Poet and Radcliffe Fellow Sarah Howe, whom judges say "brings new possibilities to British poetry," was awarded the TS Eliot poetry prize. As the Frieda L. Miller Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute, Howe won the prize for her collection Loop of Jade, which examines her British and Chinese heritage.
It is the first time in the history of the award that a debut collection has won the prize.
The Poetry Book Society Judge and Chair Pascale Petit said: "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. She brings new possibilities to British poetry."
At the Radcliffe Institute, Howe is working on, "Two Systems," a new volume of poems. The work explores the historical encounter between China and the West and Hong Kong's present struggle for democracy.
Howe is also the recipient of a 2010 Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors, the United Kingdom's most prestigious prize for poets under the age of 30. Physicist Stephen Hawking read her poem "Relativity," which was inspired by her love of science and her exploration of the universe's mysteries, on UK National Poetry Day in 2015.
To experience the Hong Kong–born British poet's recent work, you may watch this reading and presentation by Howe at the Radcliffe Institute: