The prestigious Costa Book Prize for Poetry has been scooped-up by a writer from the Scottish Borders.
J.O. Morgan, originally from Edinburgh, took the award for his book-length poem, Assurances about the nuclear tensions of the Cold War period. The book, his fifth, is published by Jonathan Cape. Mr Morgan said that although the work was not based in the Borders, the local landscape had influenced it – as had his father’s time spent in the RAF when he was involved with the maintenance of Britain’s Airborne Nuclear Deterrent. The poet takes home £5000 and is now one of five winning writers who go on to contend for the overall Book of the Year Award announced on 29 January 2019.
The judges said they were “dazzled” by the “originality and inventiveness” of the poem.
J.O. Morgan’s previous publications include Natural Mechanical (2009), shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and winner of the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize; Long Cuts (2011), Shortlisted for the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Award; At Maldon (2013), shortlisted for the Saltire Poetry Award; In Casting Off; and Interference Pattern, shortlisted for the 2016 TS Eliot Prize.