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Pamela Gillilan

Pamela Gillilan

Pamela Gillilan (1918-2001) was an English poet.[1]


Pamela Gillilan was born on 24 November 1918 in Finchley in North London. Her parents were teachers. After school, she joined the civil service, and as a young woman, wrote some poetry and fiction. During the Second World War, she was a meteorologist with the Women's Auxiliary Air Force for RAF Bomber Command in Yorkshire. In 1948, she married David Gillilan. The couple moved to Cornwall, buying and restoring Kilmar House, a derelict grade-two listed house in Liskeard, in 1956. They ran an interior design and furniture restoration business there for many years.[1]

David Gillilan died in 1974.[1] Having written nothing for twenty-five years, Pamela Gillilan now returned to writing poetry.[2] In 1979, her poem "Come Away", an elegy on the death of her husband, won the Cheltenham Festival poetry competition. She was a Poetry Society prize-winner in 1980 and 1981. That Winter (1986), collecting elegies to her husband,[3] was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Poetry Prize.[1]

She moved to Bristol,[2] and taught creative writing at Bristol University and the University of the Third Age. She died on 26 October 2001.[1]


  • Minima. Helston: Menhir, 1982.
  • That winter. Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe, 1986.
  • The turnspit dog: poems. Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 1993. Woodcuts by Charlotte Cory.
  • All-steel traveller: new & selected poems. Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 1994
  • The Rashomon syndrome, Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 1998


  1. Kathleen Jones, Pamela Gillilan, The Guardian, 6 November 2001.
  2. Linda France (1993). Sixty Women Poets. Bloodaxe Books. p. 280. ISBN 978-1-85224-252-7.
  3. Gronow, Michael J. (1999). "Contemporary gendered elegies and the transformation of the postmodern moment". Actas del XXI congreso internacional de A.E.D.E.A.N., Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos: Sevilla 18, 19, 20 diciembre 1997. Universidad de Sevilla. pp. 201–. ISBN 978-84-472-0489-2.

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