Jen Hadfield was born in Cheshire, England, to Canadian and British parents. She earned her BA from the University of Edinburgh and MLitt in creative writing from the University of Strathclyde and the University of Glasgow, where she worked with the poet Tom Leonard. Hadfield’s first collection, Almanacs (2005), explored Canadian and Scottish topography, in particular the Shetland Islands where Hadfield still lives, paying special attention to how dialects and local languages emerge from landscapes, labor, and encounters with other cultures. For her second book, Nigh-No-Place (2008), Hadfield won a T.S. Eliot Prize, making her the youngest poet ever to do so. Of both books Hadfield has written, “the poems are united by my fascination with spoken language and by themes of wildness and subsistence; fretting over what it means to be 'no-place' and what it means to make yourself 'at home.'” Her third collection is Byssus (2014).
Hadfield is also a visual artist and bookmaker. In 2007, she received a DeWar Award to travel to Mexico and study Mexican devotional folk art. She is a member of the artists’ collective Veer North and provided photographs for the collaborative artists’ book The Printer’s Devil and the Little Bear (2006). Hadfield’s honors and awards include an Eric Gregory Award, a Scottish Arts Council Bursary Award, and residencies with the Shetland Arts Trust and the Scottish Poetry Library. In 2014, she was named one of 20 poets selected to represent the Next Generation of UK poets. Hadfield currently lives in the Shetland Islands, where she is reader in residence at Shetland Library.
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