The T. S. Eliot Prize 2016



Rachael Boast

Void Studies / Picador

Rachael Boast was born in Suffolk in 1975. Her first collection, Sidereal, was published by Picador in May 2011 and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize. Her second collection, Pilgrim’s Flower (Picador, 2013) was shortlisted for the Griffin Prize. Void Studies, realising a project that Arthur Rimbaud proposed but never got round to writing, was published in 2016 (Picador). Her work has also appeared in several magazines, including Archipelago, Markings and The Yellow Nib. She is the editor of The Echoing Gallery: Bristol Poets and Art in the City (Redcliffe Press) and lives in Bristol.


Vahni Capildeo

Measures of Expatriation / Carcanet

Vahni Capildeo is a Trinidadian British writer whose five books and two pamphlets include Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet, 2016), Simple Complex Shapes (Shearsman, 2015) and Utter (Peepal Tree, 2013). She holds a DPhil in Old Norse and is interested in multilingualism, creative reworkings, and the boundaries between the human and the natural. Her collaborative work on performance and installation includes responses to Euripides’ Bacchae, ‘Radical Shakespeare’, and Martin Carter’s revolutionary writings from Guyana. The Harper-Wood Studentship (St John’s College, Cambridge) supported her travel for research during 2015-16. She was awarded the Forward Prize for Best Collection for Measures of Expatriation in 2016.


Ian Duhig

The Blind Road-Maker / Picador

Ian Duhig worked with homeless people for fifteen years before devoting himself to writing activities full-time. He has won the Forward Best Poem Prize once and the National Poetry Competition twice. Two books with Picador, The Lammas Hireling (2003) and The Speed of Dark (2007), were both PBS Choices and shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, and he has published eight poetry collections in all. His most recent short story appeared in The New Uncanny, winner of the Shirley Jackson Best Anthology Award for 2008, and his most recent musical collaboration, with the Clerks early music consort, on their CD Don’t Talk – just listen! (Signum, 2009). He lives in Leeds.


J O Morgan

Interference Pattern / Cape Poetry

J.O. Morgan lives on a small farm in the Scottish Borders. He is the author of five collections of poetry, each a single book-length poem. His first book, Natural Mechanical (2009), won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and was shortlisted for the Forward First Collection Prize; its sequel, Long Cuts (2012), was shortlisted for a Scottish Book Award. His third book from C B Editions, At Maldon, takes its bearings from the Old English poem ‘The Battle of Maldon’. In 2015, Morgan published In Casting Off (HappenStance Press), a poem-novella about a love story which is set within a remote fishing community. Interference Pattern (Cape) was published in 2016.


Bernard O’Donoghue

The Seasons of Cullen Church / Faber

Bernard O’Donoghue was born in Cullen, Co Cork in 1945, later moving to Manchester. He is an Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College, where he taught Medieval English and Modern Irish Poetry. He has published six collections of poetry, including Gunpowder (Chatto & Windus), winner of the 1995 Whitbread Prize for Poetry, and Farmers Cross (Faber), which was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2011. He has published a verse translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Penguin Classics 2006), and is currently translating Piers Plowman for Faber. The Seasons of Cullen Church (Faber) was published in 2016. He lives in Oxford.


Alice Oswald

Falling Awake / Cape Poetry

Alice Oswald lives in Devon and is married with three children. Her first collection of poetry, The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile (1996), received a Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection. Her collections include Dart, which won the 2002 T. S. Eliot Prize and was a Poetry Book Society Choice, Woods etc. (Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize), A Sleepwalk on the Severn (Hawthornden Prize), Weeds and Wildflowers, illustrated by Jessica Greenman (Ted Hughes Award) and, most recently, Memorial, (the 2013 Warwick Prize for Writing), a reworking of Homer’s Iliad that has received high critical praise for its innovative approach and stunning imagery, all published by Faber. Falling Awake (Cape) was published in 2016.


Jacob Polley

Jackself / Picador

Jacob Polley was born in Carlisle in 1975. He is the author of four poetry collections, The Brink (2003), Little Gods (2006), The Havocs (2012) and Jackself (2016), all published by Picador. He received an Eric Gregory Award in 2002, and both The Brink and The Havocs were shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. In 2004, he was named one of the ‘Next Generation’ of the twenty best new poets in the UK and Ireland. His first novel, Talk of the Town, a demotic and funny coming-of-age murder mystery, won the 2010 Somerset Maugham Award. He now lives in St Andrews and works in Newcastle.


Denise Riley

Say Something Back / Picador

Denise Riley is a critically acclaimed writer of both philosophy and poetry. She edited Poets on Writing: Britain 1970-1991 (1992). Her collections of poetry include Dry Air (Virago 1985); Mop Mop Georgette: New and Selected Poems 1986-1993 (1993); Selected Poems (2000), both Reality Street Editions, and Say Something Back (Picador 2016). She is currently Professor of the History of Ideas and of Poetry at UEA. Her visiting positions have included A.D. White Professor at Cornell University in the US and Visiting Fellow at Birkbeck College in the University of London. She has taught philosophy, art history, poetics, and creative writing. Denise Riley lives in London.


Ruby Robinson

Every Little Sound / Liverpool University Press

Ruby Robinson was born in Manchester in 1985, grew up in Sheffield and Doncaster and now lives in Sheffield. She studied English Literature at the University of East Anglia and has an MA from Sheffield Hallam University where she also won the Ictus Prize for poetry. She says she draws inspiration from writing which takes her ‘somewhere unexpected’. Her poems have appeared in The Poetry Review, Poetry (Chicago) and elsewhere. Every Little Sound (published by Pavilion Poetry, the new imprint from Liverpool University Press) is her first collection and it was shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection at the Forward Prizes 2016.


Katharine Towers

The Remedies / Picador

Katharine Towers was born in London and read Modern Languages at St Hilda’s College, Oxford. Her first collection, The Floating Man (Picador 2010), won the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry, and was shortlisted for both the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and the Ted Hughes Award, as well as being longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. Her second, The Remedies, is also published by Picador. Katharine’s poems have appeared in Guardian, Poetry Review, Poetry London and The North. Katharine is currently Poet in Residence at the Cloud Appreciation Society. She lives in the Peak District with her husband and two daughters.