British Poets Withdraw from Literary Prize to Protest Its Hedge Fund Sponsor

A worrisome trend has surfaced for writers who make their meager livings from sporadic literary prizes and public alms: two British poets, Alice Oswald and John Kinsella (update: oops, John Kinsella is Australian), have dropped out of consideration for the T.S. Eliot Prize in poetry because for the first year the prize is sponsored by a hedge fund, Aurum Funds. Unfortunately for the Poetry Book Society, which organizes the prize, it lost its public funding in austerity cuts this year and negotiated its replacement from what Mr. Kinsella refers to as the “very pointy end of capitalism.”

“I regret that I must do this at a particularly difficult time for the Poetry Book Society,” he wrote in a statement. “But the business of Aurum does not sit with my personal politics and ethics. I am grateful to everyone at the PBS for all they have done to promote my work and that of poetry in general.” More at the Guardian.