meditation on the existential nature of place. Qasmiyeh asks “Where is time?”, crossing footprints of Derrida, “To experience is to advance by navigating, to walk by traversing”. Writing The Camp is a brave and beautiful work, one which will surely be of historical importance.