Sunday, 14 January 2018

Canal Laureate 2018

On the Oxford Canal in January
Photo: Paul Preece

I'm delighted to be appointed Canal Laureate for 2018 by the Canal & River Trust and The Poetry Society, following in the slipstream of writers Luke Kennard (Canal Laureate 2016-17) and Jo Bell (Canal Laureate 2013-15).

Over the coming months I will travel the 2,000 and more miles of waterways looked after by the Canal & River Trust -- wherever possible, in my kayak. I will seek out and share stories from the rich history of the waterways, and champion the importance of these 'green corridors' for wildlife. As well as poems featuring people who live and work on the waterways, I will create new collaborative works with other water-loving artists and writers.

My first canal poem, 'Safety Briefing' can be read on the Waterlines website, and subsequent poems will be posted there over the coming months. You can also follow the project on Twitter @CanalPoetry

More details in the announcement from The Poetry Society.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Writer in Residence: Jan Michalski Foundation

Le Voleur de Mots V by Jaume Plensa, in the courtyard of Jan Michalski Foundation

This month I am writer in residence at the Jan Michalski Foundation for Writing and Literature in Montricher, Switzerland. I am grateful for the opportunity to access the rich and remarkable mulitlingual library at the Foundation while working on my translations of Songs from Ammassalik, as well as putting the finishing touches to my memoir The Library of Ice.

(The sculpture shines all night, keeping me company when I have been working late.)

Monday, 9 October 2017

Small Publishers Fair, London

Don't miss this feast of books! 

Friday 10th and Saturday 11th November 2017
Conway Hall, London 
11am - 7pm

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Autumn reading: printmaking and poetry in the north

For the last few months I've been absorbed in work on a new book, but even so there has been a little time for other things. I particularly enjoyed writing an article on the connections I find between kayaking and writing, published in the summer issue of Poetry News. Other work includes:
  • A catalogue essay for Blue Hours, an exhibition to mark the close of Lucy May Schofield's year-long residency with Visual Arts in Rural Communities in Northumberland National Park. (Republished online in The Double Negative; image above: Khosro Adibi.)
  • A review of the Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum in RA Magazine
  • An interview with Scottish poet Macgillivray in Oxford Poetry magazine.
  • An essay on my live lit project The Polar Tombola in The Blue Notebook: Journal of Artists' Books.
  • Reviews of titles on book design by Carol Twombly and Jhumpa Lahiri in the Times Literary Supplement.
The highlight of the winter for me will be the Tove Jansson exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery, opening on 25 October. I'm delighted to see Jansson accorded this honour, and look forward to a new perspective on her work.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Institute of Gunnar Gunnarsson, Iceland

During September and October I am Writer in Residence at Skriuðuklaustur, near Egilsstaðir in East Iceland.  Skriuðuklaustur is the former home of Iceland's much-loved novelist Gunnar Gunnarsson, who donated it to the nation in 1948, with the proviso it should be a home for literature. (You can read more of the history and architecture of this fascinating and unusual Icelandic building here.)

During my time here I'm researching glaciers for my forthcoming book The Library of Ice. The vast Vatnajökull glacier is not far from Skriuðuklaustur, and as well as enjoying the peaceful writing environment, I've been participating in some more active research out on the icecap. 

Monday, 25 September 2017

Borrowed Bookshelves 16

The Institute of Gunnar Gunnarsson, Skriðuklaustur, Iceland

Friday, 22 September 2017

Borrowed Bookshelves 15

The author Þórbergur Þórðarson’s library from his Reykjavik home
recreated at The Þórbergur Centre, Hali, Suðursveit, Iceland