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Jamaican poet Jason Allen-Paisant win TS Eliot Prize for ‘theatrical’ poetry

Jason Allen-Paisant has won the TS Eliot Prize for his poetry collection Self-Portrait As Othello, which has been praised for its “nerve, style and integrity”.

The collection won the prestigious prize out of 186 poetry collections submitted by British and Irish publishers.

The TS Eliot Prize is awarded annually to the writer of the best new poetry collection published in the UK and Ireland, with Anthony Joseph scooping the prize last year for his collection Sonnets For Albert.

The winner was presented with £25,000 during an awards ceremony at the Wallace Collection in London on Monday where the shortlisted poets were also presented with cheques for £1,500.

(Carcanet Press)
(Carcanet Press)

Some 10 books were shortlisted for the award, including a collection from Irish poet Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, which was submitted by publishers “in error”.

Prize judges Paul Muldoon, Sasha Dugdale and Denise Saul said: “Self-Portrait As Othello is a book with large ambitions that are met with great imaginative capacity, freshness and technical flair.

“As the title would suggest, the poetry is delivered with theatricality and in a range of voices and registers, across geographies and eras. It takes real nerve to pull off a work like this with such style and integrity.

“We are confident that Self-Portrait As Othello is a book to which readers will return for many years.”

Allen-Paisant, who lives in Leeds, is a Jamaican writer and academic who works as a senior lecturer in Critical Theory and Creative Writing at the University of Manchester.

Self-Portrait As Othello is his second poetry collection, following up his 2021 offering Thinking With Trees.

His non-fiction book, Scanning the Bush, will be published by Hutchinson Heinemann later this year.