From left to right: Liz Berry, Helen Mort and Sarah Howe
By THEODORA HAWLIN
How does a poet become a poet? Helen Mort – whose debut Division Street (2013) was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Costa Prize – puts her poetic leanings down to the fact she was a lonely child and her parents didn’t own a television. Everything she fed-off was audio, the radio, bed-time stories. She talks fondly about the importance of the Young Foyles Poetry Prize – which she won five years running – and how it helped shape her identity as a writer. “It gave me something better than money – the chance to escape to where talking about poetry was normal”. The prize – an Arvon residential writing course – gave her the chance to engage with other young writers in a safe environment, “an invaluable experience”.