I am a poet, a seasoned performer of my work and a facilitator of creative writing. I also founded and run Open Book, which promotes reading groups for the vulnerable and for adults in the community. I am the current Makar of the Federation of Writers, Scotland.
My particular interests are writing that explores the journeys and questions of belonging, particularly relating to the experiences of migrants and refugees, through a project I founded called The Belonging Project, and other commissioned work, most recently for the Talbot Rice Gallery, the St Magnus Festival and the University of Edinburgh. I also regularly write in response to art (as Poet in Residence at Jupiter Artland, Writer in Residence for Spring Fling 2015 and through work with the Edinburgh Art Festival and the National Galleries of Scotland).
My most recent pamphlet Refuge, published by Tapsalteerie Press (2018) and available here, includes poems reflecting on my experiences in Iran in the 1970s. My poems have been widely published in the UK and USA, including in The Scotsman and journals such as The Rialto, Gutter, Rattle (still online here, here and here), Ambit and Magma, as well as being included in a number of anthologies.
Most recently, I’ve performed my poems at the Talbot Rice Gallery, the Scottish Poetry Library, StAnza, the University of Edinburgh (“Bridge”, a specially commissioned poem on migration), the St Magnus Festival (“Pilgrim”, a specially commissioned poem on pilgrimage and Iran), the Wigtown Book Festival, the Dundee Literary Festival, the Scottish Parliament and at Rosslyn Chapel.
My poems have also been performed on BBC Radio 4, won the Scottish National Galleries ‘Inspired? Get Writing!’ competition, placed Runner Up and Highly Commended in the 2016 Wigtown Poetry Competition, shortlisted for the Poetry School/Nine Arches Press Primers Competition and the Bridport Prize and nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
I’ve facilitated hundreds of creative writing and reading workshops for the public (most recently at the Scottish Poetry Library, the National Galleries of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland, Jupiter Artland and the Glasgow Women’s Library and for Scottish PEN), in primary and secondary schools across Scotland, in community projects (most recently at Maryhill Integration Network, the Grassmarket Community Project, Shakti Women’s Aid, Young Saheliya and the Bethany Christian Trust) and in prison settings at HMP Dumfries, HMP Edinburgh and HMP Low Moss. I’ve also worked as the Engagement Manager for the Scottish Poetry Library and sit on the Board of Trustees for the Wigtown Book Festival.