Forward Prizes for Poetry 2015

Posted: 30th September 2015

Congratulations to Mona Arshi


On Monday 28th September 2015, Mrs Raffray, Headteacher, Mrs Farmer, Head of English, Mrs Tippen, Deputy Head, Juniors and Mrs Donovan, P.A. to Mrs Raffray, enjoyed a wonderful evening on the South Bank when they attended the Forward Arts Foundation Prizes for Poetry awards at the Royal Festival Hall.  Mrs Donovan writes about their experience:

‘In front row seats our group first enjoyed a performance by Cerys Matthews, the Welsh singer/songwriter who set the mood for the evening ahead.  The awards comprised three categories:  Best Collection, Best First Collection and Best Single Poem.  We were present in support of poet Mona Arshi, mother of two girls at St Augustine’s Priory, who had been shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection, ‘Small Hands’, published by Liverpool University Press.  Newcomers are recognised amongst established poets and alumni include Seamus Heaney and Carol Ann Duffy.


Emma Harding from BBC Radio Drama and Features Producer introduced the poets throughout the evening and very much kept everything on track with her knowledge and repartee!

Mona Arshi’s reading of her poem ‘The Daughters’ was very well received by the audience who very much appreciated her insightful wit! There were five poets nominated in the Best First Collection category who were all of an extremely high standard. We thoroughly enjoyed all the poetry we heard and the varying subject matter ranged from Masculinity to Loss.

Imagine our delight as one of the judges talked through every poem read in the Best First Collection category and then – great news – announced Mona Arshi as the winner.  Ms Arshi’s children and family applauded and whooped and I must say the representatives from St Augustine’s Priory, both parents and staff, may have wiped away the odd tear.

Congratulations to Mona Arshi, what a wonderful way to spend an evening.’

If you would like to explore Mona Arshi’s poetry further, please go to to see Mona Arshi’s poem, The Minister of Light, beautifully performed by St Augustine’s Priory pupils for National Poetry Day on 8th October.

Ms Arshi’s debut poetry collection ‘Small Hands’ is now available to order at


Categories: Whole School