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Faber award-winning poet Emily Berry (Dear Boy, 2013) – the 2014 judge for Eyewear’s Melita Hume Poetry Prize (now in its third year) – has chosen East London poet and model Amy Blakemore (pictured below) as the winner, from an international shortlist of 11. The prize – the richest of its kind – also comes with guaranteed publication and launch in spring 2015 from the indie publisher known for its stylish hardcovers and international roster of talent. Any poet living in the UK or Ireland 35 years or under at time of entering is eligible – the prize is for the best full, original and unpublished collection of poetry submitted in that year.  Previous winners include Granta-listed poet Caleb Klaces and Scotland’s Marion McCready.
Amy Blakemore was born in Deptford, London in 1991. She started writing poetry at the age of fifteen, “primarily out of spite” she says. She was named a Foyle Young Poet of the Year twice, in 2006 and 2007, and read English Language & Literature at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. Her work has been published in a number of magazines and zines, and is featured in Bloodaxe’s zeitgeist anthology, Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century (2009). The Guardian has named her one of ‘Top Ten Rising Stars of British Poetry’. Last year she performed her poetry at a BBC Prom Plus event at The Royal Albert Hall. Blakemore is a model with the Anti-Agency. She lives in East London.

Judge Emily Berry says in her judging statement: “Amy Blakemore’s collection Humbert Summer had my attention from the outset; the more I returned to it, the more it hooked me in (and by the way, it has claws). This is a book written in a rebellious spirit – playful, defiant, sure of itself – a burst of quickfire poems delivering twisted despatches from modern life. Blakemore’s voice is that of an anti-heroine who isn’t shy to show her hand – a hand that might have nails like ‘bright important spikes’, contain ‘chipped glass’ or sometimes wield a knife. The poems seem to speak for a generation bored of its idols, somehow turning disaffected youth’s trademark ennui into something altogether more celebratory. Bad dreams become good ones. ‘know that i am serially unkind / to those that love me’, the poet warns – it’s worth the risk.”

Blakemore responded to the news: “I'm delighted to have been named the winner of the Melita Hume Prize - particularly as the prize was judged by Emily Berry, whose work I love. Eyewear publish beautiful books, and having my debut full-length collection published by them will be a real honour.”


AMY BLAKEMORE will be presented with her prize at the London Review Bookshop 21 may, at 7 pm, where she will read a few poems from her brilliant debut.
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