Claire Askew was born in 1986 in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, but moved to the Scottish Borders as a child and has lived in Edinburgh for the past six years. Claire has a MA (Hons) in English Literature, a MSc in Creative Writing and is currently working on a PhD in Creative Writing and Contemporary Scottish Poetry, all with the University of Edinburgh. Having done a variety of day-jobs (day-lamber on a sheep farm, sales clerk in a chemical factory, legal secretary), Claire is now a college lecturer, currently teaching at Edinburgh’s Telford College and the University of Edinburgh. She also offers one-to-one private tuition in English Literature, Creative Writing and Drama.
Claire is also a poet, and her work has appeared in a variety of major publications including Poetry Scotland, The Edinburgh Review, Textualities and The Guardian. In 2008 she was awarded the Grierson Verse Prize, the Sloan Prize for Writing in Lowland Scots Vernacular, the Lewis Edwards Award for Poetry and the William Sharpe Hunter Memorial Scholarship for Creative Writing. She was also nominated for the Scottish Variety Best Young Scottish Writer of the Year Award in early 2009. In 2010 Claire was shortlisted for an Eric Gregory Award and was awarded the Virginia Warbey Poetry Prize.
Claire’s poems have twice been selected to appear in the Scottish Poetry Library’s Best Scottish Poems of the Year anthology (2008, 2009), alongside poets like Carol Ann Duffy and Edwin Morgan. She is also a regular on the Edinburgh performance poetry circuit, and has appeared at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (2009), MeadowsFest (2009), The Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2008-10), The West Port Book Festival (2009), Aye Write! Festival (2011), StAnza Festival (2011) and City2Cities (Netherlands, 2011). In 2009 Claire won the Scottish Poetry Library’s Sotto Voce Slam and in early 2010 she also placed 3rd in the inaugural Is This Poetry? slam. In 2011 she won the University of Edinburgh LitSoc Refresher slam and was again invited to the 2010/11 Scottish Poetry Slam Championships, where she placed as fourth runner up. Claire has also judged slams for VoxBox and was the organiser and compere of the inaugural this collection friendly poetry slam, at which poets scored one another rather than being subject to a judging panel.
Claire’s first pamphlet of poems was released at StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival in 2011, from Red Squirrel Press — copies can be bought here. She also recently finished work on a large-scale poetry commission for major worldwide retail outlet The Body Shop — you can find Claire’s poem “Dreams” on all packaging for the Body Shop’s “Dreams Unlimited” fragrance range. She is available for readings, projects and loves to attend poetry events — just drop her an email.
Claire really, really, really likes typewriters. At last the count, she owned 16.
On top of all of this, Claire is also a feminist. GirlPoems is a safe space where links are posted, rants are ranted, thoughts are unravelled and questions are asked.
Please feel free to get in touch — just drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org!