Helen Tookey

Helen Tookey (b. 1969, Leicester) takes inspiration from the fleeting and vestigial — dreams, overheard stories, works of art and remembered children’s book illustrations all contribute to the eerie landscapes of City of Departures. There is also a strong European dimension, with poems set in Germany, Denmark and France: part of the overwhelming sense of loss arises from Brexit and the consequent ruptures of place and identity.

Tookey lives in Liverpool, where she works as Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at John Moores University. Her previous collection from Carcanet, Missel-Child, was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Prize. The poems she is currently writing arise out of her response to the ecological crisis: poetry, she says, can and should tackle big ideas, ‘but you’ve got to get those ideas across by showing the reader something specific and tangible that they can take hold of.’

Forward Prizes History:

  • 2019 Forward Prizes for Best Collection, shortlisted for City of Departures (Carcanet)