T.S. Eliot Prize Competition Process

Each T. S. Eliot Prize entry is checked for adherence to our competition guidelines. A clerk enters contact information for each entrant in our database. Any identifying material such as an acknowledgment page, dedication page, cover letter, or biography are removed from the manuscript and retained in our office. The manuscripts are sent blind to a paid screener. We do not use students or interns for the screening or judging process.

The screener selects about 50 manuscripts to send to a final judge. These manuscripts must reflect a fair gender representation of the total manuscripts received. (We typically receive 40 to 45 percent from females and 55 to 60 percent from males.) The final judge is a well-known poet selected to give some diversity of gender, ethnicity, and aesthetics.


  • We confirm the receipt of a manuscript if a self-addressed envelope or postcard is submitted with the entry.
  • We inform the finalists and the winner by email, phone, or mail.
  • We announce the winner and finalists by February of each year on our website and notify all entrants by email.
  • We send either a print or electronic copy of the winning book to all entrants by the end of the year.