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Poet wins UK’s biggest prize

Kathleen Jamie, poet and lecturer in Creative Writing at the University St Andrews, has won the prestigious Forward Prize for poetry with her new collection, ‘The Tree House’.

The £10,000 Forward Prize is the nation’s biggest poetry prize.

Jamie, who has gained a reputation as one of the leading poets of her generation with her previous books, including ‘The Queen of Sheba’, ‘Jizzen’, and ‘Mr and Mrs Scotland are Dead’, is a previous winner of a Somerset Maugham Award and has twice won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award. She has also been winner of the Forward prize for best individual poem, and a previous nominee for best collection.

Lavinia Greenlaw, Chair of the Judging Panel commented: “In the end Kathleen Jamie’s ‘The Tree House’ stood out as a book which enlarges not only her own oeuvre but the scope and capacity of poetry being written today. In ‘The Tree House’, Jamie explores the natural world, devoting individual poems to birds, trees, and sea creatures. The poems highlight the fragility of human interaction with other living forms..”.

Jamie has commented that humans are everywhere in relationship. She said: “In relationships with our children, parents, partners, friends, students, with the natural world, the past, money, our bodies, the future, death; and the settlements we make with these are always temporary and subject to re-negotiation. Our human fate is to be conscious of being in relationship, always making running repairs.

“Poetry is the place where we consider or calibrate our relationships with ourselves, our culture, our history. However, with the natural world, many of our approaches have been infantalised, or cauterised. So, I wanted to think about encounters with the non-human world, and try to bring myself into right relationship, which is more wranglesome than it sounds.”

A spokesperson for the School of English said: “We are thrilled by Kathleen’s achievement. ‘The Tree House’ is a worthy winner of the Forward Prize. It contains some of Kathleen’s finest poetry to date. It is a richly satisfying collection of poems that conjure up the intimacy of personal encounter and reflection, yet also the universality of the human desire to live at one with other creatures.”

ENDS

Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: Forward Prize Jamie 111004.doc View the latest University news at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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