Helen lives and works in Dorset where she is Assistant Editor of PURBECK! Journal and on the steering group of The Dorset Writers’ Network. An MA graduate of the Bath Spa Creative Writing programme in 2006, her poetry has been published in the UK (Orbis, The Interpreter's House, Mslexia) and in the US (The Orange Coast Review). A podcast of her prose poems was produced by Literature Works South West in May 2014 and she has also had work included in the Templar 2012 Anthology, Octopus, the 2013 Anthology, Reaching Out, and in This Line Is Not For Turning – An Anthology of Contemporary British Prose Poetry, both from Cinnamon Press. Commissioned by award-winning composer Ian Wilson, her writing has also been set for large-scale choral/orchestral works in Ireland (including for the Opening of the Derry Peace Bridge and a commemorative work for RMS Titanic performed by the Ulster Symphony Orchestra and broadcast on Radio 3). She has short fiction published by Leaf Books and Dad’s Cap was a runner-up in the 2013 Bridport Prize. Online, her work appears in The Irish Literary Review and is also included on Carrie Etter’s Sudden Prose website. A new anthology, Seven, has just been published by ImPULSE Press, featuring several of her poems along with those of six others of her poetry workshop group which is led by Paul Hyland.
Helen Pizzey in 60 seconds
When did you start writing?2004 On an Arvon Foundation five-day residential course in Devon.
What do you love about short stories?I'm passionate about short forms because of their ability to capture snapshots or whole worlds, real or imagined, in so few words. Their compression adds to the intensity.
Do you write in other forms?Lyric and prose poetry, micro fiction and magazine articles.
What distracts you from writing?So-called 'research' and Radio 4.
Outside of writing, what are your other passions?Enjoying the beautiful coast and country by which I'm surrounded. Americana southern rock and roots/folk music.
What is your favourite book?Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles - especially as I now inhabit her terrain.
Who are your favourite writers?The poet Charles Simic for his love of the surreal, Paulo Coelho, Gabriel Garcia Marquez for their magic realism and Raymond Carver for his brevity and wit. Alice Munro for her powers of evocation.
Where is your dream location?Somewhere involving breathtaking mountain scenery, blue seas and sizzling sands.
What one item would you put into Room 101?Supermarket trolleys with wonky wheels.
Do you have any advice for new writers?Read everything you can - even the back of food packets; you never know where an idea may come from. Eavesdrop conversations in cafes and on buses. Write something every day, even if only a diary entry, highlighting any useful thoughts or phrases. Always have a pen and scrap of paper handy to jot down ideas - especially at night; a great idea seldom expresses itself the same way twice!
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