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Philip Gross wins the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry

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Nicola Heywood Thomas Nicola Heywood Thomas | 12:57 UK time, Thursday, 4 February 2010

Congratulations to Philip Gross on winning the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry. It's seen as the prize most poets want to win and the Professor of Creative Writing at Glamorgan University is delighted that his book, The Water Table earned him the £15,000 first prize.

The TS Eliot prize is in its 15th year now and is awarded to the author of the best new collection of poetry published in the UK and Ireland each year.

Philip Gross now joins a list of eminent writers including Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy and Seamus Heaney.

He told me on the Radio Wales Arts Show that it's a special pleasure to be awarded the TS Eliot Prize as he clearly remembers being transfixed by Eliot's poem The Waste Land when he was 13.

He said that he was really just finding an excuse not to go outside on a rainy lunchtime and so had gone to the school library and opened a book at random. "I didn't understand a word of it, but I just thought, 'This is wonderful. Understanding can come later.'"

Philip Gross' book The Water Table is inspired by the Bristol Channel - the ever-changing water that he's lived near for most of his life; first growing up in north Cornwall and now looking at from his home in Penarth near Cardiff.


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