HOT OFF THE PRESS (JANUARY 2016) – MY ARTS COUNCIL FUNDING BID FOR AN ART INSTALLATION TOUR OF THROUGH THE WEATHER GLASS DURING 2016 HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL. PLEASE SEE THE INSTALLATION TOUR PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WHAT, WHERE AND WHEN!
I was born in South West Scotland but now live in Todmorden, West Yorkshire where I combine my writing, photography, performance and teaching with my love of fellrunning and cycling the local hills.
My first poetry collection, Leaf Graffiti, was published by Carcanet Press / Northern House in 2013. My second book, Through the Weather Glass, a hybrid novel combining ‘fantastic’ travel writing, poetry and documentary photography, was published by Knives Forks and Spoons Press in 2015. I’m currently working on the manuscript for a second poetry collection called Tripping Over Clouds, forthcoming with Carcanet / Northern House. The variety of my work is reflected in the range of magazines in which it has appeared: Stand, Poetry Wales, The Scotsman Newspaper, Shadowtrain, Nth Position, Tears in the Fence, The Clearing, Green Lettters, Presence, Chroma, Citizen 32, textyle and Poetry & Audience. In 2007 I was shortlisted for the Chroma International Poetry Prize.
In my creative practice I’m interested in the ‘between’ spaces – between words on a page, words and things, experiment and tradition, poetry and prose, and between literature, visual art and performance. Over recent years my interest in a range of different artistic practices has led me to work across and between disciplines and forms. Throughout 2016 I will be touring an interactive art installation version of Through the Weather Glass around book festivals and other public spaces across the UK with the support of Arts Council England and Leeds Beckett University. I am also currently collaborating with internationally renowned OBRA Theatre Co on adapting ‘variations on an urban monotone’ (a sequence from Leaf Graffiti) into physical theatre. My visual art practice usually takes the form of text-art or photography, as seen in Through the Weather Glass. I have designed a number of poetry book covers and I’m currently developing a first solo photography exhibition to accompany the publication of Tripping Over Clouds.
I work as a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Leeds Beckett University. Previous to that I taught at the Universities of Strathclyde and Salford, where I completed my Creative Writing PhD. I have extensive freelance experience of tutoring students of all ages and in May 2016 I will tutor on my first Arvon course with fiction writer Adam Marek. In 2008-09 I worked as Writer-in-Residence for Balloch Community Woodland project / Creetown Primary school in Galloway, creating a pamphlet of haiku / line drawings called The Whinnie Face, poems from which were inscribed in a new poetry stone circle in the local woodland. In 2014-2015 I managed Lumb Bank for the Arvon Foundation. Earlier in my career I worked as an environmental campaigner for organisations like Friends of the Earth and Ramblers Scotland, but I’ve also managed a café, collected recycling, grown potatoes, sold magazines to hairdressers, marketed a rural arts centre, x-rayed the mail looking for bombs and hit broccoli with a big long stick as ways to earn a living. Just because someone has to / I could.