British-Ghanaian poet Victoria Adukwei Bulley has won the 2023 Rathbones Folio Prize in the Poetry category for her debut poetry collection Quiet.
The Rathbones Folio Prize is a prestigious prize awarded for literary excellence. It is the only international, English-language award nominated by an academy of writers. This year, the prize changed its structure to open up the award to three different categories: Non-Fiction, Fiction and Poetry. This has been done to “address the changing landscape of literary prizes, spotlight more authors, and offer readers and retailers a clearer, broader range of recommendations.”
American writer Margo Jefferson won the Rathbones Folio Prize in the Non-Fiction category for Constructing a Nervous System and received the overall Book of the Year award along with a £30,000 prize fund. Sri Lankan novelist Michelle de Kretser won the Fiction category for Scary Monsters. The three category winners received £2,000 each.
Bulley emerged the winner in the Poetry category of the Rathbones Folio Prize, overtaking other renowned poets such as Fiona Benson, Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa, Zaffar Kunial, and Yomi Ṣode.
The winners were announced at an award ceremony at the British Library. The judges included Ali Smith, Jackie Kay, and Guy Gunaratne. The judges were awed by poet Bulley’s work and remarked:
[Quiet is] a quiet revolution of a book – subtle, supple and serious, these poems look for a language, a language that can be shared, that embraces the inner and the outer worlds. Tender and true, complex and profound, Quiet is a beautiful balancing act of a book – a debut that brings Adukwei Bulley fully-formed, starting something!
Victoria Adukwei Bulley is a British-Ghanaian poet, writer and artist. Her 2022 debut collection Quiet was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. She received a Techne scholarship for doctoral research at Royal Holloway, University of London. She was also shortlisted for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize in 2016 and received an Eric Gregory Award for her pamphlet Girl B, published as part of the New Generation African Poets series in 2017.
Congrats to Bulley on the much-deserved win!