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News > Alumni Interviews > Q&A interview with Daniel Sluman

Q&A interview with Daniel Sluman

Poet and disability rights activist

Delighted to catch up with former student Daniel Sluman, and huge congratulations to him for being shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize 

What are you up to right now? 
It’s been about six months since my most recent poetry collection was published, so I’m in the nice part of the book cycle where I’m still doing live readings and appearing at literature festivals to promote that book, but I’m also thinking about the next project! I’m always drafting poems at any given point but right now I’m enjoying exploring the new areas I’d like my next book to delve into. 

How did it feel to have your poetry shortlisted for the 2021 TS Eliot Prize? 
I don’t think it has sunk in yet! It’s an incredible honour, and my main happiness is really for Nine Arches Press, who published the book, and have believed in my work and published me three times now. It’s hard to explain to people not involved in literature how much award culture has been dominated by major presses, so to be shortlisted with a book published by an independent, West Midlands based press is a wonderful feeling. 

Did you always have a love for writing, is it an easy career path to follow? 
At first, my dream was to be involved in music. I’ve been playing guitar since I was 14, and the first thing I did after getting my A Levels was study for a degree in Music Production. After that course I took on a few basic admin jobs and felt a bit directionless for a while until I decided I would go back to University to study a BA in English and Creative Writing. I learnt so much during those three years, started getting work published, and since then writing is all I’ve been doing. Whilst the ups and downs of being a writer can be hard to deal with at times, having the daily practise of writing new work and trying to get better gives my life a sense of balance I am incredibly grateful for. 

Any memories of school or teachers you remember? 
Mr Sanderson was my Philosophy and Ethics teacher when I was at school and I very much enjoyed his lessons and he taught me a lot. In English Literature my teacher was Paul Adams, and he was the one who really instilled a love of language in me.  

What are your plans for the future? 
I’ve got a few appearances at different poetry festivals coming up, and I’m doing a bit of mentoring for some younger writers too. Apart from that I’ll be spending most of my time reading other people’s books and hopefully writing better poems for the next project which might be another three or four years away. 

For more about Daniel's work please visit his website



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