I’m the published author of three books of poetry and creative non-fiction, and an experienced creative writing tutor, having taught for many years at the Universities of Cumbria, Leeds Beckett, Salford and Strathclyde, and for Arvon and school / community groups. I currently work as a freelance writer, photographer and mountain guide / outdoor adventure tour leader, and I’m available for tutoring, mentoring, editing and residency opportunities
Both of my poetry collections, Leaf Graffiti (2013) and Tripping Over Clouds (2019) are published by Carcanet Press / Northern House. My second book, Through the Weather Glass, published by Knives Forks and Spoons Press in 2015, is a hybrid novel which explores climate change through a ‘fantastic’ combination of fictionalised travel writing, poetry and documentary photography. A new collection called one step forwards and 13 down comes out with Guillemot Press on 6th January 2021, comprising a sequence of poems composed by collaging the clues to Guardian Quick Crosswords! I am currently working on a prose memoir called Waiting for Potatoes which tells the story of a year I spent potato farming while I was in my early twenties, framed by Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, and the contemporary political situation surrounding climate change and Brexit. Other current projects include developing a major digital creative project called Scree which explores the ways we inscribe very human narratives upon the Lakeland Fells (and how we might inscribe these differently!)
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 OBRA Theatre Co on co-writing a work of poetry for physical theatre, and during 2019 collaborated with internationally renowned Kattak dancer Mitul Sengupta as part of the Arts Council funded Dancing with Words project. In addition to my writing, I am a professional photographer, with particular interests in abstract, collage and landscape photography. A solo photography exhibition to sit alongside Tripping Over Clouds is currently under development.
Earlier in my career I worked as an environmental campaigner for organisations like Friends of the Earth and Ramblers Scotland, and I continue to explore environmental themes in my work. 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.