Art And Culture

Vietnamese-American’s Debut Collection Wins T.S. Eliot Prize

Vietnamese-American’s Debut Collection Wins T.S. Eliot PrizeVietnamese-American’s Debut Collection Wins T.S. Eliot Prize

Vietnamese-American poet and essayist Ocean Vuong has been announced as the winner of the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize, organized by the Poetry Book Society based in the UK.

The poet was awarded the £25,000 ($34,400) prize for his debut collection ‘Night Sky With Exit Wounds’.

Chair of judges Bill Herbert said of Vuong’s collection: “Night Sky With Exit Wounds deals with the aftermath of war and migration over three generations. It is a compellingly assured debut, the definitive arrival of a significant voice.”

According to, Herbert chose the winner with fellow judges James Lasdun and Helen Mort, from a shortlist of ten poets, all of whom read from their works on January 15 at a special event at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Vuong was presented with the award at a special ceremony at the venue of Wallace Collection.

This year, the prize money was increased to £25,000 to mark the 25th anniversary of the award. Each of the shortlisted poets (Tara Bergin, Caroline Bird, Douglas Dunn, Leontia Flynn, Roddy Lumsden, Michael Symmons Roberts, Robert Minhinnick, James Sheard and Jacqueline Saphra) received £1,500.

​Vuong, who was born in Vietnam and now lives in Massachusetts, has already won the Thom Gunn Award, Whiting Award and Forward Prize for Best First Collection for his debut.

Last year’s prize was awarded to English poet Jacob Polley for his fourth collection ‘Jackself.

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