Philip Gross’s father was a wartime refugee from Estonia. He had been in his early twenties when his native country was occupied – first by the Soviet Union, then by the Germans, then the Soviet Union again between 1939 and 1944 – and like many Estonians, he fled. Living in a Displaced Persons’ Camp in Cornwall, he met and married the village schoolmaster’s daughter, and their son is Philip.
On January 12th, Philip Gross is flying to Tallinn, capital of Estonia, to lead a five-day international creative writing workshop: http://winterschool.tlu.ee/creative-writing-in-english/
Philip’s international reputation has been newly boosted by winning the T S Eliot Prize and Wales Book of the Year, but this visit has a more than academic meaning for Philip, whose forthcoming book of poems, Deep Field*, is about his father’s story, especially his loss of language in old age.
*To be published by Bloodaxe Books in November 2011