photo: Hannah Hall Beddoe/Cuts The Mustard
PATRICIA DEBNEY ‘s next book is a memoir, Learning to Survive, about Child Sexual Abuse. She was born in Texas and moved to the UK in 1988, soon after graduating from Oberlin College in the USA; in 1992, she received her MA in Creative Writing from the UEA. Her first collection of prose poems, How to Be a Dragonfly (Smith Doorstop Books, 2005), was the overall winner of the 2004 Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition. She has also published a novel, Losing You (bluechrome, 2007); one of her short stories won the Mathew Prichard Short Story Prize and further short stories were shortlisted for the Asham Awards (as was) and the Cinnamon Short Story Award. Her second collection of prose poems, Littoral (Shearsman Books, 2013) was written while on a residency in a beach hut, becoming a response to her young son’s diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. Her chapbook (Gestation, Shearsman Books, 2014) and her third collection Baby (Liquorice Fish Books, 2016) address parenting, ageing, dementia, mental illness and change. Poems from her collections have appeared in Forward Prize anthologies, The Sunday Times, and most recently in the Best British Poetry of 2015.
In 2016 and 2018, she was commissioned to write the opening poems of the Pride of Britain Awards (ITV), subsequently broadcast to millions. Some of her poems have been set for solo voice and small ensembles, and she has also translated and adapted texts to create libretti for chamber opera. In 2007/08 she was the first Canterbury Laureate. A Reader at University of Kent for 20 years, she currently teaches creative writing at Cambridge University’s Madingley Hall. She has two grown children, and lives in Cambridge with her composer partner.