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The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2011

Published 14 December 2011


The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2011

The Queen has approved the award of Her Majesty’s Gold Medal for Poetry for the year 2011 to Jo Shapcott.

Background and Biography
The Poetry Medal Committee met at Windsor on 3 November and was in agreement that Jo Shapcott should be nominated for this year’s award, on the basis of her body of work, including Her Book. Poems 1988-98 (2000) and Of Mutability (2010).

Miss Shapcott was born in London in 1953 and won her first award for poetry in 1982. Since then she has received considerable critical acclaim for her work, winning the National Poetry Competition twice, in 1985 and 1991. Her first collection of poems was published in 1988. She has also been active as a teacher and is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway College, University of London, as well as being closely involved in the Faber Academy in London.

The Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has said: “Jo Shapcott won the Costa Book of the Year Award in 2010 for her collection Of Mutability, but the award of The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry is the true crowning of her career. The calm but sparkling Englishness of her poetry manages to combine accessibility with a deeply cerebral engagement with all the facets of being human – alert to art and science, life and death. Her peers will be very proud and happy for her today.”

History of the Gold Medal for Poetry
The Gold Medal for Poetry was instituted by King George V in 1933 at the suggestion of the then Poet Laureate, John Masefield. Recommendations for the award of the Medal are made by a committee of eminent men and women of letters, selected by the Poet Laureate (Carol Ann Duffy).

The Medal is awarded for excellence in poetry, on the basis either of a body of work over several years, or for an outstanding poetry collection issued during the year of the award. The poems will have been published. The poet will be from the United Kingdom or a Commonwealth realm. The obverse of the medal bears the crowned effigy of The Queen. The idea of the reverse, which was designed by the late Edmund Dulac, is “Truth is emerging from her well and holding in her right hand the divine flame of inspiration – Beauty is Truth and Truth Beauty”.

Media information
Miss Shapcott will be presented with the medal by The Queen in 2012.

For further information please contact the Buckingham Palace press office on 020 7930 4832.

Previous recipients of The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry:

1934 Laurence Whistler
1936 W H Auden
1940 Michael Thwaites
1952 Andrew Young
1953 Arthur Waley
1954 Ralph Hodgson
1955 Ruth Pitter
1956 Edmund Blunden
1957 Siegfried Sassoon
1959 Frances Cornford
1960 John Betjeman
1962 Christopher Fry
1963 William Plomer
1964 R S Thomas
1965 Philip Larkin
1967 Charles Causley
1968 Robert Graves
1969 Stevie Smith
1970 Roy Fuller
1971 Sir Stephen Spender
1973 John Heath-Stubbs
1974 Ted Hughes
1977 Norman Nicholson
1981 D J Enright
1986 Norman MacCaig
1988 Derek Walcott
1989 Allen Curnow
1990 Sorley Maclean
1991 Judith Wright
1992 Kathleen Raine
1996 Peter Redgrove
1998 Les Murray
2000 Edwin Morgan
2001 Michael Longley
2002 Peter Porter
2003 U A Fanthorpe
2004 Hugo Williams
2006 Fleur Adcock
2007 James Fenton
2009 Don Paterson
2010 Gillian Clarke