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New Writer 2023: Eloise Birtwhistle


Eloise Birtwhistle headshot

Eloise Birtwhistle's poetry has been published in New Writing Scotland; Mslexia; Gutter Magazine; SPAM Zine; The Edwin Morgan Centenary Collection; Wet Grain; Algia; From Glasgow to Saturn; and Reclaim: An Anthology of Women's Poetry.

She received a Distinction in her Creative Writing MLitt from the University of Glasgow, graduating in 2018. In 2019, she was selected as a St Mungo's Mirrorball Clydebuilt apprentice, where she benefitted from mentorship by John Glenday. Her writing has been exhibited by the John Byrne Award and she was a Finalist of the 2019 Mslexia and Poetry Book Society Women's Poetry Prize.

Eloise also delivers community arts projects and has hosted public readings and conversations with writers including Claire Askew and Nadine Aisha Jassat. Her creative writing workshops have been run with organisations including Glasgow Women's Library, the Survivor Arts Community, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow, and the Inverclyde Homeless Centre. Through this work she has edited zines and two book-length anthologies.

Writing sample


Smell cut grass as you cross the motorway;

grow your nails; grow your hair;

have several nightmares in which your speech

has no sound;

dress out of season; misread the word

enclose as your own name;

walk the same routes; sweat;

on the night she dies, dream

that a loose knot unravels the floorboards;

sustain a headache from the smell

of your perfume; stumble 

across the plump body of a rat;

goad a seagull as it feeds

its chick; throw

bread to the nest;

let bathwater redden your limbs;

phone your mother until it rings out;

in a city you don't know, ignore

a catcall, hear that even a dog

answers when it's called;

observe as a mosquito probes your arm;

extend invitations without

sincerity; sleep in and lie about

sleeping in

Eloise says:

'I'm really looking forward to a period of focus and absorption in my writing. I'm grateful for the New Writers Award's encouragement to do this and I'm excited to meet the other awardees and to get to know their writing!'