Robinson wins 2019 T S Eliot Prize
In the UK, writer and performer Roger Robinson has won the 2019 T S Eliot Prize for poetry for his collection A Portable Paradise (Peepal Tree Press), reports the Bookseller.
Chair of judges John Burnside said A Portable Paradise ‘finds in the bitterness of everyday experience continuing evidence of “sweet, sweet life”’.
Burnside and fellow judges Sarah Howe and Nick Makoha unanimously chose Robinson as the winner from a shortlist of 10, which included previous winner Sharon Olds (Arias, Cape Poetry) and debut poets Anthony Anaxagorou (After The Formalities, Penned in the Margins) and Jay Bernard (Surge, Chatto & Windus).
Robinson told the Bookseller: ‘I’ve been practising poetry on a big level for 25 years. To some extent when I started a lot of black and minority ethnic writers were not visible so part of the thing I have tried to do is to try and create situations where black and minority ethnic writers can be seen. If I could get people who look like me to start reading and writing poetry then this award means the world to me. If I can be an example to start a whole revolution of people who thought they can’t be poets, they can’t write, they can’t be literary, or they can’t move from an open mic performance, if you think you can’t move from there to there, you can. Let me be an example.’
Robinson receives a £25,000 (A$47,160) cash prize, while each of the nine other shortlisted authors will receive £1500 (A$2830).
Established in 1993 and run by the T S Eliot Foundation, the prize is awarded annually to the best new collection of poetry published in the UK and Ireland. For more information, visit the award website.