Laura Iréna Potts (born 16 February 1996) is a British poet and writer of radio drama.

Early Life

Laura was born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire and grew up in the village of Horbury. She is the only child of George Potts, a ships’ joiner, and Jane Finch. Her mother, a pianist, earned a place at Leeds College of Music whilst her father was a bagpiper with Newcastle City Pipeband during his younger days. She is of English, Scottish and Irish descent.

Laura was educated at Wakefield Girls’ High School (2007–2014) and read English, History and Classical Latin to her final year. She was a quiet and conscientious student, gaining three A*s in her A-Levels. She received the Year Prize, the English Literature Prize, the Classics Prize and the Memorial Prize for Poetry upon leaving.

Laura chose to read English at The University of York, where she spent ‘two years always moving somewhere but going nowhere’. Restless and malcontent in higher education, she briefly moved to Swansea to work at The Dylan Thomas Birthplace and write for The Dylan Thomas Society, choosing to leave university on her return. Laura has since praised her bravery in leaving an academic path which ‘gave [her] no growth and very little hope’.

Writing Career

Laura began to write poetry at an early age, winning The Foyle Young Poets Award twice during her school days. She has credited her grandmother for her love of reading, and Dylan Thomas, Carol Ann Duffy and E.E. Cummings as early influencers on her work.

In more recent years, Laura's poetry has appeared in Agenda, The Moth, The Poetry Business Book of New Poets, Aesthetica, Poetry Ireland Review and Poetry Salzburg Review. She has made appearances on BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Radio York. As one of the BBC's New Voices in 2017, she was commissioned to write radio drama for BBC Radio 3. Her first production, North and Mourning, featured the voice of Carnegie-Medal winner Berlie Doherty. The piece was broadcast on The Christmas Verb alongside work from Carol Ann Duffy and Hollie McNish.

Laura has been the recipient of several awards including The Foyle Young Poets Award, The Bristol Poetry Prize, The Mother's Milk Writing Prize and The Maria Edgeworth Prize for Poetry in Ireland. She received nominations for The Pushcart Prize in 2017 and a commendation from The Poetry Society in 2018. She is a member of The Writing Squad and taught poetry at Winchester College in 2018. Her most recent commissions include BBC Radio, The International Anthony Burgess Foundation and The King's Chapel in London.

Laura was nominated for The Forward Prize and longlisted for The Brotherton Poetry Prize in 2019.