Page last updated at 08:44 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Surprise winner for poetry prize

Jen Hadfield

Jen Hadfield has unexpectedly won the 2008 TS Eliot Prize for Poetry with her second anthology Nigh-No-Place.

The 30-year-old, who has lived in Scotland and Canada, was called "a remarkably original poet" by judges' chairman Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate.

She was presented with a cheque for 15,000 at a ceremony at the Skinner's Hall in London.

The recent death of poet and fellow nominee Mick Imlah at the age of 52 was also marked at the occasion.

'Distinguished career'

Scottish writer Imlah, who made the shortlist with The Lost Leader, his first collection for 20 years, had been suffering from motor neurone disease.

His work won the 10,000 Forward Prize for Poetry in October and was seen as a likely winner of the TS Eliot honour.

The chair of the Forward judging panel called Imlah's work "quite brilliant".

Motion said Hadfield, who lives in Shetland, was "near the beginning of what is obviously going to be a distinguished career".

The Independent said her anthology, with its "smattering of Shetland dialect", has an ability "to blow some of the dust off British verse".

Other poets whose work was shortlisted for the prize included Belfast-born Ciaran Carson and Mark Doty, who won the honour in 1995.

The TS Eliot Prize is organised by the Poetry Book Society, which was founded by Eliot in 1953.

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