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T S Eliot Prize 2007


The winner of the 2007 T S Eliot Prize for Poetry

The winner of ‘the world’s top poetry award’ (Irish Independent) has just been announced. Described as ‘the prize most poets want to win’ (Andrew MotionEnglish poet, novelist and biographer; Poet Laureate of United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009; during his laureateship founded the Poetry Archive, an online resource of poems and audio recordings of poets reading their own work, Poet Laureate)  the prize is awarded by the Poetry Book SocietySpecialist book club founded by T S Eliot in 1953, which aims to offer the best new poetry published in the UK and Ireland. Members buy at 25% discount. The PBS has a handsome new website at to the author of the best new collection of poetry published each year. It is unique among poetry prizes in being judged by a panel of established poets. 

Judges Peter Porter (Chair), Sujata Bhatt and W N Herbert have chosen

Sean O'Brien's The Drowned Book

as the 2007 winner. He was born in Hull and lives in Newcastle, where he is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.  This is the first time he has won the T S Eliot Prize but is the only poet to have won the Forward Prize for Best Collection three times: for 1995’s Ghost Train, 2001’s Downriver and most recently for The Drowned Book, which is his eleventh poetry collection. 

The Prize, which is supported by Mrs Valerie Eliot and the T S Eliot Foundation, was presented by Mrs Valerie Eliot at an award ceremony at the Wallace Collection in central London on 14th January.

Throughout its 15-year history the Prize has been a much sought-after accolade; now, thanks to the generosity of Mrs Valerie Eliot, it is the largest cash award in British poetry. The winner received £15,000, increased from £10,000, and each of the shortlisted poets received a cheque for £1,000.

The shortlist consisted of the following ten collections from submissions of nearly 100 new books which were published in 2007:

Ian Duhig The Speed of Dark Picador

Alan Gillis Hawks and Doves Gallery Press

Sophie Hannah Pessimism for Beginners Carcanet

Mimi Khalvati The Meanest Flower

Frances Leviston Public Dream Picador

Sarah Maguire The Pomegranates of Kandahar Chatto & Windus

Edwin Morgan A Book of Lives Carcanet

Sean O’Brien The Drowned Book Picador

Fiona Sampson Common Prayer Carcanet

Matthew Sweeney Black Moon Jonathan Cape

The T S Eliot Prize Shadowing Scheme

The Prize was also accompanied by a Shadowing Scheme which allowed students to shadow the judges, run by the Poetry Book Society in association with emagazine, an A Level magazine published by the English and Media Centre.

It comprised a poll to find out who the students thought should win the T S Eliot Prize (Edwin Morgan was the winner) and a competition for the best individual student’s rationale for their choice of winner. The latter was won by Holly Stevenson of Dame Alice Harpur School in Bedford, who chose Sophie Hannah.

Poetry Bookshop Online to find more details and buy the books online.

Poetry Book Society, which also runs a poetry book club and a children's poetry book club, the Children's Poetry Bookshelf.