Ocean Vuong has won the 2017 TS Eliot Prize, for his debut collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds. The Vietnamese-born poet, who now lives in Massachusetts, has won a host of awards for the collection, including Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.
Of Night Sky with Exit Wounds, Chair of Judges Bill Herbert said it: “Deals with the aftermath of war and migration over three generations. It is a compellingly assured debut, the definitive arrival of a significant voice.”
Joining Vuong on the shortlist were five other male nominees and four women. Irish poets Tara Bergin, Caroline Bird from Leeds, Scottish poets Roddy Lumsden and Douglas Dunn, Leontia Flynn from Northern Ireland, Michael Symmons Roberts from Lancashire, Robert Minhinnick from South Wales and Cypriot James Sheard all received £1,500 as recognition of their achievement.
Vuong won £25,000 prize money, an increased amount on previous years due to the TS Eliot Prize celebrating its 25th year.
The price is considered the most prestigious poetry prize in the country and awards the writer of the best new poetry collection published in the UK or Ireland.
Previous winners have included Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy, Alice Oswald and Seamus Heaney.