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. A second poetry collection called Tripping Over Clouds is forthcoming with Carcanet / Northern House in early 2019, and I have just started writing my next book of fictionalised travel writing about a year I spent potato farming in Spain. 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 toured 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 co-writing a work of poetry for 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, including tutoring adults for Arvon and primary school children as a Writer-in-Residence for Balloch Community Woodland project / Creetown Primary school in Galloway. 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.