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A great shortlist for the T S Eliot Prize

28 October 2013

The shortlist for the 2013 T S Eliot Prize for Poetry is an interesting and diverse one. Including new work by well-established poets Robin Robertson, Michael Symmons Roberts, Sinéad Morrissey and Geroge Szirtes, it also has newcomer Helen Mort's debut collection, Division Street. Daljit Nagra's interpretation of The Ramayana and Moniza Alvi's powerfully felt At the Time of Partition invoke a wider world. Anne Carson is unpredictably experimental, as always, in her verse novel Red Doc >, which contrasts wonderfully with Speak, Old Parrot from veteran poet Dannnie Abse.

Only George Szirtes has won the T S Eliot Prize before, with Reel in 2004, so it's anybody's guess who might win in January. 

Chair of the Judges Ian Duhig said:

"It's an honour to chair the T S Eliot Prize, a pleasure to work with my distinguished fellow judges Imtiaz Dharker and Vicki Feaver, and a nightmare to shortlist from so many fantastic books. Congratulations to those poets who made it and those who didn't, so much of whose work I read with enormous delight and envy."

The complete shortlist is:

Helen Mort Division Street Chatto & Windus
Robin Robertson Hill of Doors Picador
Sinéad Morrissey Parallax Carcanet
Maurice Riordan The Water Stealer Faber
Daljit Nagra Ramayana: A Retelling Faber
Dannie Abse Speak, Old Parrot Hutchinson
Michael Symmons Roberts Drysalter Jonathan Cape
George Szirtes Bad Machine Bloodaxe
Anne Carson Red Doc > Jonathan Cape
Moniza Alvi At the Time of Partition Bloodaxe

You can sign up for the weekly T S Eliot Prize newsletter at The fantastic T S Eliot Prize Readings in London Royal Festival Hall are on 12 January (tickets from, when all ten poets will be invited to read in the biggest event of the UK poetry year. The judges meet the following day and the winner is announced that evening at an award ceremony in central London.

The T S Eliot Prize Reading Groups scheme has just started and is open to poetry reading groups all over the world, with all the reading group material supplied online. This year, reading groups can enter a new competition to win tickets for the Readings, a visit from one of the shortlisted poets or a complete set of the shortlisted books.

The T S Eliot Prize Shadowing Scheme, run 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 in partnership with the English and Media Centre's emagazine, starts on 5 November and will offer A level students a chance to engage with the latest new poetry by shadowing the judges and taking part in a writing competition.

The PBS has just completed a nationwide tour, taking shortlisted and prize-winning poets from the last few years to ten venues across the country, The T S Eliot Prize 20th Anniversary Tour. See the blog and accompanying 25 minute film of the tour at