Borders poet has bright future after winning £2,000 writing reward

Claire Askew
Claire Askew

A POET who grew up in the Scottish Borders has come one step closer to achieving her dream of having her work published, after being named as the winner of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award.

Claire Askew, who grew up in the village of Town Yetholm in the Scottish Borders and attended Kelso High School, was one of eight lucky recipients of the coveted award, which provides each writer with a cash award of £2,000 and a bespoke professional development package, which can include nine months working with a mentor and networking opportunities with publishers and literary agents.

“I am absolutely delighted to receive this award,” said Claire.” It has given me a huge confidence boost, and I plan to use the time and freedom it will offer me to work on putting together my first full collection of poems.”

Claire’s poetry has appeared in numerous publications including The Guardian, The Edinburgh Review, Dark Horse Magazine, PANK and Popshot, and her work has been twice selected for inclusion in the Scottish Poetry Library’s Best Scottish Poems of the Year anthology (2008/2009). In 2008, she was awarded the Lewis Edwards Award for Poetry, the Grierson Verse Prize and the Sloan Prize for Writing in Lowland Scots Vernacular. The same year, she received the William Sharpe Hunter Memorial Scholarship for her work on the University of Edinburgh’s MSc Creative Writing programme. More recently, Claire won the 2010 Virginia Warbey Poetry Prize, and her debut pamphlet collection, The Mermaid and the Sailors (Red Squirrel, 2011) was shortlisted for a 2010 Eric Gregory Award. She is still a student at the Edinburgh University, reading for a PhD in Creative Writing, and lectures at Edinburgh’s Telford College.