Sarah Howe, a 32-year-old British poet, has won the Sunday Times/Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award for her collection Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus).
Howe was presented with the £5,000 prize at a ceremony at the London Library on 10 December and becomes the award’s 25th recipient.
Presenting the award The Sunday Times literary editor Andrew Holgate called Howe’s first collection ‘a work of astonishing originality, depth and scope’:
Her luminous poetry explores her dual heritage (her father is English and her mother Chinese) and different eras of Chinese culture, juxtaposing these with her own personal experiences. She is a writer always conscious of language; these are poems that are sensuous, subtle, and full of immediacy and resonance.
Holgate’s fellow judges were The Sunday Times chief fiction reviewer Peter Kemp and novelist Sarah Waters, who called Howe ‘a significant literary talent, a very special writer indeed’.
Born in Hong Kong in 1983 to an English father and Chinese mother, Howe was chosen unanimously from an impressive shortlist of leading young writers.
Loop of Jade has gained wide critical acclaim, and has been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Howe was also a recipient of a Society of Authors Eric Gregory Award in 2010.
The newly relaunched Young Writer of the Year Award Young Writer of the Year Award recognises the best literary work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a British or Irish writer of 35 and under.