June 3, 2021

Kevin MacNeil

Kevin MacNeil is a multi-award-winning author (novelist, playwright, screenwriter, poet), editor, and lecturer. Born and raised on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides in a Gaelic-speaking environment, he has translated and published internationally. He's been an External Examiner for various university Creative Writing courses and vivas and has made numerous radio and television appearances nationally and internationally. He was a British Council Writer in Residence at Uppsala University, Sweden, and has taught at Kingston University and the University of Edinburgh. He has written for radio, television and film and collaborated with visual artists and musicians. MacNeil is the author of four novels and several plays. MacNeil’s own poetry collections are Love and Zen in the Outer Hebrides (Canongate, 1998), which won the Tivoli Europa Giovani International Prize in 2000, and Be Wise Be Otherwise (Canongate, 2001). In 2011 he compiled the anthology These Islands, We Sing (Polygon), and in 2015 Struileag: Shore to Shore, an anthology celebrating the Gaelic diaspora.

We're pleased to present this poem in two languages. You'll hear the Gaelic version first, followed by the English one.

May 15, 2021

Rachel McCrum

Rachel McCrum is originally from Northern Ireland and lived in Edinburgh, Scotland between 2010 and 2016. She was the first BBC Scotland Poet-in-Residence, Broad of cult spoken word cabaret Rally & Broad, and recipient of a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship. She has performed and taught poetry and performance in Ireland, Scotland, the UK, Greece, South Africa, Haiti, and Canada. She is now delighted to call Montreal home, where she is the curator of the Atwater Poetry Project, and works full time as a freelance poet, performer, event curator, and arts educator. Her first collection The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate (Stewed Rhubarb Press, 2018) is published in a bilingual edition with Mémoire d’encrier in 2020, as Le premier coup de clairon pour réveiller les femmes immorales. Her practice explores migration, movement and landing; feminism and marginalised voices; and interrogations of emotional and vocal integrity. She is currently working on a new collaborative show, and on her second book, a collection exploring shame. Find out more at https://rachelmccrumpoetperformer.wordpress.com/.

April 26, 2021

Solareye

Rapper, poet, and hip-hop academic Solareye fronts the critically-acclaimed alternative hip-hop group Stanley Odd. He was the winner of Best Hip-Hop at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards 2018 and his debut solo album – All These People Are Me – was described by author Ian Rankin as “a stunning album, the great contemporary Scottish novel in rap form”.

March 22, 2021

Nadine Aisha Jassat

Nadine Aisha Jassat is an award-winning writer and the author of Let Me Tell You This (404 Ink). She has been published widely, including in It’s Not About the Burqa: Muslim Women on Faith, Feminism, Sexuality and Race (Picador), Nasty Women (404 Ink), Staying Human (Bloodaxe Books) and more. She has performed her work internationally and has drawn significant acclaim, including receiving a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award and being shortlisted for the prestigious Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, and was named by Makar Jackie Kay in her International Literature Showcase selection of 10 Compelling ‘BAME’ writers working in the UK, with Kay writing: ‘Hers is a powerful, unforgettable new voice.’ Find out more at nadineaishaj.com

March 8, 2021

Esa Aldegheri

Esa Aldegheri is a multilingual writer and academic from Scotland and Italy. Her poetry has appeared in various anthologies – most recently in Umbrellas of Edinburgh, 2020 edition - and was highly commended for the 2019 Gingko Ecopoetry Prize. Her prose has been published by Granta, Gutter, the Dangerous Women Project and has featured on BBC Radio 4's 'Book of the Week'. She is completing an ESRC-funded PhD at the University of Glasgow, researching forced migration, encounter, integration and story exchange. She is a Lead Reader for Open Book, sharing and making poetry with women from Syria in Edinburgh. She loves reading maps and climbing trees.

February 10, 2021

Andrew McMillan

There aren’t many UK poetry prizes Andrew McMillan hasn’t won. From his debut collection, physical, being the first ever poetry collection to win the Guardian First Book Award, to his second collection, playtime, being a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Autumn 2018, a Poetry Book of the Month in both The Observer and The Telegraph, a Poetry Book of the Year in The Sunday Times, and winner of the inaugural Polari Prize, Andrew’s poetry is widely recognised as some of the most exciting and accomplished work of his generation. He is currently a Senior Lecturer at Manchester Writing School, part of the Manchester Metropolitan University. Over is from his forthcoming collection with Penguin Books, Pandemonium.

Image credit Innes Morrison

January 20, 2021

Roger Robinson

Roger is a writer who has performed worldwide.  He is the winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize 2019 and the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2020, shortlisted for the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry 2020 and shortlisted for The OCM Bocas Poetry Prize , The Oxford Brookes Poetry Prize, highly commended by the Forward Poetry Prize.  His latest collection ‘A Portable Paradise’ was a Newstatesman book of the year. He was chosen by Decibel as one of 50 writers who have influenced the black-British writing canon. He is an alumnus of The Complete Works and he has toured extensively with the British Council.

January 7, 2021

Janette Ayachi

Janette Ayachi is a London-born Edinburgh-based Scottish-Algerian poet. She has been published in over eighty literary journals and anthologies from presses such as Polygon; Seren, Jessica Kingsley London and Salt's 'The Best British Poetry of 2015'. 

She collaborates with artists; engages in numerous projects, performances, readings and exhibitions. Her filmpoems have been selected for screening at festivals and she was the founder and editor of online magazine The Undertow Review bringing art and poetry into a multidisciplinary forum.

​Her essays and poetry have been published internationally, translated into Greek, French and Spanish. She has been Digital Poet in Residence and Sessional Tutor for The Poetry School London, and Visiting Poet on a Teaching Residency for the students of Arcadia University, Philadelphia.

Her first full poetry collection Hand Over Mouth Music (published by Pavilion: University of Liverpool Press) won The Saltire Poetry Book of the Year Literary Award 2019. Janette is currently working on her book Lonerlust: A Poet’s Memoir, a nonfiction narrative about desire and travelling alone searching connections between landscapes, culture and human connection.

Image credit Matthias Kremer

December 14, 2020

Harry Josephine Giles

Harry Josephine Giles is a writer and performer from Orkney, living in Leith. Their collection Tonguit (2015) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and The Games (2018) for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and Saltire Prize for Best Collection. They have a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Stirling.  Their theatre has toured globally, including to Forest Fringe (UK), NTI (Latvia), Verb Festival (Aotearoa) and Teszt (Romania). Their performance What We Owe was picked by the Guardian's best-of-the-Fringe 2013 roundup – in the “But Is It Art?” category. www.harryjosephine.com

December 14, 2020

Tony Birch

Tony Birch is the author of three novels: the bestselling The White Girl, winner of the 2020 NSW Premier's Award for Indigenous Writing, and shortlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Prize; Ghost River, winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Indigenous Writing; and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2012. He is also the author of Shadowboxing and three short story collections, Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People. In 2017 he was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award. In 2021 he will release two new books, a poetry collection, Whisper Songs, and a new short story collection, Dark as Last Night. Tony Birch is also an activist, historian and essayist. His website is: tony-birch.com

This awesome image is Tony's new tattoo, the cover design for Whisper Songs.

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