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The Poetry Book Society is delighted to announce the judges for the 2010 T S Eliot Prize for Poetry. Anne Stevenson will be Chair of the judges and the other two members of the panel will be Bernardine Evaristo and Michael Symmons Roberts.

The judges will meet in late October to decide on the ten-book shortlist. The four Poetry Book Society Choices from 2010 are automatically shortlisted for the Prize. The Spring 2010 Choice was White Egrets by Derek Walcott (Faber) and the Summer 2010 Choice was Seeing Stars by Simon Armitage (Faber). They will be joined on the shortlist by the PBS Autumn Choice, Human Chain by Seamus Heaney (Faber), and the Winter Choice, which will be announced in August.

The T S Eliot Shortlist Readings will take place on Sunday 23 January 2011 in the Royal Festival Hall.  The 2009 Readings were a great success, attracting one of the biggest audiences for a single poetry event of recent times and selling out the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The winner of the 2010 Prize will be announced at the award ceremony on Monday 24 January 2011, when Mrs Valerie Eliot will present the winner with a cheque for £15,000.  The shortlisted poets will each receive £1,000.

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.

Last year's winner was Philip Gross, for his collection The Water Table (Bloodaxe). The judges were Simon Armitage (Chair), Colette Bryce and Penelope Shuttle.

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 in its eighteenth 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 and Philip Gross.

The 2010 Prize is generously sponsored by the John S Cohen Foundation. The Foundation includes the David Cohen Prize for Literature amongst its portfolio, which covers the arts, education, culture, environment, conservation and heritage.                                              

The Prize is supported by the T S Eliot Foundation.                                             

Judges' Biographies

Anne Stevenson was born in England in 1933. She moved to America as a child and studied music and literature at Michigan University, graduating with a Major Hopwood Award for Poetry in 1955, but she has since lived most of her life in Britain. She is the author of fourteen collections of poetry, the latest (published by Bloodaxe) being Poems 1955?2005 (2006) and Stone Milk (2007). Bitter Fame, her biography of Sylvia Plath (Viking/ Penguin), was published in 1989. Other critical books include Five Looks at Elizabeth Bishop (Bloodaxe, 2006) and Between the Iceberg and the Ship: Selected Essays (University of Michigan Press, 1998). In 2002 she was the inaugural recipient of the Northern Rock Foundation Writers Award. In the autumn of 2007 she was awarded The Neglected Masters Award from the Poetry Foundation of America and The Lannan Prize for a lifetime's achievement in poetry.

Bernardine Evaristo's six books include a novella Hello Mum (Penguin 2010); Lara, a verse-novel about her family history (Bloodaxe 2009); a novel Blonde Roots (Penguin 2008), a novel-with-verse Soul Tourists (Penguin 2005), and a verse-novel The Emperor's Babe, set in Roman London (Penguin 2001). She is editor of Ten: New Black and Asian poets with Daljit Nagra (Bloodaxe, September 2010) and the British Council anthology NW15 with Maggie Gee (Granta 2007). She is a literary critic, has written verse drama for the stage and radio, and taught creative writing worldwide. She has received and judged several literary awards including the National Poetry Competition and Next Generation Poets. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts, and she received an MBE for services to literature in 2009.

Michael Symmons Roberts was born in 1963 in Preston, Lancashire. His fifth poetry collection, The Half Healed - was published by Cape in 2008. Corpus (Cape 2004) won the Whitbread Poetry Award, and his work has been shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize, the Forward Prize, and twice for the T S Eliot Prize. His continuing collaboration with composer James MacMillan has led to two BBC Proms choral commissions, song cycles, music theatre works and operas for the Royal Opera House and Welsh National Opera.  Their recent work, The Sacrifice, won the RPS Award for opera. His writing for broadcast includes A Fearful Symmetry - for Radio 4 - which won the Sandford St Martin Prize, and Last Words, commissioned by Radio 4 to mark the first anniversary of 9/11. As a broadcaster, his recent work includes documentaries on the poetic elegy, the First World War poets and the French poet-philosopher Simone Weil. He has published two novels, and is Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.

About the Poetry Book Society
Founded by T S Eliot and friends in 1953, the PBS is a unique poetry organisation which provides an international membership with its Selectors' choice of the best new poetry books. The Poetry Book Society is about to launch two new websites, an online bookshop (, offering 90,000 poetry books and CDs, including the Poetry Archive recordings and the SoundBlast performance poets' CDs, together with a wide range of news, articles, reviews, information and events listings. The new PBS website,, will have a special members' section and will house the PBS's projects, including the T S Eliot Prize and its Shadowing Scheme, and the Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets, run in partnership with the British Library. The Society also runs the Children's Poetry Bookshelf ( and the Old Possum's Children's Poetry Competition.

About the John S Cohen Foundation

The John S Cohen Foundation, which was established in 1965, merged in 2002 with the David Cohen Family Trust (founded in 1980). It helps to fund a range of arts, education, culture, environment, conservation and heritage projects, including the David Cohen Prize for Literature, a biennial prize administered by Arts Council England, which honours a living writer from the UK and Ireland for a lifetime's achievement in literature. The 2007 winner was Derek Mahon. Until last year the only other poet to have won the Prize was Thom Gunn, who shared the Prize with Beryl Bainbridge in 2005. Seamus Heaney was the winner of the 2009 David Cohen Prize.

About the T S Eliot Prize Shadowing Scheme

The T S Eliot Prize Shadowing Scheme reflects Eliot's own commitment to encouraging young people to enjoy poetry by engaging A Level students with the T S Eliot Prize judging process. It is run as a partnership between the PBS and the English and Media Centre, a not-for-profit educational publisher and teachers' centre providing high quality teaching materials and Continuing Professional Development for teachers of English and Media. This year's Scheme will launch in October 2010. More information will be available in September from and

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