The T. S. Eliot Prize 2018



Ailbhe Darcy

Insistence / Bloodaxe

Ailbhe Darcy was born in Dublin in 1981 and grew up there before studying at the University of Notre Dame in the US, and teaching there and at the University of Münster in Germany. Her work was included in the Bloodaxe anthologies Identity Parade and Voice Recognition, and in her pamphlet A Fictional Dress (tall-lighthouse, 2009). Imaginary Menagerie (Bloodaxe Books, 2011), her first book-length collection, was shortlisted for Ireland’s dlr Strong Award at Poetry Now / Mountains to Sea. Her second collection, Insistence, was published by Bloodaxe in 2018. She lectures in Creative Writing at Cardiff University.


Terrance Hayes

American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassins / Penguin

Terrance Hayes is the author of Lighthead, winner of the 2010 National Book Award and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books are Wind in a Box, Hip Logic and Muscular Music. How To Be Drawn, his most recent collection of poems, was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award. American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin was published in 2018 by Penguin. He is co-director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics and a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, and also poetry editor at The New York Times Magazine.


Zaffar Kunial

Us / Faber

Zaffar Kunial was born in Birmingham to an English mother and a Kashmiri father. He now lives in Hebden Bridge. In 2014 he was the Wordsworth Trust Poet-in-Residence and published a pamphlet in the Faber New Poets series. Since his first public reading, of ‘Hill Speak’ at the 2011 National Poetry Competition awards, he has spoken at various literature festivals and in programmes for BBC radio, and won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for his poem ‘The Word’. He was Poet-in-Residence at the 2018 Ledbury Poetry Festival. Us (Faber, 2018) is his first collection.


Nick Laird

Feel Free / Faber

Born in County Tyrone in 1975, Nick Laird studied English at the University of Cambridge. He is a poet, novelist, screenwriter, and former lawyer. His poetry collections (all Faber) are To a Fault, which won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, On Purpose, which won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and Somerset Maugham Prize, Go Giants and Feel Free. His has published three novels, Utterly MonkeyGlover’s Mistake and Modern Gods. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he co-edited the poetry anthology The Zoo of the New with Don Paterson, and is currently a Writer-in-Residence at New York University.


Fiona Moore

The Distal Point / HappenStance

Fiona Moore lives in Greenwich, London. In 2004 she left her career in the Foreign Office to write and work part-time for a sustainable development NGO. She reviews poetry, was an assistant editor at The Rialto and is currently on the editorial board of Magma. The first of her two HappenStance pamphlets, The Only Reason for Time, was a Guardian poetry book of the year and the second, Night Letter, was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets. The Distal Point (HappenStance 2018) is her first collection. It is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Autumn 2018.


Sean O'Brien

Europa / Picador

Sean O’Brien was born in London in 1952 but grew up in Hull and now lives in Newcastle. His nine poetry collections include The Indoor Park, The Frighteners (both Bloodaxe) and HMS Glasshouse and Ghost Train (both OUP). With Downriver (2001) he then moved to Picador for his subsequent collections. The Drowned Book (2007) won the T S Eliot Prize and the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection for the third time.  November (2011) was shortlisted for both the T S Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Collection. His Collected Poems appeared in 2012. The Beautiful Librarians (2015), was a Poetry Book Society Choice. Europa is his ninth collection. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.


Phoebe Power

Shrines of Upper Austria / Carcanet

Phoebe Power was a winner of the Foyle Young Poets in 2009, received an Eric Gregory Award in 2012 and a Northern Writers’ Award in 2014. Her debut collection, Shrines of Upper Austria, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and received the 2018 Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Her poems have been published in journals and anthologies including The Rialto, Oxford Poetry and The White Review. She has recently collaborated with other artists on projects including a live performance of her pamphlet Harp Duet (Eyewear, 2016), and Christl, a video installation involving poetry, visual art and sound. She currently lives in York.


Richard Scott

Soho / Faber

Richard Scott was born in Wimbledon in 1981 and grew up in London. He studied to be an opera singer at the Royal College of Music and later at Goldsmiths College. He has been a winner of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, a Jerwood/Arvon Poetry mentee, a member of the Aldeburgh 8 and an Open Spaces artist resident at Snape Maltings in Suffolk. His pamphlet Wound (Rialto) won the Michael Marks Poetry Award in 2016 and his poem ‘crocodile’ won the 2017 Poetry London Competition. Soho (Faber 2018) is his first collection.


Tracy K. Smith

Wade in the Water / Penguin

Tracy K. Smith was born in Massachusetts and raised in northern California. She earned a BA from Harvard University and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. Her four poetry collections are The Body’s Question (2003), Duende (2007), Life on Mars (2011) and Wade in the Water (Penguin 2018). She won the Pulitzer Prize for Life on Mars. She is also the author of a memoir, Ordinary Light, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. In 2017 she was named Poet Laureate of the United States. She teaches creative writing at Princeton University.


Hannah Sullivan

Three Poems / Faber

Hannah Sullivan was born in 1979 and grew up in Ealing, in West London. She studied Classics at Cambridge, received her PhD in English from Harvard in 2008, and taught as an Assistant Professor at Stanford. Her study The Work of Revision, which examined how modernist approaches to rewriting shaped literary style, was published in 2013 and awarded the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize by the British Academy. Three Poems (Faber, 2018) is her first poetry collection. She is an Associate Professor of English at New College, Oxford and lives in London with her husband and two sons.