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Selima Hill grew up in a family of painters in farms in England and Wales, and has lived in Dorset for the past 30 years. She received a Cholmondeley Award in 1986, and was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Exeter University in 2003-06. She won first prize in the Arvon International Poetry Competition with part of The Accumulation of Small Acts of Kindness (1989), one of several extended sequences in Gloria: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2008), which also includes work from Saying Hello at the Station (1984), My Darling Camel (1988), A Little Book of Meat (1993), Aeroplanes of the World (1994), Violet (1997), Bunny (2001), Portrait of My Lover as a Horse (2002), Lou-Lou (2004) and Red Roses (2006). Violet was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was shortlisted for all three of the UK's major poetry prizes, the Forward Prize, T.S. Eliot Prize and Whitbread Poetry Award. Bunny won the Whitbread Poetry Award, was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was also shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Lou-Lou and The Hat were Poetry Book Society Recommendations. Her most recent collections from Bloodaxe are The Hat (2008); Fruitcake (2009); People Who Like Meatballs (2012), shortlisted for both the Forward Poetry Prize and the Costa Poetry Award; The Sparkling Jewel of Naturism (2014); Jutland (2015), a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation which was shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize; and The Magnitude of My Sublime Existence (2016).
'Arguably the most distinctive truth teller to emerge in British poetry...Despite her thematic preoccupations, there's nothing conscientious or worthy about Hill's work. She is a flamboyant, exuberant writer who seems effortlessly to juggle her outrageous symbolic lexicon...using techniques of juxtaposition, interruption and symbolism to articulate narratives of the unconscious. Those narratives are the matter of universal, and universally recognisable, psychodrama...hers is a poetry of piercing emotional apprehension, lightly worn... So original that it has sometimes scared off critical scrutineers, her work must now, surely, be acknowledged as being of central importance in British poetry - not only for the courage of its subject matter but also for the lucid compression of its poetics' - Fiona Sampson, Guardian; 'Hill, more than any other English poet, cranks out angry, impotent, abused and richly surreal Britain. And she is very very funny...fresh, fierce and convincing... A mood-swinging voice, talking to itself rather than to the reader, shows how pain and joy transform the material world.' - Claire Crowther, Poetry London; 'Her adoption of surrealist techniques of shock, bizarre, juxtaposition and defamiliarisation work to subvert conventional notions of self and the feminine... Hill returns repeatedly to fragmented narratives, charting extreme experience with a dazzling excess.' - Deryn Rees-Jones, Modern Women Poets