Helen Dunmore

Born in Yorkshire, Helen Dunmore studied English at York University and taught in Finland for two years before publishing her first poetry. She worked as a writer, reader, performer and teacher of Poetry and Creative Writing, tutoring many residential writing courses for the Arvon Foundation and taking part in the Poetry Society’s Writer in Schools scheme. She also taught at the University of Glamorgan, the University of Bristol’s Continuing Education Department and for the Open College of the Arts. She reviewed fiction and poetry, contributed to arts programmes on BBC radio and was a judge for many literary awards, including the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Book of the Year award.

Her poetry collections include The Apple Fall (1983), The Sea Skater (1986), which won the Alice Hunt Bartlett Award in 1987, The Raw Garden (1988) and Short Days, Long Nights: New and Selected Poems (1991). Her novels include Zennor in Darkness (1993), Burning Bright (1994), A Spell of Winter(1995), winner of the first Orange Prize for Fiction, Talking to the Dead (1996), Your Blue-Eyed Boy (1998), With Your Crooked Heart (1999), The Siege (2001), Mourning Ruby (2003) House of Orphans (2006), Counting the Stars (2008) and Birdcage Walk (2017).

She wrote many books for children, including Secrets (1994), which won the Signal Poetry Award, and the novels Brother, Brother, Sister, Sister (1999) and the Zillah trilogy. The first book in the Ingo series of novels for children was published in 2005. The second, The Tide Knot (2006), won the Nestle Children’s Book Prize Silver Medal. In all there are five books in the Ingo series.

Helen Dunmore was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and received honorary doctorates from the University of Glamorgan and the University of Exeter. She was on the Management Committee of the Society of Authors 2002-2005 and was Chair of the Society of Authors 2005-2006. She died in 2017, survived by a step-son, a son and a daughter.