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Poet Sarah Howe wins TS Eliot prize

Sarah Howe Image copyright Hayley Madden
Image caption Sarah Howe won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award for 2015

Sarah Howe has won the prestigious TS Eliot prize for poetry for Loop of Jade, the first debut collection to scoop the award.

Loop of Jade is described as an intimate exploration of Howe's Anglo-Chinese heritage through her journeys to Hong Kong to discover her roots.

Howe, 33, took away £20,000 in prize money, while the nine others on the shortlist won £1,500.

The prize started in 1993 for the 40th anniversary of the Poetry Book Society.

The award is judged by a panel of established poets. Pascale Petit, who chairs the panel, said Howe "brings new possibilities to British poetry".

"In a year with an incredibly ambitious and diverse shortlist, it was difficult to choose the winner. However, Sarah Howe's Loop of Jade shone with its startling exploration of gender and injustice through place and identity, its erudition, and powerful imagery as well as her daring experiment with form."

Image caption As winner of the TS Eliot prize, Sarah Howe follows in the illustrious footsteps of former poet laureate Ted Hughes

Howe's competitors for the TS Eliot prize included Mark Doty, a previous winner of the award and the National Book Award for Poetry.

Also on the shortlist were Selima Hall, Les Murray, Sean O'Brien and Don Paterson.

Previous winners have included poetry grandees Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, and former poet laureates Ted Hughes and Carol Ann Duffy.

Last year's winner was David Harsent for his collection Fire Songs.

Howe, whose mother is Chinese and father English, moved to England as a child.

She has made a name for herself with poetry that grapples with the problems of cultural identity and representation.

She previously won the Eric Gregory Award, for her pamphlet A Certain Chinese Encyclopaedia, and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award for 2015.

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