Since Ledbury Poetry Critics launched its first year-long intensive mentorship programme in 2017 recruiting and mentoring 12 critics of colour, it has been responsible for increasing the visibility of poets and critics of colour. The programme was founded by Sandeep Parmar and Sarah Howe with support from Ledbury Poetry Festival. They have now been joined by co-organisers Vidyan Ravinthiran, Janine Bradbury and Alycia Pirmohamed. Dave Coates will continue his invaluable statistical work for Ledbury Critics in 2021.
Its latest annual report, released in June 2020, found that since the Ledbury Poetry Critics programme was founded, the percentage of poetry criticism by reviewers of colour in the UK press had more than doubled. Graduates of the programme are now be found in positions of influence across the UK media, whilst Ledbury Critic Mary Jean Chan became first ever poet of colour to win the Costa Prize for Poetry in 2020.
The Ledbury Poetry Critics programme has now been awarded funding by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to expand as they set a long-term goal that more critics of colour should publish reviews and take up editorial positions—a professional level that remains overwhelmingly white.
The expanded network of critics will participate via a series of free public panel events, workshops and masterclasses in 2021. These will be hosted by Ledbury Poetry Critics partner organisations: the London Review of Books, the Royal Society of Literature, the Scottish BAME Writers Network, the Forward Arts Foundation, Spread the Word, Poetry Ireland and Literature Wales.
In addition, an accessible and protected database of the findings taken from the report will be made publically available to readers, critics and researchers of UK poetry culture.
Applications open on the 15th February and close on the 15th March 2021 and should be made to Sandeep Parmar Sandeep.firstname.lastname@example.org
To apply, please include
– A covering letter of up to 500 words expressing your interest and any experience in poetry reviewing. In this letter, please outline why you feel you would benefit from participating in Ledbury Poetry Critics
– A brief sample review of a recent poetry collection, pamphlet or live poetry performance (by any contemporary poet) of up to 800 words. This review may be published or unpublished.
15 March 2021 12:00 am