Suffolk-born Laura Helyer’s long-term ambition is to become a published writer of poetry and literary fiction. She recently completed an M.Litt in Creative Writing (poetry) with distinction from St Andrews and is now working towards a PhD.
Laura moved to Dumfries in Galloway in 2005. Whilst there, her poem sequence ‘Camera Obscura’ was the joint winner of the Kirkpatrick Dobie prize. Following this success, Laura was invited to participate in a poetry scheme which involved being mentored to produce a collection of poems for a public reading and being paired with an established poet to perform her poems. Laura read with the well-known poet Adrian Mitchell, who was greatly impressed with her work.
Other achievements include in 2006 being runner-up in the prestigious Cardiff International Poetry Competition with her poem ‘The Heron’ and in 2005 having her short story ‘Green Angel’ commended in The Eildon Tree magazine writing competition and subsequently published in their anthology. More recently in 2007, Laura won first place in the Kirkpatrick Dobie Poetry Prize and second place in the Muriel Carmichael Prize (for prose essay).
Laura is considered to have the potential to become an important voice in British poetry as her work becomes more widely published. Already she has shown to have unusual talent combined with intelligence and an ability to write with a language of precision and rare sensitivity.
How the Award Helped
The Dewar Arts Award is providing financial support while Laura works on a series of poems and on a novel.
Since the Award
Laura writes, "[A] Dewar Award has enabled creative time, space and opportunities for which I have been extremely grateful." Laura has sent her first collection of poetry, including a sequence of poems about the artists Joan Eardley, to a publisher. She lives in Dumfries & Galloway where she is an active member of the writing community.