Irish poet Sinéad Morrissey has won this year’s T. S. Eliot Prize for her 2013 collection, Parallax – her fifth volume, published, like each of her previous collections, by Carcanet Press. The prize is given annually by the Poetry Book Society to new collections written in English and first published in the UK or Republic of Ireland, and is one of the most highly-regarded in the field of poetry. Morrissey wins £15,000 and joins the ranks of past winners including Ted Hughes (Birthday Letters, 1998) , Seamus Heaney (2006, District and Circle), Carol Ann Duffy (2005, Rapture) and John Burnside (2011, Black Cat Bone).
Morrissey – the first poet laureate of Belfast – was previously shortlisted in 2002, 2005 and 2009, but this is her first time claiming top prize. Each of her fellow nine nominees receive £1,000. They are: Dannie Abse for Speak, Old Parrot, Moniza Alvi for At the Time of Partition, Anne Carson for Red Doc, Helen Mort for Division Street, Daljit Nagra for The Ramayana: A Retelling, Maurice Riordan for The Water Stealer, Robin Robertson for Hill of Doors, Michael Symmons Roberts for Drysalter and George Szirtes for Bad Machine.
Founded in 1993 to mark the 40th anniversary of the Poetry Book Society, the prize money for the T. S. Eliot Prize was donated by Valerie Eliot – widow of the eponymous poet – until her death in 2012. Since then, the prize has been administered by trustees of Eliot’s estate. The Poetry Book Society’s members receive one new volume of poetry per quarter, and those four titles make up the shortlist of the prize along with six additional titles.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.