New Writer 2019: Rachel Rankin


Rachel Rankin is a poet from Coatbridge, currently based in Edinburgh, where she works both as a tour-guide and as a tutor in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh. She holds an MSc in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh, having graduated with Distinction in 2018. Her writing has been published in Gutter, The Scotsman, The Nordic Riveter, the Scottish Review of Books, Antiphon and Multiverse: An International Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry. She was chosen to take part in the inaugural Emerging Critics Mentoring Programme organised by the Scottish Review of Books in 2016/17.

In 2017, Rachel received a Dewar Arts Award and was shortlisted for the Jane Martin Poetry Prize, and in 2018, she was chosen for the National Centre for Writing’s Emerging Translator Mentorship, where she is currently being mentored by renowned translator Don Bartlett in Norwegian to English literary translation.

She can be found on Twitter at @rakelrank(this will open in a new window).

Writing Sample


He appears and her heart stops. Tall, slim, almost attractive – not at all what she expected.

An outstretched hand. She stares: blue veins straining on his wrist, a small, red papercut on his thumb.

It’s nice to meet you. She smiles – a stone lodged in her throat – placing her trembling hand in his.

Hot. Damp. Recoiling, she stammers, words dissolving like paper in rain

and he wraps his arms around her like a shawl, rocking and hushing her like a newborn.

May I? He nods, unbuttoning his shirt, showing bare skin and a neat slit of scar.

She presses her ear against it, each dull thud the march of a soldier, a determined and persistent drum:

her daughter’s heart.

Rachel says:

"I am absolutely overwhelmed. To have my writing validated in this way is – ironically – indescribable, and I am just so excited for the year ahead. Thank you so much to Scottish Book Trust for this incredible opportunity!”