Beatrice Garland (b. 1938 Oxford) describes writing as ‘a marvellous part of one’s interior private life’ and cites John Donne, John Clare and Seamus Heaney as inspirations. At school, she was punished for misdemeanours by being forced to memorise poetry. ‘Whole lines and particular individual words themselves became, like sweets, something that could be saved up and enjoyed for their marvellous taste,’ Garland explains.
In 2001, she won the National Poetry Prize. She wrote no poetry for a while afterwards, but focused on her work as an NHS clinician and researcher in psychological medicine. She won the Strokestown International Poetry Competition in 2002 and was shortlisted for the inaugural Picador Poetry Prize. The Invention of Fireworks contains about 50 of the ‘several hundred’ poems Garland has scattered all over the room where she writes.