A Newnham poet who has power to ‘comfort and astonish’ readers is to be awarded The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, Buckingham Palace has announced.
Gillian Allnutt (NC 1968) will receive the 2016 medal,which is awarded for excellence in poetry, from the Queen next year.
She was recommended by the Poetry Medal Committee on the strength of her entire body of work. Her poetry often references the north of England, she lives in County Durham, and she has been credited with having a ‘unique voice’.
Dame Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate, said:”From her first collection published in the early 1980s, Gillian Allnutt’s work has always been in conversation with the natural world and the spiritual life.
“Her writing roams across centuries, very different histories and lives, and draws together, without excuse or explanation, moments which link across country, class, culture and time.
“The North is a constant touchstone in her work; canny and uncanny, its hills and coast, its ancient histories and its people. Her poems progress over the years to a kind of synthesis of word-play and meditation.
“In her work the space between what is offered and what is withheld is every bit as important as what is said. She has the power to comfort and to astonish in equal measure. In her outlook, her imagination, her concerns and her lyric voice she is unique.”
Allnutt said she was ‘truly surprised and delighted’ to be receiving the award.
Her published collections include Nantucket and the Angel, and Lintel, which were both shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.
Previous recipients of the medal include last year’s winner Liz Lochhead, Edwin Morgan, Norman MacCaig, Ted Hughes and Philip Larkin.
The prize was created by King George V in 1933.
Photo credit: Phyllis Christopher