Night Sky With Exit Wounds, the debut collection by Ocean Vuong has won the most prestigious accolade the TS Eliot prize. Vuong is the first literate person in his family, hailed as ‘the definitive arrival of a significant voice’.
Vuong is only the second debut poet to win the TS Eliot prize, two years after Sarah Howe became the first, winning for Loop of Jade in 2016.
Chair of judges Bill Herbert called Night Sky With Exit Wounds “a compellingly assured debut, the definitive arrival of a significant voice”.
“There is an incredible power in the story of this collection,There is a mystery at the heart of the book about generational karma, this migrant figure coming to terms with his relationship with his past, his relationship with his father and his relationship with his sexuality. All of that is borne out in some quite extraordinary imagery. The view of the world from this book is quite stunning,”said Herbert.
Vuong was the only non-white poet listed, in a year when several poets of colour had been nominated for and won other big poetry prizes.