Hackney poet Raymond Antrobus scoops national prize from The Poetry Society

Raymond Antrobus. Picture: Hayley Madden

Raymond Antrobus. Picture: Hayley Madden - Credit: Archant

Hackney poet Raymond Antrobus – deaf from childhood – has picked up The Ted Hughes Prize from The Poetry Society.

During the awards ceremony at Mercers’ Hall, City of London, Antrobus was honoured for his debut collection of 29 poems in The Perseverance, which delve into his personal experience of deafness.

Antrobus – born and bred in Hackney – took home £5,000 for the prize, which is funded by UK poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

He was thought to be dyslexic struggling with severe learning disabilities until six-years-old when he was first diagnosed as deaf.

His critically-acclaimed work drew high praise from the judges, with Clare Shaw highlighting how Antrobus “draws on the raw material of his own identity to tell a universally relevant story”.

The Perseverance won Poetry Book of the Year in The Guardian and The Sunday Times.

Former Hackney’s Wayne Holloway-Smith won The National Poetry Competition at the awards. Having grown up in a working class family, and as a result of what he deems as an often inaccessible industry, Holloway-Smith has used his prize money to pay for 30 entrants’ admission fees from poor backgrounds for next year’s National Poetry Competition.