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About our authors

Beth McDonough

Beth McDonough trained in Silversmithing and Jewellery at Glasgow School of Art, and taught Art in various sectors for many years.

Approaching her half century, she returned to Dundee University to take an M.Litt in Writing Study and Practice. Her poetry is published in many journals and anthologies, and in 2016,  with Ruth Aylett, she wrote a poetry duet pamphlet, Handfast (published by Mother’s Milk Books). Her work has been placed in several competitions, including those held by the John Clare Society,  YES Festival, MMB, Compound Competition at Cheltenham Festival. Her work won first prize in the Off the Stanza Competition 2017, and in 2019, her poem ‘Samphire’ won first prize in the Science Poem Competition, held by St Hilda’s College, Oxford.

She reviews for DURA, and was poetry editor there for five years. She produces the small magazine Firth, and Between 2014 and 2016, she was inaugural Writer in Residence at Dundee Contemporary Arts. Currently a Trustee of Ochil Tower School, she is a huge supporter of the Camphill Movement.

Her ever-tolerant husband Derek, and son Keir put up with her ways at home.

Sarwa Azeez

Sarwa Azeez completed an MA in English Literature at Leicester University in 2012. Growing up in wartime Iraq, the flickering light of kerosene lantern did not reduce her passion for reading.  She lives in Soran, a city located in Iraqi Kurdistan. She taught creative writing and translation at Soran University. Her main interests are reading and writing, especially poetry writing. Sarwa has worked with an activist community doing humanitarian work with women. Her writing looks for the beauty in a war torn world. It also seeks to define identity and confront issues of equal gender representation and violence in male dominant communities.

To follow her interests, she is now working on two projects; both of them are aimed at finding women voices through their narratives and works of literature. She is also a Fulbrighter, doing her second masters in Creative Writing at Nebraska-Lincoln University in the US. She dreams that one day women can speak for themselves and pass that understanding across nations. 

Lotus Moon

Sheila Hamilton

Sheila Hamilton was born in Leicester and spent her childhood and teenage years in Cheshire, Devon and Hertfordshire before going in 1985 to the University of East Anglia where she read French and German. She spent two years teaching EFL in Hungary, first in a secondary school and then in a language school where she worked with adults. She lived in Edinburgh for several years, working as a nanny, doing some translating, the odd bit of tutoring and, above all, writing. She is widely published in magazines and has won some prizes. For twenty years, she has lived on the Wirral in the NW of England with her family. In addition to two chapbooks, The Monster in the Rose Garden, from Flarestack in 2001 and One Match from Original Plus in 2010, she has had two full collections published: Corridors of Babel from Poetry Salzburg in 2007 and The Spirit Vaults in 2017 from Green Bottle Press.

Mary Gilonne

Mary Gilonne was born in Kent, a Londoner until the age of 13 when she moved to Budleigh Salterton, Devon. Holidays were spent waitressing, serving clotted cream, as a post girl, a variety of jobs which led to incessant scribbling in note books, a habit she still has. It was here that she started writing thanks to an inspiring English Lit teacher at Exmouth Grammar, who was an all-important life marker. The glorious coastal scenery influenced her teenage years so much that her poetry is often threaded with sea and sky. 

Mary moved to France to be with her french husband, a teacher of Spanish, and settled in Aix- en-Provence in the late sixties. She wrote articles for Bath newspaper as Bath was twinned with Aix, but setting up as a translator was of course the obvious thing to do, and this multiplied her love for words. Two sons, and many years later they upped to a little wine growing village at the foot of Saint Victoire mountain, and an essential landscape yet again. 

Mary was a student on Helen Ivory’s U.E.A Poetry course in the ‘90’s which forged a strong writing base. She was above all a member of Jo Bell’s iconic 52 Group, an experience which was a life-changer in her poetry world and has led to many treasured off and online friendships. 

Mary has won the Wenlock Prize, been shortlisted several times for the Bridport Prize and commended in the Buzzwords, Prole, Bedford, Caterpillar, Elbow Room, Stroud and Teignmouth Prizes. Her work has appeared widely in many online and printed magazines: Prole, Antiphon, Smeuse, Snakeskin, The Pickled Body, Grievous Angel, Obsessed With Pipe-Work among others, and too in anthologies The Very Best Of 52, Mildly Erotic Verse, The Road to Cleveland Pier.

Rachael Clyne

Rachael Clyne grew up in Southport, at the perfect time and place to be a sixties teenager, when all the famous bands played the local dance hall. She was also lucky to join the National Youth Theatre, touring abroad and in London, in her teens. She then trained and worked as a professional stage and tv actor. Appearances included: Coronation Street, the wild Sadista Sisters, rock cabaret, and the original production of Victoria Wood’s play, Talent.

Her love of poetry and reciting it, began in elocution classes. She loves reading at poetry events and festivals, but left the precarious showbiz life, to become a psychotherapist. She still has a small private practice, but now has time to devote to poetry. Poetic themes draw on nature, social and eco issues, family background, the human journey and humour.

Rachael lives in Glastonbury, with spectacular views from her wee house. She has long been a member of Wells Fountain Poets and Frome Stanza Group. She also attends Carrie Etter’s seminars for Poetry Swindon. She was a member of Jo Bell’s 52 online group. Rachael enjoys being part of the poetry community and has forged many dear friendships.  Her work appears in journals: The Interpreter’s House, Rialto, Tears in the Fence, Shearsman, Lighthouse, Prole.  Anthologies include: The Book of Love and Loss, The Very Best of 52 & #MeToo. Her prizewinning collection, Singing at the Bone Tree, is published by Indigo Dreams.

Photograph by Sally Morningstar

Kevin Reid

Born and brought up in Ayrshire, Kevin lives between Angus and other lands. He studied English Literature at the University of Dundee and worked as a full-time librarian for nine years. He now teaches English as a foreign language. 

Kevin’s first pamphlet Body Voices was published by Crisis Chronicles Press in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Saboteur Awards that year.

In 2014 for NaPoWriMo, instead of writing a poem a day, he created a visual poem in the form of a black and white photograph, which included both a bowler hat and mask in every image. This was created as a blog and shared daily on Twitter and resulted in a collaborative project with George Szirtes, leading to the printed publication of Wordless by Knives, Forks and Spoons Press. Next came >erasure and >erasure ii. These projects included Kevin’s erasures of old Victorian books and responses to them from invited artists and poets.

In the same year he set up Nutshells and Nuggets as a web-zine for short poems (no more than 9 lines). He continues to edit and publish poems for N&N.

Burdlife; a sequence of 12 unusual wee poems inspired by Scottish birdsong and Ivor Cutler, was published by Tapsalteerie in June 2017. In 2018 he was commended in the The Forty Words competition run by The Bangor Literary Journal.

His poetry can be read in various online and printed journals: The Interpreter’s House, Under the Radar, The Poetry Shed, Seagate III,  A Bees Breakfast, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Domestic Cherry, And Other Poems, I am not a silent poet and Visual Verse.

Androgyny is his latest poetry pamphlet published by 4word in May 2018.

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