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New Writer 2020: Marianne MacRae


Marianne is a writer and artist living in Edinburgh. In 2018 she completed her PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh, having previously graduated from the Creative Writing MSc in 2012. In 2017 she was the poet-in-residence at The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, studying the life and work of Joseph Lister and writing poems in response to this research. Her collection was published as a pamphlet, Joseph Lister is My New Flatmate, in a limited print run by the College. Her second pamphlet, Recital, is forthcoming with Tapsalteerie later in 2020.

Marianne’s work has featured in journals such as Magma, Gutter, Ambit, Acumen, Popshot and The Edinburgh Review, as well as the anthologies Umbrellas of Edinburgh and From Arthur’s Seat. In 2016, she won the Grierson Verse Prize and was longlisted for the 2017 National Poetry Competition.

Besides writing and performing poetry, Marianne also runs occasional creative writing workshops and in her “spare time”, is working on a novel.

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Writing sample


It is raining strawberries and blackberries.

Animals pixilate to a silt of atoms.

First day in this new place, we float

downstream in a hollowed turnip,

the walls and ceiling shift around us,

saplings sprout from our ears—

delicate plum-pa-plum of a thumb piano,

dripping from hidden speakers.

One cold beer was just enough to make this

exactly what we wanted:

ducks the size of humans

and humans the size of hummingbirds,

a rat-shaped tear slipping

from the coal shed of a boy’s eye.

Marianne says:

"I think I’m still slightly in shock. What an honour! To have my work recognised by the Scottish Book Trust is humbling in the extreme, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to focus on my poetry in the coming year."