Today, the T. S. Eliot Prize, one of the UK’s most prestigious poetry honors, announced its 2020 shortlist. The award, inaugurated in 1993, recognizes the best poetry collection of the year and comes with a £25,000 purse; each of the nine runners-up receive £1500. Previous winners include Ocean Vuong, Seamus Heaney, and Alice Oswald.
According to the press release, the shortlist includes titles from five men and five women; two Americans; as well as poets of Native American, Chinese Indonesian and British, Indian and mixed race ancestry. Nine publishers are represented, with five titles from recently-established presses. There are three debut titles.
“When the pandemic hit, certain concerns of ours began to seem rather trivial,” said Lavinia Greenlaw, the chair of judges. “We had to be convinced by them as relevant in a profoundly changed world, which meant that we had to be able to connect with them at the level of essential human experience, which is where I believe poetry is really produced, and poetry is really received.”
With poets Mona Arshi and Andrew McMillan, Greenlaw read 153 collections submitted by British and Irish publishers to make this year’s shortlist.
The award ceremony will be announced at a later date here. Congrats to all!
The 2020 TS Eliot Prize Shortlist
Natalie Diaz, Postcolonial Love Poem
Sasha Dugdale, Deformations
Ella Frears, Shine, Darling
Will Harris, RENDANG
Wayne Holloway-Smith, Love Minus Love
Bhanu Kapil, How to Wash a Heart
Daisy Lafarge, Life Without Air
Glyn Maxwell, How the Hell Are You
Shane McCrae, Sometimes I Never Suffered
JO Morgan, The Martian’s Regress
[h/t The Guardian]