Two poets withdraw from UK prize

2011-12-09 09:27

London - Two authors shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize for poetry have withdrawn, saying they objected to investment company Aurum Funds sponsoring the award.

The Poetry Book Society, which runs the annual award for a collection of poetry, lost funding from the Arts Council England as part of government spending cuts.

Australian John Kinsella, who was shortlisted for his latest work Armour, said he had withdrawn on ethical grounds as "an anti-capitalist in full-on form".

Many top arts honours, including the Man Booker Prize, are funded by the private sector, and company sponsorship is becoming increasingly important as state support is reduced.

Pointy end of capitalism

"My politics and ethics are such that I can't accept money from such a source," Kinsella told the Bookseller publication.

"I fully understand why the Poetry Book Society has looked elsewhere for funding, given the horrendous way they were treated, but as an anticapitalist in full-on form, that is my position."

He did not have any specific objections against Aurum Funds, but added that hedge funds were "at the very pointy end of capitalism, if I can put it that way".

Kinsella joins Alice Oswald, who withdrew earlier this week for similar reasons. She had been shortlisted for Memorial.

The Poetry Book Society's website now features eight nominees, down from 10, including poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy for The Bees.

The winner of the award, who receives a cheque for £15 000 pounds, will be announced on January 16 2012. Each of the nominees receives £1 000.