Judges John Burnside (Chair), Sarah Howe and Nick Makoha have chosen the 2019 T. S. Eliot Prize shortlist from 158 poetry collections submitted by British and Irish publishers. Featuring new voices and veteran poets, and covering an extraordinary range of themes, the shortlist comprises five men, four women and one trans non binary; one American, one Russian-American and one Canadian, as well as poets of Trinidadian, Cypriot and Sri Lankan extraction.


Anthony Anaxagorou        After the Formalities                                            Penned in the Margins

Fiona Benson                    Vertigo & Ghost                                                      Cape Poetry

Jay Bernard                      Surge                                                                         Chatto & Windus

Paul Farley                       The Mizzy                                                                 Picador

Ilya Kaminsky                 Deaf Republic                                                          Faber & Faber

Sharon Olds                    Arias                                                                         Cape Poetry

Vidyan Ravinthiran      The Million-Petalled Flower of Being Here      Bloodaxe

Deryn Rees-Jones        Erato                                                                          Seren

Roger Robinson           A Portable Paradise                                                Peepal Tree Press

Karen Solie                   The Caiplie Caves                                                     Picador

For more information on the poets shortlisted, see our shortlist page.

John Burnside said:

“In an excellent year for poetry, the judges read over 150 collections from every corner of these islands, and beyond… Each had its own vital energy, its own argument to make, its own celebration or requiem to offer, and we knew that settling upon ten from so many fine books would be difficult. Nevertheless, as our deliberations progressed, the same titles kept coming to the fore, culminating in a list that brings together work by some of the finest and most fearless poets working today.”

The T. S. Eliot Prize Shortlist Readings will take place on Sunday 12th January 2020 in Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall as part of its literature programme. 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 0203 879 9555 or via www.southbankcentre.co.uk/literature. For press tickets please email press@southbankcentre.co.uk.

The T. S. Eliot Prize is run by The T. S. Eliot Foundation. The T. S. Eliot Prize 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 winner of the 2019 Prize will be announced at the Award Ceremony on Monday 13th January 2020, where the winner and the shortlisted poets will be presented with their cheques.

The weekly T. S. Eliot Prize newsletter will provide essential background on the shortlisted poets, including links to specially-commissioned new videos, readers’ notes and reviews. To subscribe go to: tseliot.com/prize/subscribe-to-the-t-s-eliot-prize-newsletter/.

Last year’s winner was Hannah Sullivan’s Three Poems and the judges were Sinéad Morrisssey (chair), Daljit Nagra and Clare Pollard.