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T S Eliot Prize 2006 Judges Announced | 30-May-06

The judges for the 2006 T. S. Eliot prize have been announced.

A press release from The Poetry Book Society says:

"Sean O'Brien will serve as Chair of the judges.  The two other judges will be poet and novelist Sophie Hannah, and Welsh National Poet Gwyneth Lewis. 

The judges will meet in early November to decide on the shortlist.  The Shortlist Readings will take place on Sunday, 14 January 2007.  The winner will be announced at the award ceremony the following evening, Monday, 15 January.

Last year's winner of the T S Eliot Prize was Carol Ann Duffy, for her collection Rapture (2005).  The judges were David Constantine (Chair), Kate Clanchy, and Jane Draycott.

The T S Eliot prize was inaugurated in 1993 to celebrate the Poetry Book Society's 40th birthday, and honour its founding poet.  Now in its fourteenth year, the T S Eliot Prize is 'poetry's most coveted award' (Jane Wheatley, The Times).  The prize is now firmly established as the UK's most prestigious award for a new collection of poetry.  Andrew Motion, the Poet Laureate, has described it 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, George Szirtes, and Carol Ann Duffy.

Judges' Biographies: 

Sean O'Brien

Sean O'Brien is a poet, critic, playwright, broadcaster, anthologist and editor.  He was Professor of Poetry at Sheffield Hallam University, where he taught on the MA Writing course from 1998 to 2006.  From September 2006 he will be Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.  He is a Vice President of the Poetry Society.

Sean O'Brien won an Eric Gregory Award in 1979, a Cholmondeley Award in 1988 and the E M Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1993.  His poetry collections include The Indoor Park (1983), winner of a Somerset Maugham Award, The Frighteners (1987), HMS Glasshouse (1991), and Ghost Train (1995), which won the Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of theYear), as did Downriver (2001), making him the first poet to have won this prize twice.  Cousin Coat: Selected Poems 1976-2001 was published in 2002.  His version of Dante's Inferno will be published in October 2006.


Sophie Hannah

Sophie Hannah's Selected Poems will be published by Penguin on 3 June.  Her first poetry collection, The Hero and the Girl Next Door (Carcanet 1995), won an Eric Gregory Award, and her latest, First of the Last Chances (Carcanet 2003), was selected for the Next Generation Poets promotion in summer 2004.  Between 1997 and 1999 she was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge, and from 1999 to 2001 she was a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford.

Sophie also writes psychological crime fiction, and her first crime novel, Little Face, is published by Hodder & Stoughton.  She won first prize in the 2004 Daphne Du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition for her suspense story, 'The Octopus Nest'.  In 2007, her first collection of short stories, We All Say What We Want, will be published by Sort Of Books.  More information about Sophie and her work can be found on her website:


Gwyneth Lewis

Gwyneth Lewis is Wales' first National Poet.  She was responsible for composing the words on the front of Cardiff's new Wales Millennium Centre.  She writes both in Welsh, her first language, and in English.

Gwyneth Lewis won an Eric Gregory Award in 1988.  Her first collection written in English, Parables and Faxes (1995), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize (Best First Collection) and won the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Prize.  Zero Gravity (1998) was shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of the Year) and was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.  Y Llofrudd Iaith (2000) won the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award.  Her latest book of poetry is Keeping Mum (2003).  In 2004, she was named as one of the Poetry Book Society's 'Next Generation Poets'. She has written two books of non-fiction: Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book on Depression (2002) and Two in a Boat: A Marital Voyage (2005).  She has also written three libretti for the Welsh National Opera.

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