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John Agard awarded Queen's poetry medal

21st December 2012

Poet John Agard has been named as the recipient of The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry for 2012.

Guyana-born Agard, who writes for both adults and children, was recognised for his most recent work Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems, as well as his book of children's poems, Goldilocks on CCTV.

The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry Medal is awarded for excellence in poetry and was instituted by King George V in 1933. Previous recipients include W. H. Auden, Siegfried Sassoon, Philip Larkin and Derek Walcott.

Agard, who moved to the UK from Guyana in 1977, has produced numerous volumes of prose and verse, winning the Paul Hamlyn Award for Poetry in 1997 and the Cholmondeley Award in 2004.

Recommendations for the prize are put forward by the poet laureate and chosen by a committee.

Current poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy said: 'John Agard has always made people sit up and listen. He has done this with intelligence, humour and generosity. He has the ability to temper anger with wit, and difficult truths with kindness.'

She added: 'In performance he is electrifying - compelling, funny, moving and thought-provoking. His work in education over the years has changed the way that readers, writers and teachers think about poetry.'

Agard, who now lives in Lewes, East Sussex, will be presented with the medal by the Queen next year.

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