Jen Hadfield nominated for the Highland Book Prize 2021

The 2007 Dewar Arts Awardee is one of four writers on the shortlist

Dewar Awardee Jen Hadfield has been shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize 2021 for her poetry collection ‘The Stone Age’. Based in Shetland, Jen is a poet and visual artist who has been described as “one of the brightest and most talented poets of her generation working in Britain”.

In 2007, a Dewar Award supported Hadfield to travel to Mexico and research Mexican devotional folk art. This research trip inspired the creation of ‘Nigh-No-Place’, a solo exhibition of Shetland ex-votos in the style of sacred Mexican folk art – ‘tiny, portable, insistently familiar landscapes packed in an array of weathered tobacco tins, incorporating rubrics of very short fiction’.

The following year, Jen published her second collection of poetry, also called ‘Nigh-No-Place’, inspired by her travels in Shetland and Canada. The collection went on to win the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry in 2008, making Hadfield the youngest female winner of the prize. In his role as chair of the prize, Andrew Motion said that ‘Nigh-No-Place’ showed ‘[Hadfield] is a remarkably original poet near the beginning of what is obviously going to be a distinguished career”. His words were proven correct, as Jen went on to win the Edwin Morgan Poetry Prize in 2012, and in 2014, she was selected as one of the Poetry Book Society’s “Next Generation Poets”.

Jen’s most recent poetry collection, ‘The Stone Age’, was released by Picador in March 2021, and has been described by her publisher as ‘an astonished beholding of the wild landscape of her Shetland home’. The collection has now been shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize 2021. Established in 2017, the Highland Book Prize celebrates work that recognises the rich culture, heritage and landscape of the Highlands. Kapka Kassabova, serving on the judging panel for the Highland Book Prize, said of ‘The Stone Age’: ‘In a pantheistic journey of Shetland, Hadfield converses with her environment. The human and more-than-human worlds are perceived to be a seamless whole, and every rock has a voice. This book is a literary, environmental, and spiritual adventure.’

Congratulations Jen – we wish you all the best in the final!

The winning title will be announced at an award ceremony on Thursday 26th May.

Visit the Highland Book Prize website to find out more

Read Jen’s Awardee Profile

If you feel a Dewar Arts Award could support you in your progression as a young artist, or know someone else who might benefit, find out more about how to apply on our Eligibility and Application pages