an award-winning poet whose work draws on her career in museums. Her first collection, Ship of the Line (Eyewear, 2014/Valley Press, 2018), is a cabinet of curiosities, reassembling historical lives from overlooked objects. It won the Edwin Morgan poetry award, Scotland’s largest poetry prize, in 2016. Who Goes There? followed from Valley Press in 2018. Again, historical eccentrics dominated, alongside a developing personal tone and a variety of narrative masks. Her current work, Lights Out, is more inward-searching still, marking a deepening interest in voice. It won awards from the Authors’ Foundation and New Writing North (2019). Penny’s latest project, A Book of Moss, is a narrative drawing on the life of Victorian botanist and moss expert Richard Spruce. It examines obsession and loneliness through a nineteenth-century lens.
Penny’s collaboration with woodblock artist Naoko Matsubara, In Praise of Hands, will be published by the Ashmolean. She has held a number of residencies, including a visiting research fellowship in the Creative Arts at Merton College, Oxford, and fellowships at Hawthornden Castle, Chateau de Lavigny and Cove Park. Her poem ‘A Wedding List’ won the 2018 Mslexia/PBS international women’s poetry competition.
After graduating from UEA with an MA in Creative Writing, Penny worked for museums including the Ashmolean, the Royal Collection, the Wordsworth Trust and the Laurence Sterne Trust at Shandy Hall. She has taught on the Poetry MA at Oxford Brookes and for the Poetry School.