Consists of the working papers and correspondence of the poet Selima Hill.
Hill (Selima) Archive
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Selima Hill (née Wood) was born in 1945 in Hampstead, London, into a creative family; both her parents were artists, as were her grandparents. She lived in various rural locations in England and Wales during her childhood, and went to boarding school before winning a scholarship to study Moral Sciences at New Hall College, Cambridge in 1965. After marrying in 1968 and starting a family in the 1970s, Selima published her first collection of poetry, Saying Hello at the Station, in 1984.
After winning the Cholmondeley Award for Poetry in 1986, Selima won the Arvon International Poetry Competition in 1989 for parts of her collection The Accumulation of Small Acts of Kindness, first published in 1988. In 1997, her collection Violet was shortlisted for three British poetry awards: the Forward Prize, the T. S. Eliot Prize, and the Whitbread Poetry Award. She was also shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize for her 2001 collection, Bunny, which won her the Whitbread Poetry Award. Her work has been recognised numerous times by the Poetry Book Society; her collections Violet (1997) and Bunny (2001) were both Poetry Book Society Choices, and her collections Lou Lou (2004) and The Hat (2008) were also Poetry Book Society Recommendations. Her pamphlet collection Advice on Wearing Animal Prints (2010) won the Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets, and her 2012 collection People Who Like Meatballs was also shortlisted for the Forward Prize and Costa Poetry award. Two of her latest collections, Jutland (2015) and The Magnitude of My Sublime Existence (2016) have also been shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize, and she received a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation for Jutland.
Selima has held various posts related to her work as a poet. In 1991, she was awarded a Writing Fellowship at the University of East Anglia, and was writer-in-residence at the Royal Festival Hall in 1992, and at the Science Museum in London in 1996. She has taught creative writing courses at hospitals and at HMP Norwich, and also been a tutor at Exeter and Devon Arts Centre in the 1990s. Selima taught at the Poetry School and Poetry Library in London's Southbank Centre in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and edited the collection Jumping Over Trees: Poems From the Poetry Library, London, published by the Poetry Library and Royal Festival Hall Education in 2000. During 2003–2006, Selima was awarded a Royal Literary Fund fellowship at the University of Exeter.
Selima also has undertaken various collaborative ventures during her career, exhibiting multimedia works at the Imperial War Museum, and working on projects with the Royal Ballet, Welsh National Opera, BBC Bristol, and British Council amongst others. Selima has regularly exhibited with artists, and in 2007, she worked with composer James Barrett and sculptor Bill Woodrow on an OperaGenesis project entitled Beekeeper, which took the form of a multimedia dance opera for which she wrote the libretto.
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