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Former Warwick student wins £15,000 fellowship for poetry

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Former University of Warwick student Jane Commane has been awarded a £15,000 poetry fellowship for her work in literature.

Ms Commane, originally from Warwickshire and now based in Coventry, graduated from Warwick with both Bachelor and Masters degrees from the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies. Besides the fellowship, she has also won a Sabotage award for innovative publishing and edits Nine Arches Press and Under The Radar magazine.

Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Arts Council England, who presented the award, praised her as “a creative and ambitious poet.” The fellowship award aims to create an opportunity for poets to make a real impact in the sector and provides winners with access to mentors and critical peers to help develop and enhance their work.

Her work was judged by Warwick Caribbean studies professor David Dabydeen as well as poets Kate Fox and Mimi Khalvatipraised, who praised the winner’s interrogation of the complexities of class, ideas of place and identity intended to make sense of the current troubled climate of austerity Britain.

Ms Commane commented: “The fellowship is permission to take your work seriously, by gifting the time and resources to make that concentration on the quiet work – the craft of poetry – possible.

“Poetry has a really important role in how we respond to and interpret the world about us. There’s no doubt we’re living in strange and challenging times as a country, and as a world. I will be thinking and writing about poetry’s role in terms of history in the making, and how poetry can be a voice for change, documentation and response to our age.

“People and place mean a great deal to me, so no doubt the Midlands, and canals, rivers, cities and roads will be themes that find their way into some of this too.”

Jerwood Charitable Foundation director Shonagh Manson added: “As a panel, we were taken aback by the quality of submissions, and humbled by the sheer vivacity of the poetry community. It’s a community of self-starters who are making their own opportunities where often there are none.”

“I am proud that we have been able to award three inaugural bursaries with substantial financial support. Through the programme I hope we can inspire further support for this crucial and often under-supported art form.”

The fellowship is set to start this August.

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