Jemma was born in suburban Essex. Her mother was a school teacher and her father a mathematician. She studied zoology at Oxford, where she also completed a doctorate in human evolutionary genetics. She then worked for several years as a science editor and as a research manager in the voluntary sector.
After winning the New Writing Ventures Award for Poetry in 2007, she received a Leighton Artists’ Colony Residency in Banff, Canada to write her first collection, The illuminated world (Eyewear, 2014) which was the winner of the inaugural Fledgling Award for best first collection published by a poet over 40 and contains work that was highly commended in the Forward Prize. She won The Rialto/RSPB Nature and Place Competition in 2017, followed by the inaugural Ginkgo Ecopoetry Prize in 2018, and she has won or been shortlisted in competitions including the Mslexia Women’s Poetry Competition, the Winchester Poetry Competition, the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize, the Jane Martin Poetry Prize, The Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Competition and The Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition. She has had work nominated for Best of the Net, was awarded an Arts Council Grant in 2014 and has had poems translated into German (lyrikline) and Romanian. Her second collection, Wilder, is published by Pavilion Poetry and won Third Prize in the Laurel Prize 2022 and is shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize 2022.
She lives just outside Tunbridge Wells in the East Sussex Weald.
‘One of the fascinations of (Borg’s) work is witnessing how an impressive poetic control interrogates the unknowable. The writing is meticulous – both adamantine and sensuous – folding a touch of the ascetic into its own unabashed aesthetic. She has something of the dazzle of Wallace Stevens’Julian Stannard, The Poetry Review
‘Borg is a writer to watch. Her poems take us into genuinely new places, with great care and precision, step by step.’Carol Rumens, Poetry London, autumn 2007, reviewing I am twenty people (Enitharmon, 2007).