Sarah Howe wins T. S. Eliot Prize

Posted on 12th January 2016 by Sally Campbell
Howe's Loop of Jade is the first debut poetry collection to win the prize since the prize's inauguration in 1993

Sarah Howe’s intimate collection of poetry, Loop of Jade, which has been commended for its daring use of form, has been named winner of the prestigious T. S. Eliot Prize.

At the award ceremony, Pascale Petit, who chaired the panel of judges, said Howe’s experimentations with form would “change British poetry”.

Howe, whose mother is Chinese and father English, moved to England as a child. In Loop of Jade, she explores this dual nationality as well as broader issues of cultural identity and representation.  

“She is exploring the situation of women in China, but she doesn’t do it just like that; she does it in a very erudite and dense, rich, imagistic way,” Petit said.

“People will find it accessible, but it will need rereading,” she added. “That is one of its strengths. It doesn’t matter how often you read it, there is more in it. It is very rich and really does speak to what is going on today with the status of women in the world.”

This year’s shortlist was a strong one; Howe’s debut, which has already won the 2015 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, triumphed over such names as Don PatersonLes Murray and Sean O’Brien.

Howe, who will receive the £20,000 prize money, now joins an illustrious list of previous winners that includes Ted Hughes and Carol Ann Duffy.


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