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The Poetry Book Society launches new reading group scheme | 07-Sep-10

T S Eliot Prize 2010 -- WHY NOT TRY POETRY?

The Poetry Book Society is delighted to announce the launch of a new reading group scheme based on the shortlist for the 2010 T S Eliot Prize for Poetry.

The judges, Chair Anne Stevenson, Bernardine Evaristo and Michael Symmons Roberts, will meet in late October to decide on the ten-book shortlist, which will be announced on 21 October. From that day reading groups will be able to download a biography and photo of each poet and three poems from their book, together with reading group notes on the poems, from www.poetrybooks.co.uk/projects. The PBS website will offer readers the opportunity to vote for their favourite poet online and to take part in discussion of the shortlist. The result of the reading groups' vote will be announced at the award ceremony.

Generous reading group discounts will be also be available. Readers will be able to sign up for a weekly email which will cover the ten poets in turn and keep them up-to-date with news on the Prize.

There will also be a prize draw for tickets for the T S Eliot Prize Readings in the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday 23 January. 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 PBS hopes to encourage the setting-up of new poetry reading groups. Pam Johnson's article on the site shows how to go about it and describes how her own group enjoyed reading last year's shortlist. The organisation is also keen to encourage fiction groups to give poetry a go, so reading groups will be able to download the poems from the site and to incorporate them into their reading plans, or to order books from the PBS if they wish to read further.

The winner of the 2010 T S Eliot 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 four Poetry Book Society Choices from 2010 are automatically shortlisted for the Prize. This means that White Egrets by Derek Walcott (Faber), Seeing Stars by Simon Armitage (Faber), Human Chain by Seamus Heaney (Faber), and The Mirabelles by Annie Freud (Picador) will be on the shortlist.

Last year's winner was Philip Gross, for his collection The Water Table (Bloodaxe).

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.                        

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