As the youngest winner of the T S Eliot Prize, at 30, Jen Hadfield is also a relative newcomer. The £15,000 cheque that she collected on Monday has previously been awarded to Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy and Ted Hughes – though never to Andrew Motion, the chair of this year's judges.
Announcing her win, Motion described Hadfield's poetry collection, 'Nigh-No-Place', as "a revelation; jaunty, energetic, iconoclastic – even devil-may-care". Born in Cheshire, with an English father and a Canadian mother, Hadfield studied English at Edinburgh University, where she worked with the novelist and poet Robert Allan Jamieson.
In 2002 she received a Scottish Arts Council Writer's Bursary, and in 2003 she won an Eric Gregory Award which she used to fund a year in Canada. Four years ago she moved to Shetland, a place and dialect which informs much of her poetry. A stint in a fish-packing factory to makes ends meet resulted in a poem about haddock and their "gut worms".