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Welcome to the website of poet and biographer Julia Copus


Poet and biographer Julia Copus is a UK-based writer and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She has won First Prize in the National Poetry Competition and the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (2010). The first three of her poetry collections are recommendations of the Poetry Book Society, an organisation set up by T. S. Eliot in 1953 “to propagate the art of poetry”. Her fourth, Girlhood (Faber 2019),  won the inaugural Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry. Julia’s poem ‘An Easy Passage’ features on the exam syllabus for the EdExcel A’ Level in English Literature and ‘Raymond, at 60’ is part of the Unseen Poetry Preparation Anthology for the same board. Ghost Lines, a cycle of radio poems following the journey of a couple undergoing IVF treatment, made the shortlist for the 2012 Ted Hughes Award.

Critical reception

Julia’s most recent poetry collection, Girlhood (Faber, 2019) received rave reviews. Kate Kellaway, in The Observer, said of it that ‘Julia Copus’s poems are acts of resistance. The material tests its own boundaries to become something new. She is not limited to – or by – personal experience. One of the many pleasures of this phenomenal collection is that you cannot predict the varied ways in which these poems will fly.’ Julia’s 2012 collection, The World’s Two Smallest Humans was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and Costa Poetry award. Mark Lawson chose it as a Book of the Year in The Guardian; and Matthew Richardson, writing in The Spectator, said of this volume that it revealed ‘A master poet at work. With a characterful blend of the heart-felt and the experimental, delivered in language that is never less than pin-sharp, it is one of the most striking volumes of the year’ while Kate Kellaway in The Observer called it ‘a beautiful, arresting, sympathetic collection’.

Children’s poetry

Julia signing books at the North Cornwall Literary Festival

Julia also writes for children and has published several picture books with Faber: Hog in the Fog (2014), The Hog, the Shrew and the Hullabaloo (2015) and The Shrew that Flew (2016). The most recent title, My Bed is an Air Balloon, appeared in the Autumn of 2018. This latest picture book is in the specular form that Julia first developed in her adult poetry, in which the first half of the text is a mirror image of the second so that it’s possible to read the story from front to back or back to front.

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