The T. S. Eliot Prize 2021

This Year's Judges


Glyn Maxwell (Chair)

Glyn Maxwell was born in England to Welsh parents and now lives in London. He has won several awards for his many poetry collections, including the Somerset Maugham Prize, the E. M. Forster Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. His work has been shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize (three times), Forward and Whitbread Prizes. His collections include Pluto (2013); One Thousand Nights and Counting: Selected Poems (2011); Hide Now (2008); The Nerve (2002) and How the hell are you (Picador 2021), which was shortlisted for the 2021 T. S. Eliot Prize. Many of his plays have been staged in the UK and USA, He recently published On Poetry, a general reader’s guide to the craft.


Caroline Bird

Caroline Bird was born in 1986 and grew up in Leeds before moving to London in 2001. She won an Eric Gregory Award (2002) and the Foyle Young Poet of the Year award in 1999 and 2000. Caroline has had six collections of poetry published by Carcanet. Looking Through Letterboxes (published in 2002 when she was only 15), Trouble Came to the Turnip (2006), Watering Can (2009), The Hat-Stand Union, In These Days of Prohibition (2017), which was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Ted Hughes Award,  and The Air Year, which was shortlisted for the Costa Prize and won the 2020 Forward Prize. She was one of the five official poets at the 2012 London Olympics. Several of her plays have been staged.


Zaffar Kunial

Zaffar Kunial was born in Birmingham and lives in Hebden Bridge. His first full collection, Us, published by Faber & Faber in 2018, was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, the Costa Poetry Award, the Roehampton Poetry Prize, the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize, the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Portico Prize. In the following year a pamphlet, Six, was published, also with Faber. He gave his first public reading, of ‘Hill Speak’, at the 2011 National Poetry Competition awards and won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2015. He has been the Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow in Poetry at Leeds University and has held residencies including at the Wordsworth Trust and The Oval. A long essay, ‘Laburnum Time’, was in Arboreal: A Collection of Words from the Woods (Little Toller, 2016).