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Philip Gross (born 1952) is a poet, novelist, playwright and academic, based in Britain.

Philip Gross
Philip Gross at HeadRead festival, Estonia, in 2019
Philip Gross at HeadRead festival, Estonia, in 2019
BornDelabole, Cornwall
OccupationNovelist, poet, essayist
EducationUniversity of Sussex
GenrePoetry, Children's literature, essays
Notable worksThe Water Table


Philip Gross was born in 1952 in Britain, at Delabole, in north Cornwall, near the sea. He was the only child of Juhan Karl Gross, an Estonian wartime refugee, and Jessie, the daughter of the local village school-master. He grew up and was educated in Plymouth. In junior school he began writing stories, and when in his teens he began writing poetry. He went on to study at Sussex University, where he took his B.A. in English. He worked for a correspondence college and in several libraries (he has a diploma in librarianship). Since the early 80s he has worked as a freelance writer and writing educator, subsequently holding posts in several universities.

In the 1980s he and his first wife, Helen, had a son and a daughter. While living in Bristol he began travelling around schools in Britain as a workshop leader and later he joined Bath Spa University to teach Creative Studies. In 2000 he married his second wife, Zélie. In 2004 he was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Glamorgan (now the University of South Wales), a position he still holds. In 2007 he received his D. Litt. from the university. He is a Quaker (member of the Society of Friends).

He won the T.S. Eliot Prize for his collection of poems, The Water Table (2009),[1] a Gregory Award (1981) and the National Poetry Competition (1982).

He has been judge for many poetry competitions - in 2014 judging the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine, the Manchester Writing for Children Prize 2014, the Magma Poetry Competition and the Medicine Unboxed Creative Prize. In the summer of 2015 he was writer in residence at the Poetry on the Move international festival at the University of Canberra.


In 2009 Philip Gross published three books, all of which won major prizes. On 18 January 2010, Gross was announced to be the 2009 winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize for his collection of poems, The Water Table.[1] (Bloodaxe Books). I Spy Pinhole Eye, from Cinnamon Press, with photographs by Simon Denison,[2] was awarded the Wales Book of the Year prize on 30 June 2010.[3] His collection for children, Off Road to Everywhere (Salt) was awarded the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education prize in 2011. Several of his collections have been Choice or Recommendation of the Poetry Book Society, most recently Love Songs of Carbon in 2015.

His earlier poetry collections (since 1983) include The Ice Factory, Cat's Whisker, The Son of the Duke of Nowhere, I.D., The Wasting Game – all collected in Changes of Address: Poems 1980-98. Of his more recent work, the Poetry Book Society selectors wrote, "At the heart of all of Gross's collections has been his deep enquiry into and fascination with the nature of embodiment and existence – what water is and does in The Water Table, the role of language, and speech especially, in identity and the self in Deep Field and Later. Now in Love Songs of Carbon Gross tests and feels his amazed way through the mysteries of the multiple manifestations of love and ageing."

He has published ten novels for young people, including Going For Stone, The Lastling and The Storm Garden (Oxford University Press). He has also written plays, work for radio, a children's opera and most recently (2015) The King In The Car Park, a schools cantata on the death and reburial of Richard III (with composer Benjamin Frank Vaughan). He has collaborated frequently with musicians, painters, dancers and other writers.

His poems and writing about poetry appear in a wide range of magazines and journals. His academic writing investigates the creative process, in particular cross-arts work and collaboration, as in Then Again What Do I Know: reflections on reflection in Creative Writing, his contribution to The Writer in the Academy: Creative Interfrictions, edited by Richard Marggraf Turley (London: English Association / Boydell & Brewer, 2011) 49-70, and Halfway-to-Whole Things: Ecologies of Writing and Collaboration, in Extending Ecocriticism, edited by Peter Barry (Manchester University Press, 2016)



Poetry collectionsEdit

  • 2015: Love Songs of Carbon (Bloodaxe)
  • 2015: Time in the Dingle (IPSI Poetry Chapbook, Canberra)
  • 2015: A Fold in the River with art work by Valerie Coffin Price (Seren)
  • 2013: Later (Bloodaxe)
  • 2011: Deep Field (Bloodaxe)
  • 2010: Off Road to Everywhere (Salt)
  • 2009: The Water Table (Bloodaxe)[7]
  • 2009: I Spy Pinhole Eye (with photographs by Simon Denison) (Cinnamon Press)
  • 2006: The Abstract Garden. Poetry collaboration with engraver Peter Reddick (The Old Stile Press)
  • 2006: The Egg of Zero(Bloodaxe)
  • 2003: Mappa Mundi (Bloodaxe)
  • 2001: Changes of Address: Poems 1980–1998 (Bloodaxe)
  • 1998: The Wasting Game (Bloodaxe)
  • 1994: I.D. (Faber)
  • 1991: The Son of the Duke of Nowhere (Faber)
  • 1987: Cat's Whisker (Faber)
  • 1984: The Ice Factory (Faber)

Poetry for young people

  • 2010: Off Road to Everywhere (Salt)
  • 1995: Scratch City (Faber)
  • 1993: The All-Nite Cafe (Faber)
  • 1989: Manifold Manor (Faber)

Novels for young people

  • 2006: The Storm Garden (Oxford University Press)
  • 2003: The Lastling (Oxford University Press)
  • 2002: Going For Stone (Oxford University Press)
  • 1998: Psylicon Beach (Scholastic)
  • 1991: The Song of Gail and Fludd (Faber)


  1. ^ a b Brown, Mark (18 January 2010). "Colossus of odes: Philip Gross wins TS Eliot poetry prize for The Water Table". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  2. ^ I Spy Pinhole Eye Archived 9 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ BBC
  4. ^ News Glamorgan
  5. ^ NPC Poetry Society Archived 6 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Society of Authors
  7. ^ The Water Table Archived 26 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine