Maria Apichella

Maria Apichella (b. 1985, Oxford) completed her PhD in English and Creative Writing at the University of Aberystwyth, after combining part-time study with several jobs: ‘Every aspect of life feeds into writing: from teaching to cleaning toilets, to working in a call centre by night to sitting in the Welsh National Library reading Dylan Thomas in rainy afternoons.’

Apichella won the Melita Hume Poetry Prize for the manuscript which became Psalmody. Her interest in poetry sprang from reading the Psalms as a child: ‘I was given a grown-up Bible aged seven’. Their influence lives on: ‘I used Psalm-like rhythms, metaphors and images, gaining inspiration from the human body, food and place.’

Psalmody, while remaining in discourse with the poetry of scripture, is also vividly worldly and contemporary in its depiction of the relationship between the religious speaker and her atheist partner: ‘I love to argue back, / Celtic talker, poet-mouth; you’ll never stop exploring, / taking everything apart like a nerd.’

Forward Prizes History:

  • 2017 Forward Prizes for Best First Collection, shortlisted for Psalmody (Eyewear Publishing)