“Claire Askew is a poetry rock goddess.” — Young Dawkins
“This woman is my inspiration for productivity… there is almost too much to love about her. she teaches poetry, writes consistently on two blogs, makes jewelry, gets awarded grants… oh, and writes amazing poetry that gets published (all the time). my favourite part of her public life is her commitment to hosting, and participating in, the conversation about her art form. there is a transparent honesty about her… a confidence that leads toward being uncompetitive which I find refreshing.” - Rachel Fachner, writer, tutor, choreographer, creative powerhouse!
“Claire Askew’s poetry is exceptional in its ability to take every day stuff – snow, her partner’s atheism – and spin something rather special out of them. Best is her piece ["If You Don't Want To Be In A Poem"], a gently witty warning to anyone in her eyeline that they may well find themselves the subject of a poem. She has a fantastic voice, and her performance is slick and persuasive, with hardly a glance at her text. Lovely talent.” - Raymond Soltysek, blogger.
“Claire Askew’s verse can be enjoyed for its playfulness and sharp wit. More rarely, it can also be treasured for its sureness of voice, its rich linguistic texture and deep emotional core. Rooted in the everyday, she has an ability to make the ordinary startling. Often funny, frequently startling in her imagery, she is adept at giving us the surprises, anxieties and estrangements of the modern world.” - Dr Alan Gillis, poet, critic, academic.
Claire Askew is a poet, editor and educator, born in 1986 and brought up in the rural Scottish Borders.
Claire has been writing poetry seriously since 2004, and her work has appeared in numerous major publications including The Guardian, Poetry Scotland, PANK and Popshot (see a full list of publications here). Her work has also been twice selected to appear in the Scottish Poetry Library’s Best Scottish Poems of the Year anthology (2008 and 2009).
In Spring 2011, Red Squirrel Press published Claire’s debut pamphlet poetry collection, The Mermaid and the Sailors, which sold out its first printing within six months. The pamphlet was shortlisted for a 2010 Eric Gregory Award, and a poem from it, “Visiting Nannie Grey”, won the 2010 Virginia Warbey Poetry Prize. Claire has received numerous other accolades for her work, including the 2008 Grierson Verse Prize, the 2008 Sloan Prize for Writing in Lowland Scots Vernacular and the 2008 Lewis Edwards Award for Poetry. She was awarded the William Sharpe Hunter Memorial Scholarship for her MSc in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh (from which she graduated summa cum laude in 2009), and in 2009 she was nominated for the Scottish Variety Awards’ ‘New Scottish Writer’ award. In 2012 she won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, and the 2012 inaugural International Salt Prize for Poetry.
Claire also holds a MA (Hons) in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh, and she is still with the university, currently reading for a PhD in Creative Writing. Contemporary women’s poetry, female literary tradition and the feminist revision of myth and folklore are among her research interests. She is also very interested in counter-culture literature, and the “problem” of making poetry accessible to contemporary audiences. She teaches Creative Writing at the Scottish Universities’ International Summer School, based at the University of Edinburgh.
Claire also lectures in Literature and Communication at Edinburgh College. She is passionate about working with young adults and deeply invested in developing their interest in literature and creative writing. From 2007 to 2010 she was the founding Editor in Chief of Read This Magazine, a monthly non-profit literary zine which aimed to promote the work of new, young and emerging writers. The magazine was distributed for free and published the work of over 1,000 brand new writers. Its goal was to bring creative writing to new audiences, and particularly young readers, as well as to encourage the work of those just beginning to take their first steps in the writing world.
Read This Magazine spawned Read This Press, a non-profit poetry micropress, in 2009. To date Claire has edited and published five Read This Press titles, including Skin Deep: an anthology of poems on tattoos and tattooing (2009), and most recently Starry Rhymes: 85 Years of Allen Ginsberg (2011).
Also a keen performer, Claire is a multiple poetry slam winner, having been awarded the University of Edinburgh’s “ReFresher” LitSoc slam two years in a row (2010 and 2011), the Scottish Poetry Library/VoxBox slam (2009) and the StAnza Festival Risk-a-Verse Slam (2011), among others. In 2012 she also won Literary Death Match Edinburgh (Ep4). She is a slam organiser and live literature promoter, having worked as Residency and Education Director for the London Poetry Festival (2009), and Poetry Co-Ordinator for local collaborative film-poetry project ‘this collection‘ (2009-2011). In 2011 she represented Scotland at the inaugural City2Cities Literature Festival in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and worked on the judging panel for the BBC’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival Poetry Slam. She has also read at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, StAnza Festival and at the 2010 Scottish Poetry Slam Championships.
Please feel free to get in touch — just drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org. For press materials, click here.