Reading from The Mother Country at Hawkwood College, Stroud, UK, June 19
Launch event at Edinburgh's Lighthouse Books, June 19
Helen has passionately pioneered a career as an ecopoet since becoming 'Bard of Bath', in the annual competition in 2003, and her work is now internationally acclaimed and supported by both Arts Council England and the Royal Literary Fund.
Based in S.W. England, Helen grew up in Seer Green, Bucks, a sleepy English village that transformed through her childhood, with fields and cherry orchards bulldozed to make way for housing estates and gated mansions, as the place became prime stockbroker belt.
Helen has degrees in literature from Oxford and Edinburgh Universities, and is an experienced Forest School leader, having run environmental education/outdoor wellbeing projects for over a decade. And whilst her ecopoetry is now taught and studied in several universities worldwide, Helen loves to teach Nature-inspired writing herself. For more details, please visit her Workshops page. And for Helen's online mentoring service, Wild Ways to Writing, click here.
In May 2018 Helen gave the INSPIRE Hay Book Festival lecture, based on her winning essay, 'Is love the answer? Personal and Planetary Welllbeing Through the Lens of Poetry', and she's currently compiling a volume of essays on ecological and literary themes. She's also enjoying her creative explorations of short fiction, working towards a fourth poetry collection and collaborating with Cape Farewell's RiverRun project, researching river pollution in Dorset.
To date Helen has published three poetry collections, Hedge Fund, And Other Living Margins (Shearsman Books, 2012), ECOZOA (Permanent Publications, 2015) and The Mother Country (Awen Publications 2019), which explores legacies of the British Empire, including personal, social and ecological dispossession. Helen toured the UK with her new book over the three month period May-July 2019, giving readings in 12 different locations.
Community arts projects
Helen has collaborated on a range of socially and ecologically oriented projects, and in July 2016 completed a 21 month long residency with ‘Last Tree Dreaming’, which was awarded Heritage Lottery funding to raise awareness of the heritage and future of Selwood Forest in the Somerset market town of Frome, UK.
Birdwatching with a 'Wildlife & Wellbeing' group, May 2018
Environmental education and outdoor wellbeing
Having co-founded Shared Earth Learning in 2010 – a co-operative enterprise running Forest School and outdoor wellbeing groups in Somerset – Helen co-directed the company until August 2020, co-leading groups that have supported hundreds of children, young people and adults to deepen their Nature connection, develop a range of practical skills, and improve their wellbeing.
Whilst based in NE Scotland between 2016 – 2018, Helen led a range of outdoor wellbeing programmes with Earth for Life CIC across Grampian Region. These included Forestry Commission's 'Branching Out', and programmes she co-designed in-house, such as 'Wildlife & Wellbeing', which offered participants the opportunity to engage in 'Citizen Science' by recording and reporting wildlife sightings to local conservation agencies.