Julia Copus

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Julia Celina Copus
Black and white head and shoulders close up of a female smiling and looking to her left
Copus in 2007
BornLondon Borough of Lambeth, England
EducationDurham University
Notable awardsForward Prize for Best Single Poem; Eric Gregory Award
SpouseAndrew Stevenson (m. 2012)
Charles Barrow (m. 2000; div. 2005)
Official website

Julia Copus FRSL (born 1969) is a British poet, biographer and children's writer.


Copus was born in London and grew up with three brothers, two of whom went on to become musicians.[1] She attended The Mountbatten School, a comprehensive in Romsey, and Peter Symonds Sixth Form College.[2] She went on to study Latin at St Mary's College, Durham.[3]

Copus' books of poetry include The Shuttered Eye (Bloodaxe, 1995), which won her an Eric Gregory Award and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the pamphlet Walking in the Shadows (1994), which won the Poetry Business competition,[4] In Defence of Adultery (Bloodaxe, 2003), The World's Two Smallest Humans (Faber, 2012), shortlisted for both the Costa Book Awards (poetry category) and the T.S. Eliot Prize, and Girlhood (Faber 2019), winner of the inaugural Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry.[5][6] She is known for establishing a new form in English poetry, which she has called the specular form,[7] in which the second half of the poem mirrors the first, using the same lines but in reverse order and differently punctuated.[6]

Eenie Meenie Macka Racka (an original 45-minute play for radio) was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in September, 2003, having been commissioned after Copus won the BBC's Alfred Bradley Bursary Award for Best New Radio Playwright in 2002. In the same year, she won First Prize in the National Poetry Competition with Breaking the Rule.[8][9]

Copus was awarded a Royal Literary Fund Fellowship at the University of Exeter in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and the following year was made an RLF Advisory Fellow and awarded an Honorary Fellowship at the University of Exeter. In 2010, she won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem for An Easy Passage.[10] She has served on the judging panel for a number of literary prizes, including the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Ted Hughes Award, the Costa Book Award, the UK's National Poetry Competition, the Encore Award for best second novel, the Michael Marks Awards and T. S. Eliot Prize for poetry.[9]

Copus has also written four picture books: Hog in the Fog,[11] The Hog, The Shrew and the Hullabaloo (Faber 2015), The Shrew that Flew (Faber 2016) and My Bed is an Air Balloon (Faber 2018).[9]

Personal life[edit]

She lives in Curry Mallet, with her husband, Andrew Stevenson.


Poetry collections[edit]

  • The Shuttered Eye, Bloodaxe Books 1995. ISBN 9781852243388
  • In Defence of Adultery, Bloodaxe Books 2003. ISBN 9781852246075
  • The World's Two Smallest Humans, Faber 2012. ISBN 9780571284580
  • Girlhood, Faber 2019. ISBN 9780571351060

For children[edit]

As editor[edit]


For radio[edit]

  • Eenie Meenie Macka Racka, afternoon play, BBC Radio 4, September 2003
  • The Enormous Radio (based on the short story by John Cheever), afternoon play, BBC Radio 4, July 2008
  • Ghost Lines, a sequence of poems for radio, BBC Radio 3, December 2011
  • The Heart of Hidden Things, on the life and work of Charlotte Mew, BBC Radio 4, November 2019


Selected awards[edit]


  1. ^ "Julia Copus | poetryarchive.org". www.poetryarchive.org. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  2. ^ "Julia Copus || Poet * Children's Writer * Biographer".
  3. ^ "Julia Copus b 1969". Poetry Archive. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Julia Copus - Literature". literature.britishcouncil.org. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  5. ^ Julia Copus wins the inaugural Derek Walcott Prize. derekwalcott.com Retrieved 12 September 2021
  6. ^ a b The Poetry Society (Julia Copus, Apna Ghar Age Concern)
  7. ^ Poetry Forms, Archived from the original on 11 September 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2021
  8. ^ Breaking the Rule' The Poetry Society Retrieved 12 September 2021
  9. ^ a b c "Julia Copus". Poem Hunter. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  10. ^ 'An Easy Passage' The Guardian, 7 October, 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2021
  11. ^ Hog in the Fog (Faber 2014). Retrieved 12 September 2021
  12. ^ Alison Flood (23 October 2012). "TS Eliot prize for poetry announces 'fresh, bold' shortlist". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 October 2012.

External links[edit]