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BBC Scotland appoints Northern Ireland-born Rachel McCrum as first Poet in Residence

By Valerie Edwards

Published 07/10/2015

Northern Ireland-born poet, Rachel McCrum, is first ever BBC Scotland Poet in Residence. (Photo by Chris Scott)
Northern Ireland-born poet, Rachel McCrum, is first ever BBC Scotland Poet in Residence. (Photo by Chris Scott)

Northern Ireland-born poet, Rachel McCrum, is BBC Scotland's first Poet in Residence. She will be introduced to the Radio Scotland audience on National Poetry Day, Thursday, October 8.

Throughout the three-month residency, which is a collaboration between BBC Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library, she will aim to bring poetry to audiences across the country.

Rachel has won several awards for her work, including the 2012 International Women’s Day Slam, Edinburgh and the 2013 Calum McDonald Award.

She was chosen from more than 70 applicants and her main platform will be on Radio Scotland’s arts and culture programme, The Janice Forsyth Show.

During her residence she will also contribute to a variety of BBC Scotland's programming and work with BBC Scotland’s The L.A.B. to deliver poetry workshops to primary and secondary schools.

Janice Forsyth said: “Rachel is an exciting, emerging voice in poetry and has been steadily building her career as a poet in Scotland and abroad.”

Last year Rachel went to South Africa as part of the Commonwealth Poets United Project and she was a Poet in Residence at the Harvard Centre for hellenic studies, Nafplion in Greece, and Dunbar, Scotland.

Janice added: “Rachel’s brief for the residency is to explore communities across Scotland – from football fans, migrants and refugees to urban and rural groups – and to reflect on current and topical issues. I believe that Rachel will also bring a great deal of freshness and creativity to the role, revealing poetry as a truly exciting art form.”

Rachel was born in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland, and graduated from Oxford University. She lived in New Zealand and Manchester, before moving to Edinburgh five years ago.

She said: “I love language and I’m really excited to be taking this passion to another level and to be sharing it with people across the country.

“Scotland has a great oral tradition of story-telling and I think poetry provides a way for people – and by that I mean all sorts of people – to reflect their own experiences in their own communities in our modern world.”

Robyn Marsack, director of the Scottish Poetry Library, said: “The Scottish Poetry Library is delighted that BBC Scotland is recognising the lively and thought-provoking contribution poetry makes to the cultural life of Scotland by appointing a poet in residence.

“Rachel McCrum is a generous poetry presenter as well as a distinctive lyrical voice in her own right, and I am sure that she will make poems and friends for poetry wherever she goes in the next three months.”

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