The T. S. Eliot Prize 2021



Raymond Antrobus

All the Names Given / Picador

Raymond Antrobus was born in London, Hackney to an English mother and Jamaican father. He is the author of To Sweeten Bitter and The Perseverance (both Penned in the Margins/Tin House) and All the Names Given (Picador, 2021). In 2019 he became the first ever poet to be awarded the Rathbone Folio Prize for best work of literature in any genre. Other accolades include the Ted Hughes award, PBS Winter Choice, A Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award and the Guardian Poetry Book of the Year 2018, as well as being shortlisted for the Griffin Prize and the Forward Prize. In 2018 he was awarded the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize, (judged by Ocean Vuong), for his poem ‘Sound Machine’. His poems (‘Jamaican British’, ‘The Perseverance’ and ‘Happy Birthday Moon’ were added to the GCSE syllabus in 2019.


Kayo Chingonyi

A Blood Condition / Chatto & Windus

Kayo Chingonyi was born in Zambia in 1987 and moved to the UK at the age of six. He is the author of two pamphlets and a fellow of the Complete Works programme. In 2012 he was awarded a Geoffrey Dearmer Prize and was Associate Poet at the ICA in 2015. His first full-length collection, Kumukanda, (Chatto & Windus, 2012) won the Dylan Thomas Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Prize. It was also shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre First Poetry Collection Prize and the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. Kayo was a Burgess Fellow at the Centre for New Writing, University of Manchester, before joining Durham University as Assistant Professor of Creative Writing. His most recent collection is A Blood Condition (Chatto & Windus, 2021).


Selima Hill

Men Who Feed Pigeons / Bloodaxe Books

Born in Hampstead in 1945 into a family of painters, Selima Hill now lives on the Dorset coast. A prodigiously prolific poet, her first collection, Saying Hello at the Station, was published in 1984 and she has since produced nineteen further collections (including two Selected Poems), most published by Bloodaxe.  Her 1997 collection, Violet, was shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize, the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Poetry Award. Bunny (2001), a series of poems about a young girl growing up in the 1950s, won the Whitbread Poetry Award, was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. Most recently Jutland (2015) was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. Her new collection, Men Who Feed Pigeons, was published by Bloodaxe in 2021 and shortlisted for both the Forward and T. S. Eliot Prizes.


Victoria Kennefick

Eat or We Both Starve / Carcanet

Victoria Kennefick is a poet, writer and teacher from Shanagarry, Co. Cork now based in Co. Kerry. She holds a doctorate in English from University College Cork and studied at Emory University and Georgia College and State University as part of a Fulbright Scholarship. Her pamphlet, White Whale (Southword Editions, 2015), won the Munster Literature Centre Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition and the Saboteur Award for Best Poetry Pamphlet. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Poetry Review, PN Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry News, Prelude, Copper Nickel, The Irish Times, Ambit, Banshee and elsewhere. She won the 2013 Red Line Book Festival Poetry Prize. She was a recipient of a Next Generation Artist Award from the Arts Council of Ireland. Her debut collection Eat Or We Both Starve was published by Carcanet in 2021.


Hannah Lowe

The Kids / Bloodaxe Books

Hannah Lowe was born in Ilford to an English mother and Jamaican-Chinese father. Her first poetry collection Chick (Bloodaxe, 2013) won the Michael Murphy Memorial Award for Best First Collection, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry, and was selected for the Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation Poets 2014 promotion. Her second collection was Chan, (Bloodaxe 2016). She has also published four chapbooks: The Hitcher (Rialto, 2012); R x (sine wave peak 2013); Ormonde (Hercules Editions, 2014) and The Neighbourhood (Outspoken Press, 2019). Her third full poetry collection, The Kids, (Bloodaxe, 2021) is a Poetry Book Society Choice. She did her PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and now lectures in Creative Writing at Brunel University. The Kids has been awarded the 2021 Costa Poetry Award.


Michael Symmons Roberts

Ransom / Cape Poetry

Michael Symmons Roberts was born in Preston, Lancashire, and spent his childhood in Lancashire. He now lives near Manchester. His eight poetry collections have all been published by Cape and include Corpus (Cape, 2004), which was the winner of the 2004 Whitbread Poetry Award, and was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize for Best Collection and the Griffin International Prize. His sixth collection – Drysalter – was the winner of the 2013 Forward Prize and the Costa Poetry Prize, and was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. His Selected Poems was published in 2016. His collaboration with composer James MacMillan has led to two BBC Proms choral commissions and work for the Royal Opera House. He has published two novels and is Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University. His eighth poetry collection is Ransom (Cape, 2021).


Daniel Sluman

single window / Nine Arches Press

Daniel Sluman is a poet and disability rights activist. Born in Gloucestershire, he studied at the University of Gloucestershire and now lives in London. He co-edited the first major UK Disability poetry anthology, Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back, (2017) with Sandra Alland and Khairani Barokka. He has previously published two full collections of poetry, Absence has a weight of its own (2012) and the terrible (2015), both published by Nine Arches Press. His work explores disability through a mainly confessionalist mode. He has previously held editing roles at Iota and Dead Ink, and he has studied towards a PHD in disability poetics, funded by an AHRC award. His poetry has appeared widely in UK poetry journals. His third poetry collection, single window, was published in 2021 by Nine Arches Press.


Joelle Taylor

Cunto & Othered Poems / The Westbourne Press

Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright and author who has published four collections of poetry: Ska Tissue (2011, Mother Foucault Press), The Woman Who Was Not There (Burning Eye Books, 2014) and Songs My Enemy Taught Me (Out-Spoken Press, 2017). She founded SLAMbassadors, the UK’s national youth slam championships, for the Poetry Society in 2001 and was its Artistic Director and National Coach until 2018. She is the host of London’s premier night of poetry and music, Out-Spoken, currently resident at the Southbank. She has published three plays and a collection of short stories, The Night Alphabet, will be published in 2021. As an educator she has lead workshops and residencies in schools, prisons, youth centres, refugee groups, and other settings. Cunto & Othered Poems was published in 2021 by The Westbourne Press.




Jack Underwood

A Year in the New Life / Faber & Faber

Jack Underwood is a poet, writer and critic based in London. A winner of the Eric Gregory Award in 2007, his debut pamphlet was published by Faber as part of the first Faber New Poets series in 2009. His debut poetry collection, Happiness (Faber, 2015), won the Somerset Maugham Award. He was co-founder of the leading anthology series Stop Sharpening Your Knives and has published work widely in UK magazines, and internationally, having been translated into seven languages. He has been a regular reviewer for both Poetry Review, and Poetry London. His non-fiction book, Not Even This, (Corsair, 2021) explores poetic language, knowledge and uncertainty. He is a senior lecturer in English and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London. A Year in the New Life was published by Faber in 2021.




Kevin Young

Stones / Cape Poetry

Kevin Young was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and now lives in New York. He is the author of fifteen books of poetry and prose, including Brown; Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015; Book of Hours, winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Jelly Roll: a blues, a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry; Bunk, a New York Times Notable Book, and The Grey Album, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and the PEN Open Book Award. Kevin Young is the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the poetry editor of the New Yorker. Stones (Cape, 2021) is the first of his poetry collections to be published in the UK.