Announcement of the EP pamphlet poets of 2021
I’m delighted to announce the pamphlet poets of 2021, chosen mostly from the 2019/20 call for submissions. I’ll be announcing the 2022 poets next month, after I’ve had all my video calls with them, but for now I wanted to share with you the brilliant poets who will form my 2021 poetry pamphlet list.
It’s a mix of old friends and new: Simone, Rachael and Anne I’d never met before; Zosia and Julia both have pamphlets with me already; I’ve published Jon’s poems in several anthologies; and Rehema and Lisabelle both got shortlisted in the 2017 call for submissions so we’d had a little contact already.
Thank you to everyone who encouraged me from afar last summer as I read all 413 submissions of poetry pamphlets for adults, and thank you everyone who trusted me with their work and wanted to be part of the Emma Press. I really appreciate it, and it was an honour to read your writing. It was a long but rewarding undertaking, and I hope to be able to offer more opportunities to writers once I’ve dealt with more urgent business (you’ll see what next week). For those of you asking, I expect the next call for submissions will be in the autumn.
We just launched the first EP pamphlet poet of the year, Simone Atangana Bekono, with her pamphlet how the first sparks became visible, translated from Dutch by David Colmer. So, who are the rest of the 2021 pamphlet poets? Here they are, in roughly the order they’ll be published in:
- Rachael Matthews was born near Sheffield and grew up on a housing estate in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. A former BBC Radio journalist and newsreader in London, she re-trained as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, via an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD at Sussex University exploring trauma and creativity. For the past several years she has worked as a clinician at a non-profit therapy centre in New York City, where she has lived for a decade with her wife, and more recently their baby daughter.
- Rehema Njambi is a Kenyan-born, British-raised poet and writer whose work centres on womanhood, agency, faith and family. She has been a performance poet for seven years and has performed broadly in the UK, Nairobi, and the US. In December 2020 she was longlisted for #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize. This is her first collection.
- Jon Stone is a Derbyshire-born writer, editor and researcher. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2012 and the Poetry London Prize in 2014 and 2016. School of Forgery (Salt, 2012) was chosen as a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. He designs and edits collaborative mixed media anthologies with Sidekick Books and has a PhD in poem-videogame interplay.
- Zosia Kuczyńska was born in Solihull in 1988 to the children of post-WWII displaced persons from the eastern border of Poland. She grew up in Nottingham and has a doctorate on ‘Time and Space in the Plays of Brian Friel’ at Trinity College Dublin. She has had poems published in The Open Ear and with The Lifeboat, and her debut pamphlet, Pisanki, was published by The Emma Press in 2017.
- Lisabelle Tay writes poetry and speculative fiction. After completing her studies in English Literature at King’s College London, she returned to Singapore to teach, but has since retired from teaching due to illness. She lives in Singapore with her husband and son. Her story Surat Dari Hantu recently placed first in the 2020 Dream Foundry short story contest.
- Julia Bird grew up in Gloucestershire and now lives in London, where she works for the Poetry Society and as an independent literature producer and promoter at Jaybird Live Literature. She has two poetry collections with Salt – Hannah and the Monk (2008) and Twenty-four Seven Blossom (2013) – and Now You Can Look, an illustrated poetry pamphlet, was published by The Emma Press in 2017.
- Anne Bailey was born in West Yorkshire, very close to the Pennine moors, and still feels a strong connection to it. She spent most of her adult life as a teacher in London, and now is based in North Norfolk, where she writes poetry and enjoys being part of the poetry community in Norwich. She is a committee member for Cafe Writers.
It’s a fun mix, isn’t it? I’m really looking forward to working with the poets on their books and sharing them with you. Keep you eyes peeled at the end of next month, when I reveal the rest of the poets I chose, for 2022 publication.