We are shocked that the Arts Council has decided to withdraw all funding from the Poetry Book
Society, a widely respected and unique organisation that selects outstanding poetry collections for
readers and libraries. The Society also administers the annual T.S. Eliot Prize, perhaps the most
respected award for new collections of poetry in English, and has supported works in translation.
The PBS was established by the Arts Council at the suggestion of Sir Stephen Spender and both T.S.
Eliot and Philip Larkin have served on its board. Its selectors have included our most highly
regarded critics, academics and poets over the past fifty years. Thousands of people have been
introduced to outstanding works of contemporary poetry, and poetry publishers have been given access
to much wider readerships. The most recent readings by short-listed poets for the T.S. Eliot Prize
staged at the Royal Festival Hall attracted the largest ever British poetry audience for many
We ask the Arts Council urgently to reconsider their decision which will have a devastating impact
on poets, publishers and, especially, on readers of contemporary poetry.