T. S. Eliot Prize News

T. S. ELIOT PRIZE 2022: RECORD SUBMISSION DELIVERS EXCITING SHORTLIST THAT EXCITES, SURPRISES AND STRIKES TO THE HEART

Judges Jean Sprackland (Chair), Hannah Lowe and Roger Robinson have chosen the 2022 T. S. Eliot Prize shortlist from a record 201 poetry collections submitted by British and Irish publishers. The eclectic list comprises seasoned poets, including one previous winner, and five debut collections.

Victoria Adukwei Bulley – Quiet* (Faber & Faber)
Fiona Benson – Ephemeron (Cape Poetry)
Jemma Borg– Wilder (Pavilion Poetry/Liverpool University Press)
Philip Gross – The Thirteenth Angel (Bloodaxe Books)
Anthony Joseph – Sonnets for Albert (Bloomsbury Poetry)
Zaffar Kunial– England’s Green (Faber & Faber)
Mark Pajak– Slide* (Cape Poetry)
James Conor Patterson– bandit country* (Picador Poetry)
Denise Saul– The Room Between Us* (Pavilion Poetry/Liverpool University Press)
Yomi Ṣode– Manorism* (Penguin Poetry)
     (*debut collections)

Jean Sprackland said:
‘What a joy it’s been for the three of us to have such deep immersion in new poetry,’ Jean Sprackland said. ‘There were a record-breaking 201 entries this year; a reminder that far from being silenced by crisis poets rise to meet it through language.

‘The ten shortlisted books are unflinching in their explorations of love and grief, brutality and desire. They are alive with insects and angels, psychedelic plants and deep-sea fish; and haunted by the ghosts of Caravaggio and Daniel O’Connell. The English of these books is supple and shapeshifting, inflected with Yoruba, Newry street dialect, and the rhythms of Caribbean speech. These are books that thrilled, surprised, and struck us to the heart.’

The T. S. Eliot Prize 2022 Shortlist Readings will take place on Sunday 15 January 2023 at 7pm in the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall as part of its literature programme, and will be hosted by Ian McMillan. This is the largest annual poetry event in the UK. Tickets for the Readings (which are British Sign Language interpreted) and the simultaneously streamed event are now available online from the Southbank Centre box office or phone 020 3879 9555.

The winner of the 2022 Prize will be announced at the Award Ceremony on Monday 16 January 2023, when the winner and the shortlisted poets will be presented with their cheques.

The T. S. Eliot Prize 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.

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 Joelle Taylor for her collection C+nto & Othered Poems (The Westbourne Press); the judges were Glyn Maxwell (Chair), Caroline Bird and Zaffar Kunial.

Image credits (top, l to r): Mark Pajak (photo: Robert Peet); Fiona Benson (photo: Jessica Farmer); Yomi Ṣode (photo: Jolade Olusanya); James Conor Patterson (photo: Aimée Walsh); Victoria Adukwei Bulley (photo: Timothy Pulford-Cutting); (below, l to r): Denise Saul (photo: Karolina Heller); Philip Gross (photo: Stephen Morris); Zaffar Kunial; Jemma Borg (photo: Charlotte Knee); Anthony Joseph (photo: Naomi Woddis)

T. S. ELIOT EVENTS AT CHELTENHAM LITERATURE FESTIVAL 2022

Would you like to be among the first to hear which collections have been shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize 2022? Then join Jean Sprackland, chair of judges, at a free event at this year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival. Jean will announce which ten collections she and her fellow judges have chosen, share the judges’ thoughts on the books and invite your questions. Drop in at The Huddle, Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham, on Thursday 13 October, 3-4pm. For more details, view the Festival free programme.

Also on 13 October, at 7pm, don’t miss a celebratory reading by T. S. Eliot Prizewinner 2021, Joelle Taylor. Joelle will read from her Prize-winning collection, C+nto & Othered Poems, described by 2021 chair Glyn Maxwell as ‘a blazing book of rage and light, a grand opera of liberation’. Ollie O’Neill, former UK Youth Slam Champion and Barbican Young Poet alumni, will be Joelle’s guest reader. Tickets are £10 and can be purchased online.

The following day, in another Cheltenham Literature Festival exclusive, Matthew Hollis, Faber Poetry Editor and author of the forthcoming The Waste Land: A Biography of a Poem, Erica Wagner, critic and author, and Daljit Nagra, twice shortlisted for and a former judge of the T. S. Eliot Prize, will present an expert guide to Eliot’s The Waste Land in its centenary year. See them on Friday 16 October, from 6.15pm, on the Baillie Gifford Stage, Town Hall, Cheltenham; tickets £12 available online.

CALLING YOUNG CRITICS

REVIEWING THE T. S. ELIOT PRIZE 2022 SHORTLIST WITH YOUNG POETS NETWORK

The T. S. Eliot Prize, the UK’s most prestigious poetry prize, and Young Poets Network, The Poetry Society’s leading platform for poets aged up to 25, are delighted to announce an exciting new collaboration to support the next generation of poetry reviewers: the Young Critics Scheme.

The scheme seeks ten budding critics, aged 18-25, based in the UK and Ireland, to review via video, the collections shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize 2022.

The ten successful applicants will attend three online Young Poets Network masterclasses, one of which will be led by acclaimed reviewer, editor and poet, Jen Campbell (pictured, top right), to help them develop their critical skills and create their reviews.

The video reviews will appear on the T. S. Eliot Prize and The Poetry Society’s websites, social media and YouTube channels leading up to the Awards Ceremony in January.

Applications for the Young Critics Scheme are open now and will close on 26 September 2022.

No previous reviewing or poetry writing experience is required. Applications from writers underrepresented in poetry reviewing are encouraged, including those from Black, Asian and other minoritised ethnic backgrounds; d/Deaf and disabled writers; working class writers; and LGBTQ+ writers. Each participant will review one book from this year’s T. S. Eliot Prize shortlist; the shortlisted collections will be announced on 13 October 2022.

The reviewers will each receive copies of the shortlisted collections and two free tickets to the celebrated T. S. Eliot Prize Readings at Southbank Centre, London, on 15 January 2023 (or free access to the livestream if they are unable to attend).

Michael Sims, Director of the T. S. Eliot Prize, said: 

Young Poets Network is a hugely important and innovative online meeting point for any young person with an interest in poetry – to share, to experiment and to expand their knowledge. It attracts large numbers of lively minded readers and writers with its features, challenges, competitions and resources, and we look forward to seeing and hearing how they respond to the T. S. Eliot Prize 2022 shortlist. We are very glad to be extending reviewing culture and opportunities through the Young Critics Scheme.

Judith Palmer, Director of The Poetry Society, said: 

The Poetry Society is delighted to partner with the T. S. Eliot Prize on this innovative new scheme for keen young readers of poetry. We hope this initiative will encourage even more young people to engage critically with the titles on the prize shortlist, and provide opportunities for them to gain in skills and confidence. The Poetry Society is committed to finding new ways to support the development of our next generation of poetry readers, writers and critics. We are excited to hear these new young critics’ responses, which we’re sure will open up new windows to the books on this year’s Eliot Prize shortlist, and introduce an inspiring selection of poets to even more readers.

The judges of the T. S. Eliot Prize 2022 are: Jean Sprackland (chair), Roger Robinson and Hannah Lowe. Look out for the announcement of their chosen shortlist on Thursday 13 October 2022. The T. S. Eliot Prize Shortlist Readings will be held on Sunday 15 January 2023 at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall (tickets will go on sale from mid September) and the winner will be announced at the Award Ceremony on Monday 16 January 2023. The T. S. Eliot Prize continues to be 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.