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Reflecting on This Year’s Ivan Juritz Prize

By Imogen Free

Nick Makoha’s ‘A Low-Pressure System’ moves through the past towards mythology; it is a personal journal that resists any fixity, but instead is a series, as Ivan Juritz Prize judge, Will Eaves notes, ‘perpetually in flight’. This retelling of the events related to the Entebbe hijacking in 1976 is paralleled against a series of flights from Nick’s own experience, and despite writing through dramatic historical events, his moving voice can be felt strongly throughout. This became particularly evident when listening to him read from Codex 2 during our prizegiving event at the end of June. Codex 2 is a poem about his father’s personal and political life; reading from it, we saw him half-smile as he came to the last line: ‘I had a small nonspeaking part’.

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