Abigail Parry

Abigail Parry (b. 1983, UK) worked as a toymaker and seller for seven years, and the poems in Jinx bear a resemblance to dangerous toys or games: patterned surfaces, concealments, trick doors, sliding panels abound. She began thinking seriously about how poems worked when she read Maura Dooley’s ‘History’ for the first time: ‘It fascinated me: you could take it apart, like an engine, and examine every part to see what it was doing; at the same time, it worked a spell, and you can’t see the joins in a spell.’

She used money earned while travelling with a circus to join Maura Dooley’s creative writing MA course at Goldsmith’s in 2008. Parry published her first poems under pseudonyms: ‘I wanted to have the option of jettisoning this or that identity if it didn’t work out.’ In 2016, she won the Ballymaloe Poetry Prize, the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair Competition, and the International Troubador Prize.

Forward Prizes History:

  • 2018 Forward Prizes for Best First Collection, shortlisted for Jinx (Bloodaxe Books)