All entries for Thursday 14 June 2012

June 14, 2012

Judging the 2012 T.S. Eliot Prize

T S Eliot

I am delighted to be one of the judges of this year's T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry. I am also honoured. Eliot was one of the first poets whose work was read aloud to me by one of my early mentors. The poetry has stayed with me ever since.

T S Eliot Prize 2012

The Poetry Book Society is delighted to announce the judges for the 2012 T S Eliot Prize for Poetry. Carol Ann Duffy will be Chair and the other two judges will be poets Michael Longley and David Morley.

The judges will meet in October to decide on the ten-book shortlist. The four Poetry Book Society Choices from 2012 are automatically shortlisted for the Prize. The Spring 2012 Choice was The Death of King Arthur by Simon Armitage (Faber) and the Summer Choice was The Dark Film by Paul Farley (Picador). They will be joined on the shortlist by the PBS Autumn Choice, Place by Jorie Graham (Carcanet), and the Winter Choice, which will be announced in August.

The T S Eliot Prize Shortlist Readings will take place on Sunday 13 January 2013 in the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. The 2010 Readings were held in this new venue for the first time and were a great artistic and audience-building success, attracting 2,000 poetry lovers, one of the biggest audiences for a single poetry event of recent times. The winner of the 2012 Prize will be announced at the award ceremony on Monday 14 January 2013, where the winner will be presented with a cheque for £15,000, donated by Mrs Valerie Eliot, who has generously given the prize money since the inception of the Prize. The shortlisted poets will each receive £1,000.

The T S Eliot Prize Reading Groups scheme will enable reading groups and individual readers to read the shortlist. Specially commissioned reading group notes, together with three poems from each shortlisted collection, will be made available to download from the PBS website. The scheme will target both poetry reading groups and fiction book groups.

The T S Eliot Prize Shadowing Scheme, run by the Poetry Book Society in partnership with the English and Media Centre’s emagazine, will offer A level students a chance to engage with the latest new poetry by shadowing the judges and taking part in a writing competition.

Last year’s winner was John Burnside for his collection Black Cat Bone (Cape). The judges were Gillian Clarke (Chair), Stephen Knight and Dennis O’Driscoll.

The T S Eliot Prize was inaugurated in 1993 to celebrate the Poetry Book Society's 40th birthday, and to honour its founding poet. Now celebrating its twentieth year, the T S Eliot Prize is the ‘world’s top poetry award’ (Louise Jury, The Irish Independent). The Prize is awarded annually to the writer of the best new poetry collection published in the UK or Ireland. It is unique as it is always judged by a panel of established poets and it has been described by Sir Andrew Motion as ‘the Prize most poets want to win’.

Previous winners (in chronological order) are: Ciaran Carson, Paul Muldoon , Mark Doty, Les Murray, Don Paterson, Ted Hughes, Hugo Williams, Michael Longley, Anne Carson, Alice Oswald, Don Paterson (for the second time), George Szirtes, Carol Ann Duffy , Seamus Heaney, Sean O’Brien, Jen Hadfield, Philip Gross, Derek Walcott and John Burnside.

The Prize is generously supported by the T S Eliot Estate. 

This year marks the second year of generous three-year support from Aurum, a private investment management firm which manages funds for charities, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and private individuals, and which supports a range of charities.  

  … ends

For further information please go to

Or contact: Dave Isaac or Chris Holifield at the Poetry Book Society

tel 020 7831 7468 emails, and


Judges’ Biographies

Carol Ann Duffy
Poet Carol Ann Duffy was born in 1955 in Glasgow . Her poetry collections include Standing Female Nude (1985); The Other Country (1990); Mean Time (1993), which won the Whitbread Poetry Award and the Forward Poetry Prize; The World’s Wife (1999); Feminine Gospels (2002); and Rapture (2005), which won the 2005 T S Eliot Prize. Her latest collection, The Bees (2011), was shortlisted for the 2011 Prize. Her children’s poems are collected in New & Collected Poems for Children (2009). Carol Ann Duffy is the Poet Laureate. She lives in Manchester and is Creative Director of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University .

Michael Longley

One of Ireland’s foremost contemporary poets, Michael Longley CBE was born in 1939. Longley’s 1991 collection, Gorse Fires, won the Whitbread Poetry Prize. Subsequently, The Weather in Japan (2000) won the Irish Times Literature Prize for Poetry, the Hawthornden Prize and the 2000 T S Eliot Prize. Longley’s recent publications include Snow Water (2004) and Collected Poems (2006). His latest collection, A Hundred Doors (2011) was a PBS Recommendation. In 2001 he was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. Michael Longley is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and he was Ireland Professor of Poetry from 2007 to 2010.

David Morley

An ecologist by background, David Morley’s poetry has won many awards. His most recent poetry collection Enchantment (2010) was a Sunday Telegraph Book of the Year chosen by Jonathan Bate. The Invisible Kings (2007) was a PBS Recommendation and TLS Book of the Year chosen by Les Murray. His next book World’s Eye is due from Carcanet in 2013 followed by his Selected Poems in 2014. A leading international advocate of creative writing, David wrote The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing (2007) and co-edited The Cambridge Companion to Creative Writing (2012). He is Professor of Writing at the University of Warwick . His website is

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