Controversy grows over TS Eliot prize

Controversy grows over TS Eliot prize

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Controversy grows over TS Eliot prize

Alice Oswald dropped out of the shortlist over investment firm’s new sponsorship.

This year’s T.S. Eliot Prize has caused a stir worthy of the poet it is named for after Alice Oswald dropped out of the shortlist in protest at an investment firm’s new sponsorship of the event, The Economist reported.

“I’m uncomfortable about the fact that Aurum Funds, an investment company which exclusively manages funds of hedge funds, is sponsoring the administration of the Eliot Prize; I think poetry should be questioning, not endorsing, such institutions and for that reason, I’m withdrawing from the Eliot shortlist,” said Oswald, whose “Memorial” was set to compete for the prize.

Three-year sponsorship
Poetry Book Society (PBS), which administers the award, announced in October that it had obtained “substantial” three-year sponsorship from Aurum Funds to support the award’s management costs.

According to The Economist, the boycott caused a public furor, especially because the 15,000 pounds in prize money is still donated separately by Valerie Eliot, the poet’s surviving widow and the biggest sponsor of the award. As a result, an event of marginal interest in the literary world has become a subject for the national press, the report said.

Oswald, whose book is a retelling of Homer’s Iliad with echoes from contemporary war-torn times, had been on the shortlist for the prestigious poetry prize, for which the winner will be announced in January, reported

Chris Holifield, director of the PBS, said the society had decided not to comment on Oswald’s decision.
The other poets shortlisted for the award include, John Kinsella, John Burnside, poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Leontia Flynn, David Harsent, Esther Morgan, Daljit Nagra, Sean O’Brien and Bernard O’Donoghue.