Entertainment & Arts

Oswald withdraws from poetry list

Alice Oswald
Image caption Oswald won the TS Eliot Prize in 2002

Alice Oswald has withdrawn from the TS Eliot prize because she feels "uncomfortable" with it being sponsored by an investment company.

The poetry award is being supported by Aurum Funds for the next three years, after losing regular funding from the Arts Council.

Devon-based Oswald said: "I think poetry should be questioning, not endorsing, such institutions."

She had been nominated for her Homer-inspired work, Memorial.

The poet added: "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."

Prize money

Oswald, from Dartington, Devon, previously won the TS Eliot prize in 2002 for her second collection, Dart.

The Poetry Book Society said on its website that it "regrets that Alice Oswald has withdrawn her collection" from the shortlist.

Oswald's publisher, Faber & Faber, declined to comment.

Memorial is a re-working of Homer's famous work, The Iliad.

The other poets shortlisted for the prestigious prize are John Burnside, Carol Ann Duffy, Leontia Flynn, David Harsent, John Kinsella, Esther Morgan, Daljit Nagra, Sean O'Brien and Bernard O'Donoghue.

The winner will be announced on 16 January at an awards ceremony in London.

The prize money - £15,000 for the winner and £1,000 for each of those shortlisted - is funded by TS Eliot's widow, Valerie, and the late poet's estate.

The sponsorship money from Aurum - which also supports four other charities - goes towards management costs.

The TS Eliot prize was inaugurated in 1993 to celebrate the Poetry Book Society's 40th birthday and honour its founding poet.

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