Hannah Lowe and Selima Hill on T S Eliot Prize Shortlist

Hannah Lowe and Selima Hill on T S Eliot Prize Shortlist


Selima Hill's twentieth book of poetry Men Who Feed Pigeons and Hannah Lowe's third collection The Kids are on the ten-strong shortlist for the T S Eliot Prize 2021.  The shortlist was announced by Chair of Judges Glyn Maxwell at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on the evening of 14 October 2021. 

The £25,000 prize is the most valuable in British poetry and has received a record 177 submissions this year.  The judges are poets Glyn Maxwell, Caroline Bird and Zaffar Kunial. 

Chair of Judges Glyn Maxwell said:

‘We are delighted with our shortlist, while lamenting all the fine work we had to set aside. Poetry styles are as disparate as we’ve ever known them, and the wider world as threatened and bewildered as any of us can remember. Out of this we have chosen ten books that sound clear and compelling voices of the moment. Older and younger, wiser and wilder, well-known and lesser-known, these are the ten voices we think should enter the stage and be heard in the spotlight, changing the story.’

The full shortlist can be seen on the T S Eliot Prize website here.

The T S Eliot Prize weekly newsletter will feature each title in turn.  Subscribe here.

T S Eliot Prize blogger John Field's review of The Kids is here.  His review of Selima Hill's Men Who Feed Pigeons is here.

You can download Readers' Notes for both titles from the T S Eliot website here.


The T S Eliot Prize Shortlist Readings will take place on Sunday 9th January 2022 in the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall as part of its literature programme. The shortlist readings are the largest annual poetry event in the UK and will be hosted once again by Ian McMillan. Tickets for the Readings in the Royal Festival and the simultaneously streamed event are now on sale.  Book for the in-person event online here and for the livestream here.  Hannah will be reading in person, and someone else will read on Selima's behalf.

The winner of the 2021 T S Eliot Prize will be announced at the Award Ceremony on Monday 10th January 2022, where the prize-winner and the shortlisted poets will be presented with their cheques. All shortlisted authors receive £1,500.

Feature in The Guardian on the 2021 shortlist: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/oct/14/ts-eliot-prize-unveils-voices-of-the-moment-in-2021-shortlist

Feature in The Bookseller: https://www.thebookseller.com/news/cape-poetry-and-bloodaxe-dominate-t-s-eliot-prize-shortlist-1284518



Hannah Lowe reads 'John 1: Pink Humming Bird' from her collection The Kids


Hannah Lowe talks about her work


Selima Hill's Men Who Feed Pigeons brings together seven contrasting but complementary poem sequences by ‘this brilliant lyricist of human darkness’ (Fiona Sampson) relating to men and different kinds of women’s relationships with men.  Selima Hill grew up in a family of painters in farms in England and Wales, and has lived in Dorset for the past 40 years. Her 2008 Bloodaxe retrospective Gloria: Selected Poems was followed by eight further collections.  Her 20th collection Men Who Feed Pigeons was published by Bloodaxe on 16 September 2021, and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection as well as the T S Eliot Prize.

Hannah Lowe's third collection The Kids was also published by Bloodaxe on 16 September 2021. It is the Poetry Book Society's Choice for Autumn 2021. At the heart of this book of sonnets are ‘The Kids’, the students she nurtured during her decade of teaching in an inner-city sixth form in the 2000s. The poems draw on that experience, but the scenarios are largely fictitious.  In the central section, Hannah writes about herself coming of age in the riotous 80s and 90s, while the final poems bear witness to her young son learning to negotiate contemporary London.  Her previous two Bloodaxe collections are Chick (2014), winner of the 2015 Michael Murphy Prize, and Chan (2016).

A video of Bloodaxe's joint live-streamed launch with Hannah Lowe and Selima Hill (along with Stephanie Norgate) is below.


Selima Hill gave a rare interview to The Poetry Review Podcast in April 2021. She read a number of poems from her 20th collection Men Who Feed Pigeons and was in conversation with Emily Berry, Editor of The Poetry Review.  Listen to this delightful conversation here.


Hannah Lowe was a guest on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking on 16 September 2021.  She was discussing ideas of belonging with host Shahidha Bari and fellow guests Akram Khan, Tash Aw and Eleanor Lybeck, and read from her just-published third collection The Kids.  Hannah contributes at 2.56 and 29.02. She is interviewed from 15.31. Listen here.

Links to other interviews with Hannah and reviews of The Kids are on Bloodaxe's news page here.


Live-streamed launch reading on 16 September 2021 with Hannah Lowe, Selima Hill and Stephanie Norgate

Hannah and Stephanie read from and discussed their books live.  Selima Hill's contribution was audio, taken with permission, from The Poetry Review podcast above, accompanied by screen shares of the poems she read.

[14 October 2021]

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