Professor’s prestigious literary prize

Professor John Burnside,  award winning poet
Professor John Burnside, award winning poet

AN EAST Neuk professor has won what is regarded as the highest accolade in British poetry.

Professor John Burnside, of St Andrews University’s School of English, has received the T. S. Eliot Prize.

He scooped success amid a heavyweight shortlist, including Britain’s Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, and British writer, Sean O’Brien, to pick up the £15,000 prize for his collection, ‘Black Cat Bone’.

The professor was presented with the cheque in London by Valerie Eliot, widow of the poet, who has funded the award since its launch 18 years ago.

The T. S. Eliot Prize was described by former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion as “the prize most poets want to win”.

Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney are among previous recipients.

It is awarded annually by the Poetry Book Society to the best collection published in the UK and Ireland.

Professor Burnside, who lives near Arncroach, is a former winner of the Forward Prize, Geoffrey Faber Prize, Whitbread poetry prize, Saltire Book of the Year Prize and Sundial/SAC non-fiction book of the year award.