On 30th January at the Costa Book Awards, Helen Dunmore’s collection Inside the Wave posthumously won Book of the Year 2017. As only the second person to posthumously receive this prize, the award was received by Helen’s husband Frank Charnley and their two children Patrick and Tess.
Inside the Wave reflects on the poet’s cancer diagnosis and looming death with immense honesty and bravery. Including poems that range from heartbreaking to humorous, the whole collection is a meditation on mortality with imagery of the sea and wonder at the world around us. Whilst Helen Dunmore’s poems are poignant, they deal with death in beautiful, humble language and without self-pity. Not a word is wasted; each poem articulates clearly and sensitively her thoughts and visions of the transient position between life and death.
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