Posted on 04/01/2012
The acclaimed author and poet Jo Shapcott, Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London, has been named the latest recipient of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.
The medal is given for either a body of work or for an individual poem, and counts among its previous recipients WH Auden, who took it in 1936, Siegfried Sassoon and John Betjeman.
Professor Shapcott was chosen for her body of work, including Of Mutability, which traced her experience of breast cancer. She began 2011 by winning the Costa book of the year award for the same collection. Of Mutability explores the nature of change, both in the body and the natural world as well as in human interaction. It celebrates the small wonders of life, acting as a reminder of its transience.
Professor Shapcott said: “I am so touched and delighted - as well as amazed - that my book, Of Mutability, has been chosen for this award.”
Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy called the award "the true crowning" of a career which has also seen Professor Shapcott take the National Poetry Competition twice, the Commonwealth poetry award and the Forward prize. The poet laureate praised the "calm but sparkling Englishness" of Professor Shapcott's poetry, which she said "manages to combine accessibility with a deeply cerebral engagement with all the facets of being human – alert to art and science, life and death."