The organizers of the TS Eliot Prize have announced the 2016 award winner. Sarah Howe, a poet of mixed British and Chinese heritage who now resides in the United States, emerged from a strong shortlist to win the award.
Howe was awarded the prize for her debut collection, Loop of Jade. In the book of poems, Howe explores her mixed heritage and uses it as a lens to examine Chinese society.
This is the first time in the more than 20-year history of the prize that a poet has won for a debut work. That feat was made even more impressive by the fact that Howe triumphed over a particularly strong group of shortlisted poets, which included Claudia Rankine and Don Paterson.
Howe will take home £20,000 (about $28,900 US) for winning the award. The TS Eliot Prize was founded by poet TS Eliot’s widow, and has been run by the poet’s estate since 2012. This year’s judges were Pascale Petit, Kei Miller, and Ahren Warner. Petit chaired the panel.