Jen Hadfield was born in Cheshire in 1978 and lives in Shetland where she works as a poet and as writer in residence for Shetland Libraries. Her first collection Almanacs (Bloodaxe Books, 2005) was written in Shetland and the Western Isles in 2002 thanks to a bursary from the Scottish Arts Council, and it won an Eric Gregory Award in 2003, which enabled her to work on her second collection, Nigh-No-Place (Bloodaxe Books, 2008), in Canada and Shetland. She went on to win the T.S. Eliot Prize for Nigh-No-Place, which was also a Poetry Book Society Recommendation as well as being shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection.
Although an English writer, study residence and travel in Scotland and Canada have been central to Hadfield’s poetry thus far. Kathleen Jamie has called her “a zestful poet of the road, a beat poet of the upper latitudes”, while Tom Leonard described “a quick mind abroad… a cquettish dance of nature’s primal forces… a whole and committed poet”. Hadfield is certianly a nature poet, but a dazzling contemporary one and her work never suffers from the shallow philosophizing or haughty self-reflection which undermines much poetry centred on landscape and travel. Even when set in remote places, her work is infused with colloquial speech, cars, popular music, modern myth.