Distinction in Creative Writing (MSt)
Artist Residency at deFeniks Theater, Belgium
supported by the British Arts Council
Oxford Poetry Library
Book of the Month
for 'how to extricate yourself'
2022 Forward Prize Nomination
for 'a poem in which I use the word 'betoken'
for the first time in my life'
2021 Elgin Award Nomination
for 'how to extricate yourself'
2021 EAL Oxford Brookes Poetry Prize
judged by Will Harris
2020 Mogford Short Story Prize,
judged by Stephen Fry
and Prue Leith
2020 Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize,
judged by Paul McGrane
2017 AM Heath Prize
2018 Hammond House
International Literary Award for Poetry
2018 Short Story Prize by Curtis Bausse
2021 Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge - March
2021 Mairtín Crawford Award for Short Story
2021 Mairtín Crawford Award for Poetry
2020 Mslexia Flash Fiction Competition,
judged by Kathy Fish
2020 Wirral Poetry Festival Competition
2020 Charroux Poetry Prize
2020/2021 Ó Bhéal Five Words Competition
2020 Geoff Stevens
Memorial Poetry Prize
International Poetry Competition
2022 Chad Walsh Chapbook Prize
2022 Hippocrates Prize
2021 Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest
2022 Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Award
2022 Ó Bhéal Five Words Competition
2021 Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize
2021 Aestetica Creative Writing Award
2021 Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize (Single Poem)
2021 Coppice Prize
2020 Live Canon International Poetry Award,
judged by Mona Arshi
2020 Parkinson's Art International Poetry Competition
(Judge's Commendation and Shortlist)
2019 Live Canon International Poetry Award,
judged by Zaffar Kunial
2019 Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition,
judged by Jackie Kay
2019 Blue Nib Chapbook Contest
2018 Yeovil Prize for Poetry
2018 Live Canon International Poetry Award,
judged by Liz Berry
2018 Flash 500 Competition
2018 Frome Festival Short Story Competition
2019 Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award
2018 CRAFT Elements
2021 BBC Short Story Award
2020/21 National Poetry Competition
judged by Neil Astley, Jonathan Edwards and Karen McCarthy Woolf
2021/22 National Poetry Competition
judged by Fiona Benson, David Constantine and Rachel Long
2022 Live Canon International Poetry Award,
judged by Rebecca Goss
2021 Anthology Poetry Prize
2021 The Phare WriteWords Poetry Prize
2021 Acumen Poetry Competition
2021 Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize (Single Poem)
2020 Poetry International Prize
2020 Cambridge Short Story Prize
2020 Yaffle Prize
2018 Mslexia Flash Fiction Competition
Oxford Brookes November 2021 Poetry Challenge
2021 Welter's Micro Fiction Contest,
45th New Millennium Writing Awards
Short Stories Aloud Showcase
Isis Short Story Competition
“In these poems which sing and see from a distance, Laura Theis is in complete control of tone – never forced or rushed, convinced the gentlemen callers will leave having not detected the fire in the grates of the witchy girls.... It is a book of entrances and exits - the astronaut's wife, a lover on the moon – reports from a world where jellyfish are admirable, space and distance present both in the barely punctuated lines and between partner and partner. These poems are resourceful and magical, tracing infinity 'the way bees love to eat / honey but also make honey.'“
- Matt Bryden, Judge of the 2020 Charroux Prize
"I was blown away by how sophisticated and loaded the poems in this book were. Each one feels like it’s a whole story neatly packed onto one page, sometimes even just a few lines."
- Brooke Goodwin, author of Exposed
"A sparkling debut...a small treasure box filled with surprising, unusual jewels."
- Christina Houen, Perfect Words
“How to Extricate Yourself combines vivid narrative, seriousness and delight in language that moves easily between wry imaginative energy and resonant pathos. This is a debut collection of admirable wit and invention, and introduces Laura Theis – already a successful fiction writer - as a poet of distinctive new voice.”
- Jane Draycott, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature
"No one else does weird and tender quite like Laura Theis."
- Kiran Millwood Hargrave, poet and novelist
"Grabbed me not just for the overall quality from poem to poem but also from line to line... I could have read these poems all night and still have read some more."
- Paul McGrane, who selected Laura Theis as the winner of the
2020 Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize
"A witty and playful collection from a gifted poet who blends delicate lyricism with candid confession. An engaging and fresh new voice."
- Anna Saunders, 2020 Wirral Prize Judge & CEO of Cheltenham Poetry Festival
"This is the most beautiful book, poems like magical jewels that sweep you away to fairytale forests and ask all the tricky questions along the way."
- Ali Jones, author of Heartwood and Omega
"Absolutely fantastic stuff. The poems often start off feeling smoothly conversational - maybe charming or whimsical - until the bottom falls out and you see all the rolling depths beneath. It's full of poems that feel like scenes or perspectives from imaginary folktales, as if just around the corners, the whole story is rolling outwards. It's also extremely funny - sudden barbed jokes smuggled in unexpectedly."
- Calum Novak-Mitchell, OUP
'A poem in which I use the word 'betoken' for the first time in my life' foregrounds Artifice (as Veronica Forrest-Thomson meant it) in its title, disavowing the idea of naturalised speech. We know the word "betoken" will appear at some point and that it's not a part of the poet's regular lexicon. So the "little bauble of dust" on the first line shouldn't take us by surprise, but it's still heartstopping. This is a poem built wonderfully - as only poems can be - around contrasts (down/up), internal rhymes ("dripped/dipped") and unusual etymological/aural links ("grave/gravity," "mare/mark") which stretch the texture of language to the point where, when the poet reveals this to be an elegy - for one who made "a mark that betokens/ the death of light" - the commonplace of that sentiment has been entirely aerated, made new and true and sad.
"I made my guiding principle that of memorability. Which stories stayed with me and made their mark, whether by their attention to language and image, or by their originality, or by what they made me think or feel beyond the final sentence. [...] ‘Bird girl’ by Laura Theis is startlingly fresh, with a poetic form and sensibility. This flash made me linger on the beauty of its lines and images, while leaving an indelible emotional impression. [...] [It] has a poetic sensibility along with the essential storytelling of flash fiction."
‘Sleep Lessons from Birds’ recalls Wallace Stevens’ ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’ but brings its own bravura to this method of improvisation. Each of the seven units is a mini-poem in itself, each its own vivid moment, but stacking up overall to make a satisfying whole: a remarkable feat.
"...Wonderfully unearthly interconnected short stories
which, like dreams, one doesn’t want to be pulled away from,
and which seem to hazily, subconsciously echo one another....
Laura Theis writes
with a beautiful and compelling strangeness.
This was a pleasure to read.”
“This immensely enjoyable collection
is intelligently and entertainingly told….
with a light touch, and an essential light-heartedness.
It demonstrates an unusual sophistication
and subtlety of approach.”
"I was pleased to see how many stories had a global perspective and diverse characters. Reading through the stories several times, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the quality and amazed by the inventiveness...
As I see it, The Sad Tagine by Laura Theis is the clear winner.
It's a funny, touching, strong story
that deals with grief in an interesting and ultimately uplifting way.
It also made me laugh. Each time I read it, I liked it more."
"Terrific tale, beautifully descriptive
with a wonderful twist to the standard story form."
A live reading of five poems
at the Mst Creative Writing
Alumni Poetry Reading
at Kellogg College,