T. S. Eliot Prize News

John Field Reviews the 2016 T. S. Eliot Prize Shortlist

1 Rachael Boast – Void Studies

For the 2016 Prize, we’ve asked poetry blogger John Field to review the shortlisted titles again.

John concludes that ‘Reading Boast’s Void Studies is a sensual, sensory joy. Like music, it has a simultaneity of effect and presents memory and desire with intoxicating immediacy and authenticity.’

Reading Rachael Boast’s Void Studies is an intense, rewarding experience.  It’s best tackled in a few bursts – or even in a single reading – to best savour the restricted palette. To enjoy the connections between her archetypal images, it’s helpful to feel the musically rhythmic thrum of her images – doors, keys, moon and river – as they pulse from poem to poem.

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Stunning 2016 T. S. Eliot Prize shortlist announced

Exciting newcomers and established poets deliver thrilling shortlist for 2016 T. S. Eliot Prize

The T. S. Eliot Prize is delighted to announce the 2016 shortlist.

Judges Ruth Padel (Chair), Julia Copus and Alan Gillis have chosen the shortlist from 138 books submitted by publishers:

Rachael Boast Void Studies / Picador
Vahni Capildeo Measures of Expatriation / Carcanet
Ian Duhig The Blind Road-Maker / Picador
J. O. Morgan Interference Pattern / Cape Poetry
Bernard O’Donoghue The Seasons of Cullen Church / Faber
Alice Oswald Falling Awake / Cape Poetry
Jacob Polley Jackself / Picador
Denise Riley Say Something Back / Picador
Ruby Robinson Every Little Sound / Liverpool University Press
Katharine Towers The Remedies / Picador

Chair Ruth Padel said:

One hallmark of poetry today is its variety. We read 138 collections, were blown away by the brilliance and freshness we found, and applaud the contribution of new and independent poetry publishers. There were many more outstanding books from small presses than we were able to accommodate in our final shortlist. We were looking for musicality, originality, energy and craft, and we believe the shortlist reflects this in a wonderful range of important and lasting voices.’

The T. S. Eliot Foundation has taken over the running of the T. S. Eliot Prize following the closing of the Poetry Book Society, the charity which established the Prize in 1993 and ran it for 23 years.

The T. S. Eliot Foundation will give the prize money and be the sole supporter of the Prize. This is the richest prize in British poetry, with the winning poet receiving a cheque for £20,000 and the shortlisted poets each receiving £1,500.

The T. S. Eliot Prize Shortlist Readings will take place on Sunday 15 January 2017 in Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. The shortlist readings are the largest annual poetry event in the UK and will be hosted once again by Ian McMillan. Tickets are now on sale from Southbank Centre’s ticket office on 0844 847 9910 or via http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/literature. For press tickets please contact Naomi French on 02079 210678 or email

The winner of the 2016 Prize will be announced at the Award Ceremony on Monday 16 January 2017, where the winning poet and the shortlisted poets will be presented with their cheques. This continues the tradition started by Mrs Valerie Eliot, who provided the prize money from the inception of the Prize.

Last year’s winner was Sarah Howe for her collection Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus). The judges were Pascale Petit (Chair), Kei Miller and Ahren Warner.

The T. S. Eliot Prize web pages are at http://tseliot.com/foundation/prize/2016-shortlist/, where you can sign up for the weekly T. S. Eliot Prize newsletter.

Download the press release