Poet and novelist Helen Dunmore dies aged 64

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The poet, novelist and children’s author Helen Dunmore has died at the age of 64. She had been suffering from cancer.  Her poetry publisher Bloodaxe said that “we are immensely saddened by the news”.

Dunmore was one of Bloodaxe's first writers, publishing her first collection, The Apple Fall, in 1983, and went on to publish all her poetry with Bloodaxe. Her latest collection, Inside the Wave, her tenth book of poetry, appeared earlier this year, and includes poems relating to mortality.

Her poetry collection Bestiary was shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize, and her poem 'The Malarkey' won the 2010 National Poetry Competition. She also won the first Orange prize for women's fiction in 1996 for her novel A Spell of Winter. Born in 1952 in Beverley, Yorkshire, she studied English at York University, and after graduating in 1973 lived in Finland for two years, before moving to Bristol.

Writing in the Guardian earlier this year she said: “A few months ago I was diagnosed with a cancer that has a very poor prognosis. The ground beneath my feet has never been more uncertain, but what is sure is that  … there is no vagueness about my mortality.”

Penguin Random House, who announced Dunmore's death, said she was “an inspirational and generous author" known for "championing emerging voices and other established authors”.

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M.C. Newberry

Fri 9th Jun 2017 17:16

Her range of talent deserved more time to flower and
flourish. The photograph accompanying this news shows
a caring thoughtful person looking out at a world that
was to fade all too soon from her gentle gaze.

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