Author details

Claire Askew


I was brought up in the rural Scottish Borders, but moved to Edinburgh to go to University and have been here ever since.  I hold a MA (Hons) in English Literature, a MSc in Creative Writing (Poetry), and a PhD in Creative Writing and Contemporary Women’s Poetry, all from the University of Edinburgh.

I have worked as a Creative Facilitator for the Making It Home Project, and as a Lecturer in Literature and Communication at Edinburgh College.  I have also worked with Scottish Women’s Aid, the Tollcross Community Centre and the University of Edinburgh, among others.

As well as writing and performing poetry, I also blog at, and collect manual typewriters – 32 machines and counting!

About writer's work

My poetry has appeared in numerous publications including The Guardian, The Edinburgh Review, Popshot and PANK.  It has also been widely anthologised, appearing in collections like Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam (Cinnamon/Eyewear 2012), Where Rockets Burn Through: Contemporary Science Fiction Poetry from the UK (Penned in the Margins, 2012), and Fit to Work: Poets Against ATOS (2013).  Over the past five years, my poems have won numerous accolades, including the Virginia Warbey Poetry Prize in 2010, and the inaugural International Salt Prize for Poetry in 2013.  As a performance poet, I’ve competed in slams across Scotland and won several titles – in 2012 I even became a Literary Death Match Champion!  My debut pamphlet collection, The Mermaid and the Sailors, was published by Red Squirrel Press in 2011, and versions of this collection were shortlisted for an Eric Gregory Award in both 2010 and 2012.  I am currently in the process of completing a new MS for my first full-length poetry collection.

Websites featuring the author


Other work

I am interested in all kinds of creative projects – I’m a seasoned performer and happy to read my work at everything from open mics to slams.  I’m also an experienced slam and poetry contest judge.  I hold a PDA in Adult Education and have trained as a facilitator and workshop leader – I am particularly interested in working with young people, vulnerable adults and “reluctant readers.”  I love to collaborate and I’m always keen to hear new ideas.

Some events I have been involved with in the past include the 2012 International Women’s Day all-female slam, which I organised and MC-d; Dear Glasgow, a 2012 play directed by David Greig at the Traverse, in which I performed other writers’ monologues about conflict and oppression; Making it Home for Book Week Scotland 2013, at which I led a discussion panel on the power of words to fight violence; and the Inky Fingers Revenge of the Dead Poets Slam, at which I dressed up as Edith Sitwell to act as slam judge.  These are just some recent ones – please contact me for more info! 

Contact details

Photo by Neil Thomas Douglas

Local authority where they are based



Local authorities where they can work

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Shetland, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian, Other

Age groups

9-12, Teens, Adults

LL funded


BRAW network


Author type

Performance Poet, Poet



Books written

The Mermaid and the Sailors

The Mermaid and the Sailors

Author(s): Claire Askew
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.