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National writing award for Inverness-based poet Aoife Lyall

By Margaret Chrystall

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AN Inverness-based poet whose debut collection will be published next year has won a national writing award.

Poet and teacher Aoife Lyall has been awarded one of three emerging writer awards offered this year by Cove Park, the international artists’ residency centre based in Helensburgh.

Poet Aoife Lyall.
Poet Aoife Lyall.

She will now be using her time there to put the finishing touches to her debut poetry collection Mother, Nature.

The book is being published by internationally-respected poetry publisher Bloodaxe Books early next year.

Last week, working with writers' group HighlandLIT, Aoife – who is also a local secondary school teacher and member of the Ness Book Fest committee – delivered her first online streamed writing workshop, on the theme of home.

Aoife said: “This was the first Zoom event hosted by the Highland Lit Salon, and the first Zoom event I delivered.

“We had 31 participants, ranging from secondary school pupils to established authors, and joining us from as close by as Inverness and as far as Berlin and New Mexico.

“There was even an unexpected reunion between two colleagues who hadn't seen each other for 20 years, so the technology really can bring people together!

“The reaction throughout the workshop was wonderful.

“The exercises very much lent themselves to being at home during lockdown, without focusing on it.

“Instead we looked at multiple ways to engage with and think about the objects we have in our homes, with exercises the participants could easily use over and over again in their own time.”

Tweets afterwards included:

Thank you @HighlandLIT and @PoetLyall for an inspiring poetry workshop! Lovely to see @so_you_know, @AngiPlant, @DRnaturegirl and many other friends there too. Zoom at its best

Aoife said there has been a lot of interest in a follow-up event, both from those who attended and those who missed it due to internet issues.

“I haven't planned anything just yet. I'm a teacher too, so need to know what's happening with that.

“But I am developing a series of one-off sessions and some short courses that I plan to run over the summer and into August and beyond.”

Aoife's debut poetry collection, out in 2021.
Aoife's debut poetry collection, out in 2021.

Anyone who would like to hear Aoife’s work live will have the chance at the next HighlandLIT open mic night currently planned for June.

Aoife’s website has reviews, record of publications and links to poems that can be read online: https://aoifelyall.wordpress.com

Follow her on Twitter: @PoetLyall

Info on HighlandLIT: https://www.highlandlit.com/

Link to Cove Park: https://covepark.org/artists/aoife-lyall/

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