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Second poet withdraws from T. S. Eliot Prize

9th December 2011

John Kinsella has become the second poet to withdraw from the T. S. Eliot Prize in protest of its new sponsor, prompting the Poetry Book Society (PBS) to defend its decision to obtain backing from Aurum Funds.

Alice Oswald withdrew her book Memorial from the GBP 15,000 prize earlier this week after claiming it was not right for a poetry award to endorse an investment management firm and now Kinsella has taken the same stance by removing his collection Armour from the running.

He explained: 'I am grateful to Alice Oswald for bringing the sponsorship of the T. S. Eliot Prize to my attention. I regret that I must do this at a particularly difficult time for the PBS but the business of Aurum does not sit with my personal politics and ethics.'

A three-year sponsorship deal with Aurum was negotiated by the PBS earlier this year following the withdrawal of Arts Council funding and Kinsella said he understood why financial backing was sought, but as 'an anti-capitalist in full form', he could not be part of the prize.

The PBS, which had refused to comment on Oswald's withdrawal, has now released a statement noting that there is a tradition of financial institutions sponsoring literary awards, such as the Man Booker Prize.

'Aurum are respected investment managers whose clients include public sector pension funds and Oxford University,' said PBS board member Desmond Clarke.

Only eight poets are now in the running for the T. S. Eliot Prize, with the winner set to be announced on January 15th.

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