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New Writer 2022: Helena Fornells Nadal


Helena Fornells Nadal is a Catalan poet based in Edinburgh, where she works as a bookseller. Her poems have appeared in Harana PoetryFinished CreaturesThe Interpreter's HouseDATABLEED, and the anthologies The Evergreen: A New Season in the North and New Writing Scotland. In 2018, she won the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition (EAL), judged by Kayo Chingonyi.

In 2021, Helena spent a month writing at Can Serrat International Art Residency, in Catalonia, and worked on a collaborative poetry installation exhibited at Allanbank Mill Steading in the Scottish Borders.

As a poet who writes in English as a second language, Helena is interested in work that shows idiosyncratic and non-idiomatic uses of syntax and is currently working in the lyric essay form as well as poetry.

Writing sample

The Fall

on the boat    ​with a brother
with a father    ​on the sea
in the sea    ​rock below brother
on the island    ​a tower and trees
from the woods    ​to the sand
with the boat    ​on the beach
from the tower    ​to the father
after the father    ​towards the sea
dark green woodlands    ​on the island
with a fire    ​on the beach
a few branches    ​under the father
on the boat    ​with a machine
made of wood    ​towards the island
from the tower    ​to the trees
after a red ladder    ​a father
heavy rain    ​under the trees
with a knife    ​towards a father
with a brother    ​to the beach
iron ladder    ​up the tower
on the island    ​with one fish
an iron boat    ​and a rowboat
chopping wood    ​from the trees
in the night    ​on the island
on the beach    ​with the father
on the rowboat    ​​with a body
        with his body
        in the sea

Helena says:

'I've found writing very difficult throughout the pandemic. This award has given me new motivation to keep working hard at the thing I love, as well as providing a sense of community – it's such an honour to be part of this year's New Writers Awards group of writers and I can't wait to meet everyone.'