2021: Event 4

(4) Love in the Time
of Covid-19: hosted by
Zoë Brigley, with Kristian Evans and guests from Magma

Thursday 15th April | 7pm | Free

With Rob Mackenzie (Magma Reviews Editor), poets Ruth Awad, Sean Hewitt, Jenny Mitchell, Laura Wainright, So Mayer & Karen McCarthy Woolf. One of the most moving things about living under a global pandemic has been the little acts of kindness and love that people have offered to help each other keep going. This reading celebrates love in the face of adversity, featuring poets from Magma Poetry’s newest issue 79 on the theme of ‘Dwelling‘. It has not been an easy time in which to dwell given the number of lockdowns and restrictions of movement, but we still find love in relationships with others, in our communities, and with nature and the places around us.

Sign Language interpretation provided

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The Festival is organising the bookselling in partnership with bookshop.org. There’s an expanded range of Festival titles for each event available from our bookshop.org affiliate shop. Take a look at them here. If you buy from our shop, you are supporting the Festival, the writers, the publishers, and, thanks to the way bookshop.org operates, independent booksellers generally.


Zoë Brigley with crossed arms, smiling slightly away from the camera.

Zoë Brigley

Zoë Brigley has three PBS recommended poetry collections:  The Secret  (2007),  Conquest  (2012), and  Hand & Skull  (2019) (all published by Bloodaxe). She also published the nonfiction essays  Notes from a Swing State  (Parthian 2019) and  recently published a poetry chapbook,  Aubade After A French Movie  (Broken Sleep 2020). In 2021 she will publish a poetry chapbook,  Into Eros, with Verve Press. She runs an anti-violence advocacy podcast:  Sinister Myth: How Stories We Tell Perpetuate Violence.  She won an Eric Gregory Award for the best British poets under 30, was Forward Prize commended, and listed in the Dylan Thomas Prize. She is co-editor (with Kristian Evans) of the forthcoming anthology  100 Poems to Save the Earth,  and she is lead editor of the volume in development  The Bloomsbury Companion to Contemporary Poetry in Ireland and the UK.  She is Assistant Professor in English at the Ohio State University. 

Zoë BrigleyHand & Skull
ISBN: 9781780374727

Kristian Evans looking into the camera.

Kristian Evans

Kristian Evans is a poet and editor from Kenfig in south Wales, interested in deep ecology, animism and the history of magic. He has written several texts for performance and a chapbook of poems, Unleaving (HappenStance 2015). He writes the column ‘A Kenfig Journal‘ for the environmental charity Sustainable Wales and is co-editor with Zoё  Brigley of the forthcoming anthology 100 Poems to Save the Planet (Seren). Otherworlds a chapbook of essays (with Zoё  Brigley) will be published by Broken Sleep in 2021. He is a practising traditional astrologer.

Kristian Evans – Unleaving

Rob A. Mackenzie looking upwards away from the camera, face half shaded.

Rob A. Mackenzie

Rob A. Mackenzie is a Glaswegian poet, reviewer and occasional translator who lives in Leith. He is reviews editor for Magma Poetry magazine and runs literary publisher, Blue Diode Press. His work has appeared in Ambit, The Dark Horse, Financial Times, Finished Creatures, The Guardian, New Welsh Review, Poetry London, Shearsman etc. He has read and taken part in events at the StAnza International Poetry Festival, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, and the Poetry on the Lake Festival (Orta, Italy). His poetry collections are The Opposite of Cabbage (2009),  The Good News  (2013) and  The Book of Revelation  (2020), all published by Salt.

Rob A. Mackenzie – The Book of Revelation
ISBN: 9781784632151

Jenny Mitchell smiling into the camera.

Jenny Mitchell

Jenny Mitchell is winner of the Folklore Poetry Prize 2020, the Aryamati Prize, the Segora Prize, a Bread and Roses Poetry Award, the Fosseway Prize; and joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize 2019. Her poems have been published in The Rialto, Under the Radar, The Interpreter’s House etc; and a debut collection, Her Lost Language (Indigo Dreams Publishing) is one of 44 Poetry Books for 2019 (Poetry Wales); and a Jhalak Prize #bookwelove. A forthcoming collection, Map of a Plantation (IDP), will be published in April 2021. 

Jenny Mitchell – Her Lost Language
Indigo Dreams
ISBN: 978-1-912876-19-8

Laura Wainwright looking away form the camera.

Laura Wainwright

Laura Wainwright was born in Cardiff and grew up in  Newport, south Wales. Her poetry has been published in a range of magazines, journals and anthologies. She was awarded a Literature Wales Writer’s bursary in 2020 and has been shortlisted in the Bridport Prize poetry competition twice. Her first poetry pamphlet will be published by Green Bottle Press in 2021. She has a PhD from Cardiff University and is the author of the literary-critical book, New Territories in Modernism: Anglophone Welsh Writing, 1930-49  (University of Wales Press).

Laura Wainwright – New Territories in Modernism: Anglophone Welsh Writing, 1930-49 
ISBN: 9781786832177

Ruth Awad, resting her head on her hand, looking into the camera.

Ruth Awad

Ruth Awad is the Lebanese-American author of Set to Music a Wildfire  (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2017), winner of the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize and the 2018 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. Alongside Rachel Mennies, she is the co-editor of The Familiar Wild: On Dogs and Poetry  (Sundress Publications, 2020). She is the recipient of a 2020 and 2016 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and she won the 2013 and 2012 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the 2011 Copper Nickel Poetry Contest. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Poetry, Poem-a-Day, The Believer, The New Republic, Pleiades, The Missouri Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and she lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio. 

The Familiar Wild: On Dogs & Poetry Edited by Ruth Awad and Rachel Mennies

Seán Hewitt looking away from the camera, forest in the background.

Seán Hewitt

Seán Hewitt was born in 1990. His debut collection, Tongues of Fire, is published by Jonathan Cape. He is a book critic for The Irish Times and teaches Modern British & Irish Literature at Trinity College Dublin.  He won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2016, the Resurgence Prize in 2017, and an Eric Gregory Award in 2019. In 2020, he was chosen by The Sunday Times as one of their ‘30 under 30‘ most promising artists in Ireland. His debut collection, Tongues of Fire, was shortlisted for The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, 2020. His book J.M. Synge: Nature, Politics, Modernism is published with Oxford University Press (2021). His memoir, All Down Darkness Wide, is forthcoming from Jonathan Cape in the UK and Penguin Press in the USA in 2022. 

Seán Hewitt – Tongues of Fire
ISBN:  9781787332263

Seán Hewitt – J. M. Synge: Nature, Politics, Modernism
Oxford University Press
ISBN:  9780198862093 

So Mayer looking upwards away from the camera.

So Mayer

So Mayer is the author of  A Nazi Word for a Nazi Thing  (Peninsula, 2020),  jacked a kaddish  (Litmus, 2018),  and  (O)  (Arc, 2015). They contributed to  Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, edited by Roxane Gay (Allen & Unwin, 2018),  Spells: 21st Century Occult Poetry, edited by Sarah Shin and Rebecca Tamás (Ignota, 2018), and  On Relationships (3 of Cups, 2020). So is a bookseller at Burley Fisher, a curator with queer feminist film collective Club des Femmes, and co-founder of Raising Films, a campaign and community for parents and carers in the film industry. 

A Nazi Word for A Nazi Thing
Peninsula Press Ltd
ISBN: 9781913512026

On Relationships
3 of Cups
ISBN: 9781999877668

Karen McCarthy Woolf smiling at the camera.

Karen McCarthy Woolf

Born in London to English and Jamaican parents, Karen McCarthy Woolf’s first collection An Aviary of Small Birds was shortlisted for the Forward and Jerwood Prizes. Her second, Seasonal Disturbances, a ‘witty and nuanced’ (BBC Arts) take on nature, migration, the city and the sacred, was written in residence at the UK’s National Maritime Museum and was a winner in the inaugural Laurel Prize for Ecopoetry. She is a Fulbright postdoctoral scholar at the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA where her research focused on how poetry and law might combine to express safe spaces in complex environments.  

Karen McCarthy Woolf – Seasonal Disturbances
ISBN: 9781784103361

Cathryn McShane-Kouyaté

Cathryn McShane-Kouyaté is a British Sign Language/ Welsh/English interpreter with 15 years experience of working in a wide range of settings including theatre, education, and community work.  In the last year Cathryn has become a familiar face from her interpreting work for the Welsh Government and the regular COVID-19 ministerial press briefings broadcast live across news channels in Wales.