Wednesday 18 December 2019


Jamaican poet Lorna Goodison has been announced as the 2019 recipient of The Queen's Award for Poetry.

According to information from the British Royal Family’s official site, the Poetry Medal Committee recommended Goodison on the basis of her body of work.

Lorna Goodison at a conference. (Photo: McKenzie)
Goodison is currently Jamaica’s Poet Laureate, and during her 30-year career she has published 13 collections of poetry, as well as a selection of short stories.

The gold medal will be presented by the Queen in an audience at Buckingham Palace in 2020, the site said.

“As Jamaica’s current Poet Laureate, and through the many literary honours she has received, Lorna Goodison has come to be recognised as a hugely significant and influential contemporary author both at home and internationally,” read the award citation.

“Through poems rooted in her Caribbean heritage and upbringing she has created a body of enchanting, intelligent and socially aware poetry in the authentic registers of her own tongue,” it added.

The site quoted Goodison as saying of the award: “I am honoured and deeply grateful. As one of a generation of Commonwealth writers whose engagement with poetry began with a need to write ourselves and our people into English Literature, I feel blessed. And as a Jamaican poet who has always felt that my ancestors too are deserving of odes and praise songs, and who did not see them in what I was given to read, I am glad that I set out to write these poems.”

The Poetry Medal Committee is chaired by the United Kingdom’s Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, who received The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry for 2018.

The Gold Medal for Poetry was established by King George V in 1933 at the suggestion of the then Poet Laureate, John Masefield. It is awarded for excellence in poetry and the recipient chosen each year is from the UK or from a Commonwealth country.