Local poet on Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist
12:02pm Thursday 17th October 2013 in What's on
POET Jemma L King is the only Welsh author to make it onto the shortlist for the prestigious Dylan Thomas Prize, with her debut poetry collection, The Shape of a Forest.
The collection is a powerful survey of life and of human experience that spans centuries and continents.
After being expelled from school and told she’d ‘never be anything’,
Jemma went on to compete for Miss Wales, do three degrees and win literary awards. Partly this had to do with the tensions caused by her English-Welsh heritage. (She also shares a gene with Ghengis Khan.)
Jemma said: "I feel it all keenly because I grew up in Shropshire to a Welsh mother, and then moved to Wales as a teenager where I encountered prejudice from the teachers for having an English accent.
"From being an A* student I was placed in the remedial classes and blamed for everything that happened in my year group. I began to process my bearing towards my heritage as an adult, and found myself learning the history and gaining an appreciation."
Much of this finds its way into her debut collection, which spans the breadth of the marriage of Wills and Kate, to the trade of exotic animal parts for medicine, via musings on love and relationships...
A previous winner of the Terry Hetherington Young Writer of the Year Award (2011), Jemma published her collection to critical acclaim in June, and is one of only two poets on the shortlist.
She teaches creative writing and literature at Aberystwyth University, where she also completed her doctoral thesis, and she is a founding member of the Centre for Women, Writing and Literary Culture.
The Dylan Thomas Prize celebrates and showcases the best young writers under 30 from across the world and is one of the richest literary awards, offering £30,000 to the winner.