Helen Mort, a 29-year-old British poet, has won this year’s Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection prize, conferred at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, for her collection Division Street. Helen Mort is already a multiple prize winner, five times winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award, recipient of an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and winner of the Manchester Young Writer Prize for 2008. Division Street has already attracted some glowing reviews elsewhere.
According to the conditions of entry, “any first collection of at least 40 pages with primary publication in the UK and Republic of Ireland between 1 August 2013 and 31 July 2014 is eligible. Submissions can be from publishers or individual poets,” although “books originally published overseas but with UK distribution are NOT eligible.”
Prominent online poetry critic and poet Anthony Wilson, one of the judges for the competition, writing in his blog, said of the collection: “Division Street is properly and richly ambitious, speaking to culture now in a way that is both eerily prescient (‘Seven Decapitations’) and a mirror to what has been lost (‘Scab’, ‘Pit Closure as a Tarantino Short’). That the book achieves this so consistently, and on so many levels – personal, psychological, historical – without ever sounding less than natural is a cause for celebration.”