Posted: 15 January 2013
The Poetry Book Society is delighted to announce that Sharon Olds has won the 2012 T S Eliot Prize for Poetry with Stag's Leap, published by Jonathan Cape. She is the first female American poet to win the Prize, and her book was chosen from a recording-breaking 131 submissions.
The Judges of this year's prize - Carol Ann Duffy (Chair), Michael Longley and David Morley - reached their decision after months of reading and deliberation.
The poets on this year's star-studded shortlist have won 22 prizes and awards between them, though none have previously won the T S Eliot Prize.
Carol Ann Duffy, Chair of the judges, said:
My fellow judges Michael Longley, David Morley and I were proud of the freshness, skill and authority exhibited in this year's shortlist. From over 130 collections, we were particularly impressed by the strong presence of women on the list and were unanimous in awarding the 2012 T S Eliot Prize to Sharon Olds' Stag's Leap, a tremendous book of grace and gallantry which crowns the career of a world-class poet.
Sharon Olds was born in 1942 in San Francisco. Her first collection of poems, Satan Says (1980), received the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award. The Dead & the Living (1983) received the Lamont Poetry Selection in 1983 and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other collections include Strike Sparks: Selected Poems (2004) and The Father (1992), which was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. Her last collection, One Secret Thing (Jonathan Cape, 2009) explored the themes of war, family relationships and the death of her mother, and was also shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. She currently teaches creative writing at New York University.
Carol Ann Duffy formally announced the winner at the T S Eliot Prize Award Ceremony in the Courtyard at the Wallace Collection on Monday 14th January. The winner was presented with a cheque for £15,000 and each shortlisted poet received a cheque for £1,000 in recognition of their achievement in winning a place on the most prestigious shortlist in UK poetry. The Poetry Book Society would like to acknowledge Mrs Valerie Eliot's great generosity in providing the prize money since the inception of the Prize and to say how much she was missed at this year's Prize events.
The award ceremony was preceded by the T S Eliot Prize Readings on Sunday 13th January, held in the Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall.
The T S Eliot Prize is generously supported by the T S Eliot Estate.
This year marks the second year of generous three-year support from Aurum, a private investment management firm which manages funds for charities, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and private individuals, and which supports a range of charities.