The chair of this year’s jury, Peter Frankopan, interviews the winner of the 2020 Ondaatje prize.
Roger Robinson is a writer and educator who has taught and performed worldwide and is an experienced workshop leader and lecturer on poetry. He was chosen by Decibel as one of 50 writers who have influenced the black-British writing canon. He received commissions from The National Trust, London Open House, BBC, The National Portrait Gallery, V&A, INIVA, MK Gallery and Theatre Royal Stratford East where he also was associate artist. He is an alumni of The Complete Works. His workshops have been part of a shortlist for the Gulbenkian Prize for Museums and Galleries and were also a part of the Webby Award winning Barbican’s Can I Have A Word. He is the winner of the 2019 TS Eliot Prize and his latest collection ‘A Portable Paradise’ was selected as a New Statesman book of the year. He was shortlisted for The OCM Bocas Poetry Prize, The Oxford Brookes Poetry Prize and highly commended by the Forward Poetry Prize 2013. He has toured extensively with the British Council and is a co-founder of both Spoke Lab and the international writing collective Malika’s Kitchen. He is the lead vocalist and lyricist for King Midas Sound and has also recorded solo albums with Jahtari Records.
The shortlist was:
Jay Bernard – Surge (Chatto & Windus)
Tishani Doshi – Small Days and Nights (Bloomsbury Circus)
Robert Macfarlane – Underland (Hamish Hamilton)
Roger Robinson – A Portable Paradise (Peepal Tree Press)
Elif Shafak – 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking)
Jumoke Verissimo – A Small Silence (Cassava Republic)