I’m Nellie, a poet from the Black Country now based in Birmingham. I began writing poetry while studying English with Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham.

Over the course of my studies, my poetry appeared online (Leavener’s Poets’ Corner, 2015-6), in anthologies This is Not Your Final Form (The Emma Press, 2017) and The Poetry of the Black Country (Offa’s Press, 2017), and on exhibition (Dudley Museum, 2016; The Pen Museum, 2017).

My debut pamphlet, Bella, was published by Offa’s Press in August 2018, and shortlisted for a Saboteur Award in 2019 in the category of Best Poetry Pamphlet. The poetic sequence explores a true murder mystery from my local Worcestershire town. The tale, ‘Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?’, inspired a dossier of poems which blend literary allusion, local history, folklore, and superstition.

I am an active member of the Midlands poetry scene, acting for three years as the project manager behind Verve Poetry and Spoken Word Festival, and as a workshop leader for ‘Pen to Paper’, my own poetry course at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. In April 2019, I was announced as one of the writers in the 2019/20 cohort of Writing West Midlands’ development programme Room 204. In the academic year 2019/20, I was poet-in-residence at the University of Loughborough, offering workshops, open-door advice sessions, and acting as co-judge for the Overton Poetry Prize.

I am an assistant poetry editor for the online magazine Mookychick. I am the Lead Writer for the Spark Young Writers‘ Stratford-upon-Avon group, 2019/20.

Outside of poetry, I am studying for an MA at the Shakespeare Institute, and working as the Creative Programme Coordinator at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.


Publications

Bella (pamphlet, Offa’s Press, 2018); ‘Only They Say Flahrs’ and ‘Unlikely Wonders’ in The Poetry of Worcestershire (anthology, Offa’s Press, 2019); ‘Wings’ in The Poetry of the Black Country (anthology, Offa’s Press 2017); ‘Wild West Midlands’ in This Is Not Your Final Form (anthology, The Emma Press, 2017). Various poems also published on the online platforms Leavener’s Poets’ Corner (2015), and Swings and Roundabouts (2016); in the University of Birmingham anthology (2015), and the National Gamekeeper’s Organisation magazine (2016); and on exhibition at Dudley Museum (2016), and the Pen Museum (2017).

Awards

Shortlisted for a Saboteur Award in the category of Best Poetry Pamphlet (2019); Sam Laycock Prize for best poem performed in the host (Black Country) dialect (2015).

Mentoring

Three poetry sessions with Year 6 at Lutley Primary School (2016); year term as Assistant Writer for the Spark Young Writers’ Edgbaston group (2015/6); current Lead Writer for the Spark Young Writers’ Stratford-upon-Avon group (2019/20); event host and workshop leader for the Anchor Gallery Spring Season (2018); workshop leader for Pen to Paper at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (2018/19); workshops with Years 7 to 13 at Windsor High School and Sixth Form for National Poetry Day (2019); open-door sessions and workshops as poet-in-residence at University of Loughborough (2019/20). Private mentoring with 1 current client.

Readings

Include… Brum Radio Poets with Helen Calcutt (2016) and Rick Sanders (2017); Poetry Parlour, Birmingham; Tales Between the Ales, Birmingham; Spoken Trend, King’s Norton; Stirchley Speaks, Stirchley; City Voices, Wolverhampton; Permission to Speak, Stourbridge; Caffe Grande Slam, Dudley; Yes We Cant, Walsall; National Dialect Day, Wednesbury; Country Voices, Ironbridge; Black Country Day, Himley; Windsor High School, Halesowen; Verve Poetry Festival, Birmingham; Book to the Future Festival, Birmingham; Wolverhampton Literature Festival, Wolverhampton; Shrewsbury Literature Festival, Shrewsbury; Loughborough University; Worcester University.

Courses/Involvements

Include… Arvon City: Starting to Write, Wolverhampton (2016); Pangaea Poetry, Stirchley (2016); Ignite, RSC’s The Other Place (2016); PoArtry, Art Yard, Cradley Heath (2017); underGROWTH, The Pod, Coventry (2019/20), Room 204, Writing West Midlands (2019/20).


My Journey