A-Gender
Living Published Women Poets in the UK
Jackie Wills
Categories: W

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Jackie Wills was born in Wiltshire, raised in Surrey and now lives in Brighton. Convent educated, she studied English and French and has an MA in Modern English Literature. She is a journalist, animateur and was Royal Literary Fund fellow at Sussex University from 2009-2012.

She has written for national newspapers, specialist magazines, published two non-fiction books on retail design and globalisation and edited a bilingual English/Arabic collection of reminiscences by Sudanese refugees. Her handbook on running workshops will be published in 2014. She has earned her living as a writer since 1978.

Wills was one of the first poets to run writing workshops in business as poet in residence at Unilever. She contributed to a leadership programme for Unilever and Arts&Business (Unleashed) by mentoring participants in writing and has since worked with many other businesses including Marks & Spencer, Eurotunnel and Whittard.

Wills was shortlisted for the 1995 TS Eliot prize and Mslexia magazine named her one of the 10 new woman poets of the decade in 2004. Designer Helen Storey commissioned a poem for a dress and her poem, Alphabetic, featured in the London International Animation Festival 2006. Wills is currently working with visual artist Jane Fordham.

She has collaborated with orchestras, galleries, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Creative Partnerships and The Poetry Society. Wills was one of 28 poets who delivered poetry workshops to 200 London schoolchildren at Buckingham Palace in 2007. In 2013 she participated in a pilot project for Kensington and Chelsea Hospital Trust with Rambert Dance. She co-presented a review of work with students at Brighton and Sussex Medical School at the Hippocrates International Symposium for Poetry and Medicine in May 2012 and chaired a session on poet Dorothy Molloy at the Symposium in 2013. She is a critic, literature assessor for Arts Council England, committee member of the National Association of Writers in Education and her blogs consolidate 34 years experience as a professional writer.

Publications

Black Slingbacks (Slow Dancer Press, 1992)

Powder Tower (Arc, 1995)

Party (Leviathan, 2000)

Fever Tree (Arc, 2003)

Commandments (Arc, 2007)

Woman’s Head As Jug (Arc, 2013)

Prizes

T.S. Eliot prize shortlist 1995

Awards

Mslexia magazine New women poets of decade, 2004

Society of Authors, 2004

South East Arts, 2002

Arts Council of Great Britain, 1999

K. Blundell Trust/Author’s Foundation, 1997

South East Arts, 1993

“Wills explores the seemingly ordinary surface of things, her descriptions acute and poised, and finds – as she follows the dictates of the poem – that the everyday has become unsettling: violent or suddenly beautiful. The poems lead round to the other side of things like a Mobius strip: the reader begins in one place on a seemingly ordinary day and suddenly there we are, on the other side of it all with no memory of how we arrived at this suddenly cold and threatening destination,” Dr Charles Bennett

Writer’s blog

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