Anglia Ruskin alumna wins major poetry award

Published: 30 October 2014 at 00:00

Natalya Anderson, in pink, pictured at the awards ceremony with short story winner Tracey Slaughter, from New Zealand.  Photo by Graham Shackleton.

Natalya delights Creative Writing tutors after scooping £5,000 Bridport Prize

Recent Anglia Ruskin University graduate Natalya Anderson, from Cambridge, has won one of the UK's most prestigious poetry prizes.

Founded in 1973, the Bridport Prize has four categories - poetry, short stories, flash fiction (stories of 250 words or less) and novels - and this year attracted 15,000 entries from over 80 countries.

Natalya, who graduated from Anglia Ruskin earlier this month with an MA Creative Writing, was awarded £5,000 after winning the poetry competition for her work Clear Recent History.

The former ballet dancer, who is originally from Toronto, previously worked as a medical writer, and has written features for Canada's national newspaper The Globe and Mail. For six years, she wrote a column for Dogs Today Magazine in which she interviewed celebrities about their pets.

Natalya said: "I am very grateful to my Anglia Ruskin tutors Laura Dietz, Caron Freeborn, Lucy Durneen, Una McCormack, and Colette Paul for their faith in my writing over the past four years.

"I am also indebted to Anglia Ruskin graduate and poet Kaddy Benyon for her mentorship and guidance over the past year. I plan to do them all proud by working very hard in my pursuit of a career in poetry and short story writing."

Professor Farah Mendlesohn, Head of the Department of English and Media at Anglia Ruskin, said: "We're all delighted by Natalya's success and incredibly proud that one of our alumni has won such a significant prize.

"Our creative writing MA has had numerous successes over the years in both poetry and prose, and we are unique in supporting aspiring writers across a range of genres, from poetry to screenwriting to science fiction to literary fiction."

Renowned poet and playwright Liz Lochhead, who judged the poetry prize, said of Clear Recent History: "I like it because of its structure and the aplomb it demonstrates within it;... because of the cataloguing of very precise details - and for its dynamic moving-on narrative."

Below is the first stanza of Clear Recent History:

I was able to dance but not eat during the first stage
of my recovery. I wrote about this in a notebook
with a faded yellow construction paper cover. I took daily
class in studio G, which was broken into that night
you disappeared, the criminals having cracked parts
of the mirror. The next morning I made a mosaic while warming
up, arms raised in fifth position, head cocked to examine

The Bridport Prize is the flagship project of Bridport Arts Centre and known as a tremendous literary stepping-stone. It was the first step in the careers of writers such as Kate Atkinson, Tobias Hill, Carol Ann Duffy and Helen Dunmore.

The competition is open to anyone as long as the submitted work is previously unpublished. For further information please visit the Bridport Prize website.