T. S. Eliot Prize News

CRACK POETS AND VIBRANT NEW VOICES DELIVER COLLECTIONS ‘IMBUED WITH ENERGY AND JOY’ IN DISRUPTIVE T. S. ELIOT PRIZE 2023 SHORTLIST

We are thrilled to announce the T. S. Eliot Prize 2023 shortlist, chosen by judges Paul Muldoon (Chair), Sasha Dugdale and Denise Saul from 186 poetry collections submitted by British and Irish publishers. The list comprises a former winner and two previously shortlisted poets, as well as two debuts and two second collections. Poets hail from the UK, Ireland, Jamaica, Hong Kong and the USA.

Jason Allen-Paisant, Self-Portrait as Othello (Carcanet Press)
Joe Carrick-Varty, More Sky (Carcanet Press)
Jane Clarke, A Change in the Air (Bloodaxe Books)
Kit Fan, The Ink Cloud Reader (Carcanet Press)
Katie Farris, Standing in the Forest of Being Alive
(Pavilion Poetry / Liverpool University Press)
Ishion Hutchinson, School of Instructions (Faber & Faber)
Fran Lock, Hyena! (Poetry Bus Press)
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, The Map of the World (Gallery Press)
Sharon Olds, Balladz (Cape Poetry)
Abigail Parry, I Think We’re Alone Now (Bloodaxe Books)

On behalf of the judges Paul Muldoon said:  

We are confident that all ten shortlisted titles not only meet the high standards they set themselves but speak most effectively to, and of, their moment. If there’s a single word for that moment it is surely ‘disrupted’, and all these poets properly reflect that disruption. Shot through though they are with images of grief, migration, and conflict, they are nonetheless imbued with energy and joy. The names of some poets will be familiar, others less so; all will find a place in your head and heart.

The judges added:

We are aware that two of the titles on the list fall short of the 48 pages required. However, both are fully achieved poetry collections that merit their inclusion on the shortlist.

Katie Farris’s Standing in the Forest of Being Alive and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s The Map of the World were submitted by publishers and put before the judges in error, but when notified of this, the judges declined to exclude them, citing their reason above. 

The T. S. Eliot Prize 2023 Shortlist Readings will take place on Sunday 14 January 2024 at 7pm in the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall as part of its literature programme. This is the largest annual poetry event in the UK. Tickets for the Readings in the Royal Festival Hall will be on sale later this year.

The winner of the 2023 Prize will be announced at the Award Ceremony on Monday 15 January 2024, where the winner and the shortlisted poets will be presented with their cheques. 

The T. S. Eliot Prize, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, is run by The T. S. Eliot Foundation. It is the most valuable prize in British poetry – the winning poet will receive a cheque for £25,000 and the shortlisted poets will be presented with cheques for £1,500. It is the only major poetry prize which is judged purely by established poets. The judging panel is looking for the best new poetry collection written in English and published in the UK or Ireland.

To find out more about our winners and their collections, visit our Shortlist webpage, where you will also find reviews, interviews and Readers’ Notes as we add them. Look out for specially commissioned videos of interviews and poems by all ten shortlisted poets, which will be available to view on the T. S. Eliot Prize YouTube channel, along with past films and recordings.

The weekly T. S. Eliot Prize e-newsletter provides essential background on the shortlisted poets, including links to videos, readers’ notes, reviews and selected poems, which are free to download and share – for your weekly update, please subscribe

Last year’s winner was Anthony Joseph for his collection Sonnets for Albert (Bloomsbury Poetry); the judges were Jean Sprackland (Chair), Hannah Lowe and Roger Robinson.

Image credits, top row, left to right: Abigail Parry (photo © Richard Arnold); Joe Carrick-Varty; Sharon Olds (photo © Hilary Stone); Ishion Hutchinson (photo © Marco Giugliarelli); Fran Lock. Second row, left to right: Katie Farris, photo © Ilya Kaminsky); Jane Clarke (photo © Elementum); Jason Allen-Paisant; Eilean Ni Chuilleanain (photo © Bríd O’Donovan); Kit Fan.

REWARDING POETS, READERS AND AUDIENCES: 30 YEARS OF THE T. S. ELIOT PRIZE

T. S. Eliot Prize winners: (top row, from left) Ocean Vuong, Michael Longley, Carol Ann Duffy, Paul Muldoon, Seamus Heaney, Sarah Howe, Don Paterson; (second row) Bhanu Kapil, Ted Hughes, Sean O’Brien, Sharon Olds, Roger Robinson, Alice Oswald, Philip Gross; (third row) Joelle Taylor, Anthony Joseph, John Burnside, Les Murray, Hannah Sullivan, Jen Hadfield; (fourth row) Mark Doty, Ciaran Carson, Derek Walcott, Jacob Polley, Anne Carson, Hugo Williams, George Szirtes, Sinéad Morrissey, David Harsent.

From gathering a ‘hot and overwrought multitude […] into the dining room of the Chelsea Arts Club’, to staging the UK’s largest annual poetry event, the T. S. Eliot Prize has grown significantly since its inauguration in 1993. It is now widely regarded as the world’s most prestigious prize for poetry, with winners that include Poet Laureates and Nobel Prize winners alongside newly emerging authors. Poets from the UK, Ireland, the US, Canada, Australia and the Caribbean have all featured.

Chris Holifield, whose connection with the Prize spans two decades, chronicles its 30-year history and growth in a new article for the T. S. Eliot Prize website. She charts who won, when and where, spotlighting exciting moments in the Prize’s history (as well as the occasional difficulty to be overcome). A personal highlight for Chris? ‘Visiting Valerie Eliot in the rather grand Kensington flat she had shared with her husband to take copies of the shortlist, and thank her for supporting the Prize’, she writes.

Read Chris Holifield’s history of the T. S. Eliot Prize in full.

YOUNG CRITICS SCHEME 2023: REVIEWERS OF T. S. ELIOT PRIZE SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED

Top row, left to right: Oliver Cooney, Evelyn Byrne, Sinead O’Reilly, Chloe Elliott, Natalie Perman. Bottom row, left to right: Urussa Malik, Daniel Clark, Gabrielle Tse, Godelieve de Bree, Leo Beevers.

The T. S. Eliot Prize and The Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network are delighted to announce the names of the young reviewers who will take part in the Young Critics Scheme 2023.

They are: Oliver Cooney, Evelyn Byrne, Sinead O’Reilly, Chloe Elliott, Natalie Perman, Urussa Malik, Daniel Clark, Gabrielle Tse, Godelieve de Bree and Leo Beevers – congratulations to all of them.

The young critics, who are offered both expert mentoring and workshops to help them develop their skills, will each review one of the ten books on the T.S. Eliot Prize 2023 shortlist announced on 3 October. Their video reviews will be posted to the T. S. Eliot Prize YouTube channel and on social media. The Young Critics receive copies of all the books on the shortlist and are invited to attend the T. S. Eliot Prize Shortlist Readings at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on 14 January 2024.

This is the second year the T. S. Eliot Prize and The Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network have run this partnership project. Michael Sims, Director, T. S. Eliot Prize, said:

I am delighted that the Young Critics Scheme is running for a second year. Last year’s cohort produced astonishingly lively and insightful video reviews of the T. S. Eliot Prize 2022 shortlist, which helped engage a wider audience with the poets and their work. I’m very excited to see and hear how this year’s Young Critics respond to our 2023 shortlist.

You can watch the videos created last year, produced by Aliyah Begum, Eric Yip, Holly Moberly, Noah Jacob, SZ Shao, Lily McDermott, Mukisa Verrall, Davina Bacon and Ruth Awolola, on the T. S. Eliot Prize YouTube channel.

Natalie Perman is a writer and editor. A past Foyle Young Poet, her poems appear in The White Review, The London Magazine and bath magg. An alumna of Genesis Jewish Book Week’s Emerging Writers’ Programme, she is currently working on her debut collection while studying a Master’s in Modern Languages.

Originally from Manchester, Oliver Cooney is a 20-year-old Linguistics student and current president of the Cambridge University Poetry and Prose society. In 2022, his poem ‘Lovely’ was published in the St John’s poetry pamphlet, which he performed alongside other poems at the St John’s donor’s tea and May Ball.

Daniel Clark writes to explore and escape the climate crisis. Nominated for Best Small Fictions and Best Microfiction awards, he performed vegan poetry at COP26 and co-edits Briefly Zine. Originally from West Yorkshire, he now lives in Cambridge.

Chloe Elliott is a writer based in York. She is a winner of the 2022 New Poets Prize for her debut pamphlet Encyclopaedia. In 2020, she won the Gold Creative Future Writers’ Award. Her writing features in Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, bath magg, Magma, The North and Strix amongst others.

Leo Kang lives in West Yorkshire. His poems have been published in Oxford Magazine, Rust and Moth, COUNTERCLOCK, and others. In 2022, he won the Tower Poetry Competition and was a Foyle Young Poet. He is currently studying English at the University of Cambridge.

Urussa Malik is an emerging writer for theatre, film and poetry, poetry critic and translator. She has written reviews for Wasafiri and Modern Poetry in Translation, as well as short plays which have been performed at Oldham Coliseum. She works freelance in the heritage sector and is a trustee for Bradford Producing Hub, an arts funding organisation.

Sinead O’Reilly is studying English and Creative Writing at Queen’s University Belfast. They are a Foyle Young Poet and their work has been included in the Irish Times, Cypher’s Magazine, Impossible Archetype and on RTE’s Sunday Miscellany.

Godelieve de Bree is a Dutch-American writer living in London. She has had her work published by Tate and was a member of the 22/23 Roundhouse Collective. She can be found at @godelievedebree on Twitter.