Poet Roger Robinson has made history as the first Trinidadian to win the prestigious T.S. Eliot Prize, for his book A Portable Paradise.
The £25,000 award was announced on 13 January at a ceremony in London. A statement from the Bocas Lit Fest Organisation says nine other books were shortlisted for the prize, the most valuable in UK poetry, and considered one of the literary world’s highest-profile honours. Robinson is only the second Caribbean writer to win the prize, following Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, who won in 2011 for his book White Egrets.
Published by Peepal Tree Press, A Portable Paradise ranges in subject from family and ancestry to the perils of making art, but has been most celebrated for a sequence of poems addressing London’s tragic Grenfell Tower fire. “There was a strong sense of humanity to the book,” said the chair of the prize judges, poet John Burnside.