News 2020

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An Out-Spoken Book of the Year

Poet Andrew McMillan selected ‘Return by Minor Road‘ as one of his Books of the Year for Out-Spoken London.

It’s a real honour to be included in this list. My book is in incredible company, alongside some of my poetic heroes and heroines.

McMillan says:

‘I’d like to mention one book which moved me to tears, Return by Minor Road, by Heidi Williamson (Bloodaxe): a stunning and heart-breaking look at the Dunblane massacre, the way grief can infuse a place, and what the aftermath (in the literal sense of the beginnings of a new growth) of such an event feels like in such a close-knit community.’

Out-Spoken London Books of the Year
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Review of Return by Minor Road by poet Martyn Crucefix

On the Side of Hope: Heidi Williamson’s ‘Return By Minor Road’

This considered and insightful review of my collection by poet and reviewer Martyn Crucefix moved me a great deal. I was so heartened that he responded to the quiet respectfulness of the poems, and understood the impetus behind the choices in the book.

Continue reading Review of Return by Minor Road by poet Martyn Crucefix

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First interview about my new collection, for MONK journal

This interview is the first time I’ve really talked about the process of writing my new Bloodaxe collection ‘Return by Minor Road’, about living in Dunblane.

Thanks to the poet Christopher James for insightful and sensitive questioning. And to MONK arts journal for publishing it.

Continue reading First interview about my new collection, for MONK journal

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Poetry in Aldeburgh reading and workshops

I’m so pleased to be reading at a virtual event for Poetry in Aldeburgh on Sunday 15th November at 12 noon. The Aldeburgh poetry festival is a firm fixture in my poetic year, and though I’m sad not to be heading to the coast to enjoy the company of poets from all over while listening to amazing work, I’m so glad the Festival will go ahead with an online celebration and enjoyment of contemporary poetry.

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Three reviews of Return by Minor Road

I’m grateful for the attention reviewers draw to collections, whatever they make of them. So often I find a book I want to read because someone has made me aware of it and interested in what the writer has to say.

During lockdown reviews have been scarcer as many arts and literature establishments abandon their offices and everyone works from home. It’s harder to get books physically to people, and many reviewers are on furlough, and/or overwhelmed with adapting to our changing circumstances.

So I’m very grateful for three recent reviews of my latest collection from Bloodaxe. Each reviewer has their own particular take on ‘Return by Minor Road’, and it’s really interesting to see how the work comes over to different readers. Continue reading Three reviews of Return by Minor Road

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Film of me reading ‘Place’ for the Poetry Archive

The Poetry Archive‘s tagline is ‘connecting with the voice of poets’ and I’ve enjoyed listening to so many wonderful poems on their site over many years.

Their 2020 project ‘The Poetry Archive Now!‘ hosts current poems from all over the world for viewers to browse and enjoy on YouTube. It’s a pleasure to be part of a project without boundaries sharing poems.

Continue reading Film of me reading ‘Place’ for the Poetry Archive

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And the winner is…

What a pleasure it was to judge the Poetry Society’s 2020 Stanza Poetry Competition. From nearly 400 entries I had to choose 13 – a Winner, two joint Runners-up and ten Commended.

It was fascinating to read and mull on all the poems. Here’s an extract from my Judge’s report:

Poems are so often visual – reading nearly 400 poems where sound, or lack of sound, was the focus was fascinating. There were many birds, conversations, tinnitus, the unsaid or misheard, onomatopoeic poems, poems aware of their own music, and poems interrogating the rarely heard sounds or enforced silences of lockdown. It was absorbing to enter each and every world submitted. 

Continue reading And the winner is…