Karen Solie was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and grew up on the family farm in the southwest of the province. She is the author of four collections of poems. Her third, Pigeon, won the Pat Lowther Award, the Trillium Poetry Prize, and the Griffin Prize in 2010. Her latest, The Road In Is Not the Same Road Out, has just been published in Canada by House of Anansi Press, and in America by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. A volume of selected and new poems, The Living Option, was published in the U.K. by Bloodaxe Books in 2013. Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies across Canada, in the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Australia, and has been translated into French, German, Korean, and Dutch. She was International Writer-in-Residence at the University of St. Andrews in 2011, has taught for a number of university writing programs in Canada, and is an associate director for the Banff Centre’s Writing Studio. She is currently based in Toronto.
Damian Rogers was born and raised in suburban Detroit and now lives in Toronto, Canada. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a graduate degree from the Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College. She is the author of Dear Leader (Coach House Books, 2015) and Paper Radio (ECW Press, 2009). She is the poetry editor at House of Anansi Press, the creative director of Poetry in Voice/Les voix de la poésie, the poetry editor at The Walrus and co-host with Jason Collett of the music and literary performance series the Basement Revue.
Originally from Montreal, Canada, Wanda O’Connor is currently pursuing a PhD in Critical and Creative Writing at Cardiff University. Her ‘peripatetic poetry’ is concerned with the contemporary projective and explores notions of pathology and hesitation within the spatial architecture of the page. Recent work is available in “The Best Canadian Poetry 2014” (Tightrope Books) and the chapbook, “damascene road passaggio” (Above/Ground Press). She helps run a poetry reading series in Cardiff.
Megan Fernandes is an American-Canadian poet and academic. She received her PhD in English at the University of California, Santa Barbara and holds an MFA in poetry from Boston University. Her work has been published in the Boston Review, Guernica, Memorious, Pank Magazine and Rattle among others. She is the author of two chapbooks of poetry and one full length collection that just came out this March entitled “The Kingdom and After.” This past year, she was a Visiting Scholar at Concordia University in Montreal, and in the fall, she will be an Assistant Professor of English at Lafayette College and live in NYC.
Penny Boxall was born in 1987 in Surrey and grew up in rural Scotland and Yorkshire. She graduated from the University of East Anglia with an MA with distinction in Creative Writing (Poetry). Formerly the Literature intern at The Wordsworth Trust, she is now Education Officer at Oxford’s University Church, delivering poetry workshops based on the history of Oxford University. Former unusual jobs include documenting Eastern Art (mostly Indian block-printed textiles and Islamic ceramics) at the Ashmolean Museum, and working with tapestries in the Royal Collection, where, in the battle to preserve 17th-century textiles, moths were enemies.
Her debut collection, Ship of the Line, was published by Eyewear in 2014. She won second prize in the 2014 Jane Martin Poetry Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2015 prize. Her poem, ‘What You Mean to Me’, was commended in the Forward Prize in 2014. Her poetry has appeared in The Sunday Times, The Rialto, The Forward Book of Poetry 2015, Mslexia, The Oxonian and The Harlequin, amongst other places. She was an Aldeburgh Masterclass Poet in 2013. She has three times been shortlisted for an Eric Gregory Award, in 2009, 2010 and 2011. She has also been shortlisted for the Aldeburgh Eight programme (close but no cigar), and Ship of the Line was recently reviewed in Magma 61.
She keeps an occasional blog here: https://pennyboxall.wordpress.com/
I was an intern at the Wordsworth Trust from January 2009 until February 2010. During this time I kept a blog journal – with far less dedication and frequency than Dorothy – and wrote many of the poems which appear in my debut pamphlet, Natural Histories (Salt, 2011). Life in Town End belatedly met all the romantic (and disappointed) hopes I had for university; a community of fascinating, creative people sharing ideas and passions with generosity and delight. I return as often as possible, but it is never enough.
I love the hills of the Lake District, perhaps because I originally come from the flatlands of Suffolk, specifically the port town of Felixstowe. I studied at the University of Warwick, first for an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing and then for an MA in Pan-Romanticisms. I have been having my work published in various magazines and anthologies since then, including Poetry London, the Rialto, Magma, Dear World and Everyone In It (Bloodaxe, 2013) and the Best British Poetry 2011 (Salt, 2012). I also review poetry for publications including Warwick Review, Poetry London and Poetry Wales.
Last year I received an Eric Gregory Award and I am working – slowly, very slowly – towards a manuscript for a debut full-length collection. I currently live and work in London and I am constantly planning my escape to Grasmere.
Kim Moore’s first pamphlet If We Could Speak Like Wolves was a winner in the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition in 2012. It was shortlisted for a Michael Marks Award and the Lakeland Book of the Year Award. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2012 and a New Writing North Award in 2014 and her first full length collection The Art of Falling was published this year. Her poem In That Year is currently shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Published Poem. She is one of five UK poets chosen to take part in Versopolis, a European funded project to bring the work of young British poets to a European audience. She works part time as a peripatetic brass teacher.
Apologies to Kim for misplacing her on the event poster, erroneously re-housing her in Grange, when she still lives in Barrow. Sorry not only to Kim, but to the people of Grange, to whom I gave false hope that Kim might live amongst you, and the people of Barrow, for (on paper at least) taking her away. P.
Eileen Pun was born in New York, and now lives in Grasmere, Cumbria where she works as a freelance writer, poet and artist. Her poetry has been published in various anthologies, most recently Ten: The New Wave, Bloodaxe Books (2014). This year Eileen has been awarded a Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship (LUTSF) to China in support of her interdisciplinary work in movement and poetry.
Will Smith (Co-host)
Will Smith is an associate lecturer in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University, and has previously taught American and Canadian Studies courses at the universities of Nottingham and Birmingham. He is a 2014/2015 FASS Knowledge Exchange fellow at Lancaster University.
He holds a PhD in Canadian Literature from the University of Nottingham. His doctoral thesis examined contemporary Toronto writing from Maggie Helwig, Michael Redhill, Dionne Brand and Steven Marche. He has an essay in a newly published edition on Public Poetics with Wilfrid Laurier University Press (edited by Bart Vautour, Erin Wunker, Travis V. Mason, and Christl Verduyn) and two articles forthcoming in the British Journal of Canadian Studies on early twentieth century Toronto writers. He also has an article forthcoming with Luminary which focuses on broader forms of cultural production, addressing the depiction of indigeneity in Justice League United (a Canadian-written and themed American comic book series).
He is currently working on a monograph exploring the literary history of Toronto.