When did you attend CCS?
From 2010-2015, I decided to complete my A Levels at Stratford College as they offered a Creative Writing A Level.
What are you up to now?
I currently work as a Librarian for the prison service. I am also studying for a Master's degree in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. I am primarily a poet, publishing and performing work discussing the trope of female villainy and dissecting how women are stereotyped in their imperfections.
Where did your love of poetry come from?
In my second year of my undergrad at the University of Worcester, a poet named Nellie Cole visited us to discuss the writers' research process. Her pamphlet, Bella, explores a cold murder case from 20th Century Birmingham. Each poem used evidence, theory and/or witness accounts to tell the story of the murder through the course of 25-30 pages of poetry. I became really inspired by the form of a poetry pamphlet and how you can use poetry to pull together the fragments that make up a narrative and examine them individually. Her book is still one of my favourites.
How are you enjoying student life?
I absolutely love studying. I don't think this really started for me until I got to university level but there is something so adaptable about studying. For instance, I am really interested in female villainy. So, I have managed to shape my entire degree to focus on this. Once you are invested in academia, you can take it wherever you want to within your own interests. I took a year out during covid before starting my MA and I missed it so much.
Any tips for younger alumni reading this?
Don’t give up on education. School is an incredibly hard place to be at times and you don't have to love school to love studying. There is so much more to your education than what the government allows you to be doing at your current level and the magic really happens when you’ve completed those exams, figured out where your passion wants to take you and mapped out how to do it. This is a useful time to discover the little nuggets that you love. What I do now comprised maybe 5% of my entire school experience, I just got lucky that I realised I loved English lessons for a reason.
Any teachers you remember?
My biggest influence was Beth Gregory. I was lucky enough to have her in year 7 and then again in years 10 & 11 for my GCSEs. I was so disappointed when I left to do my A Levels that it would mean I wouldn't be taught by her anymore. I remember in year 7 we made a collaborative intertextual project inspired by the canterbury tales and everyone in the class submitted poetry or other creative pieces. English was always fun and inclusionary of everyone's interests and talents.
What's next for you, and where would you like to be in 10 years' time?
My new poetry collection, I Call Upon the Witches was published Monday 14 March 2022 and I am hoping to be accepted onto a PhD course beginning Oct 2022 where I will be examining the femme fatale in contemporary poetry and producing a full-length collection about the life and legacy of Giulia Tofana. My biggest aspiration is to lecture in feminist poetry and writing female villainy.