The T. S. Eliot Prize 2019



Anthony Anaxagorou

After the Formalities / Penned in the Margins

Anthony Anaxagorou is a British-born Cypriot poet, fiction writer, essayist, publisher and poetry educator. His poetry and fiction have appeared on BBC Newsnight, BBC Radio 4, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky Arts, and have been published in POETRY, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, Granta, The Rialto, Oxford Poetry and The Feminist Review. In 2019 he was made an honorary fellow of the University of Roehampton. He has toured extensively in Europe and Australia. Anthony is artistic director of Out-Spoken, a poetry and live music night in London, and publisher of Out-Spoken Press. After the Formalities is his breakthrough poetry collection.



Fiona Benson

Vertigo and Ghost / Cape Poetry

Fiona Benson received her PhD from St Andrews’ University. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2006 and a Faber New Poets Award in 2009. Her first collection, Bright Travellers (Cape 2015), was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. It won the 2015 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and the 2015 Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize for First Full Collection. Fiona lives in Mid Devon with her husband and their two daughters. Vertigo & Ghost (Cape) is her second collection.

Photo © Gareth Franklin


Jay Bernard

Surge / Chatto & Windus

Jay Bernard is the author of the pamphlets Your Sign is Cuckoo, Girl (both Tall Lighthouse, 2008), English Breakfast (Math Paper Press, 2013) and The Red and Yellow Nothing (Ink Sweat & Tears Press, 2016). A film programmer at BFI Flare and an archivist at Statewatch, they also participated in ‘The Complete Works II’ project in 2014, in which they were mentored by Kei Miller. Jay was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2005 and a winner of SLAMbassadors UK spoken word championship. Surge is their debut collection and won the 2017 Ted Hughes Award with Surge: Side A.

Photo © Joshua Virasami


Paul Farley

The Mizzy / Picador

Paul Farley was born in Liverpool in 1965 and studied at the Chelsea School of Art. He has published five collections of poetry with Picador, The Boy from the Chemist is Here to See You (1998), which won the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection, The Ice Age (2002), which was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, and won the Whitbread Poetry Award, Tramp in Flames (2006), The Atlantic Tunnel: Selected Poems (2010) and The Dark Film (2012). He was named as a Next Generation Poet in 2004. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Lancaster University.

Photo © Jennifer Kuhfeld


Ilya Kaminsky

Deaf Republic / Faber

Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, in the former Soviet Union, and now lives in the US. Deaf Republic is his first poetry collection to be published in the UK.  He is the author of two previous collections published in the US, Musica Humana (Chapiteau Press, 2002) and Dancing in Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004). He is also co-editor of The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry. He has received a Whiting Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was named a finalist for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages.

Photo © Cybele Knowles


Sharon Olds

Arias / Cape Poetry

Sharon Olds was born in San Francisco, educated at Stanford and Columbia universities, and has lived for many years in New York City. Her thirteen poetry collections include Satan Says (1980), The Dead & the Living (1984), which received the Lamont Poetry Selection and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and One Secret Thing (2008). Her books have won many awards over the years. Her collection Stag’s Leap (Cape 2013) won the T.S. Eliot Prize and the 2013 Pulitzer Prize. In 2016 she won the Wallace Stevens award for her ‘outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry’.

Photo © Brett Hall Jones

Vidyan Ravinthiran

The Million-Petalled Flower of Being Here / Bloodaxe

Vidyan Ravinthiran was born in Leeds to Sri Lankan Tamils. He is the author of Elizabeth Bishop’s Prosaic (Bucknell, 2015), His first book of poems, Grun-tu-molani (Bloodaxe, 2014), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize and the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize. His second, The Million-petalled Flower of Being Here (Bloodaxe 2019) won a Northern Writers Award and a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and is shortlisted for both the 2019 T. S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Collection. He is moving to the US in January 2020 to teach at Harvard.

Photo © Jenny Holden


Deryn Rees-Jones

Erato / Seren

Deryn Rees-Jones was born in Liverpool with family links to North Wales. Her poetry collections (all Seren) are The Memory Tray (1995), Signs Round a Dead Body (1998), Quiver (2004) and Burying the Wren (2012), which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. Consorting with Angels, on 20th century women’s poetry, was published alongside Modern Women Poets (both Bloodaxe, 2005). In 2004 Deryn was chosen as one of the Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation poets. She is Professor of Poetry at the University of Liverpool, and is the editor of the new Pavilion Poetry series for Liverpool University Press.


Roger Robinson

A Portable Paradise / Peepal Tree Press

Roger Robinson is a writer and performer who lives between London and Trinidad. He has published two poetry pamphlets with flipped eye, Suitcase (2004) and Suckle (2009), which won the People’s Book Prize and the Oxford Brookes Poetry Prize. His first full poetry collection, The Butterfly Hotel (2013), was shortlisted for The OCM Bocas Poetry Prize and his second is A Portable Paradise (2019), both Peepal Tree Press. He is an alumni of The Complete Works and was a co-founder of both Spoke Lab and the international writing collective Malika’s Kitchen. He is the lead vocalist and lyricist for King Midas Sound.


Karen Solie

The Caiplie Caves / Picador

Karen Solie was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. She is the author of six collections of poems including Short Haul Engine, Modern & Normal, Pigeon, which won the Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize, The Road In Is not the Same Road Out and The Living Option: Selected Poems (2013). She was International Writer-in-Residence at the University of St Andrews in 2011, and is an Associate Director for the Banff Centre’s Writing Studio program. Her first UK collection, The Living Option: Selected Poems, was published by Bloodaxe in 2013 and her second is The Caiplie Caves (Picador 2019). She lives in Toronto, but is currently teaching at the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University.