The T. S. Eliot Foundation is delighted to announce that the winner of the 2021 T. S. Eliot Prize is Joelle Taylor for C+nto & Othered Poems, published by The Westbourne Press.
Chair Glyn Maxwell said:
Every book on the shortlist had a strong claim on the award. We found it extremely hard to choose between ten superb collections. The arguments towards the end were passionate and thoughtful, but the choice of the judging panel is Joelle Taylor’s C+nto and Othered Poems, a blazing book of rage and light, a grand opera of liberation from the shadows of indifference and oppression.
After months of further reading, Judges Glyn Maxwell (Chair), Caroline Bird and Zafffar Kunial chose the winner from a shortlist which consisted of an eclectic mixture of established poets, none of whom has previously won the Prize, and relative newcomers. The list comprises one debut collection; work from six men and four women; one American; one poet from Ireland; as well as poets of Zambian and mixed-race ancestry, including Jamaican-British and Jamaican-Chinese.
Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright and author who has published four collections of poetry: Ska Tissue (Mother Foucault Press, 2011), 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. C+nto & Othered Poems was published in 2021 by The Westbourne Press. http://joelletaylor.co.uk/index.html