Sarah
Hesketh

Sarah's first full collection of poetry, Napoleon’s Travelling Bookshelf, was highly commended in the Forward Prize 2010. In 2013, she was poet-in-residence with Age Concern, working with elderly people with dementia, and in 2014 she published The Hard Word Box, a collection of poems and interviews inspired by this experience. In 2015, she was commissioned by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust to produce Grains of Light, a sequence of poems based around the story of Holocaust survivor Eve Kugler. She has ten years of experience working as a creative writing tutor and in literature development. Sarah currently works for Modern Poetry in Translation magazine and is working on a Phd on making poetry from oral history. She lives in London.

"Writers spend almost all of their time working alone," she says. "It can get a little tedious, listening to the sound of your own typing. So, for me, one of the biggest thrills about this project was the chance to spend time with other creative people. Watching a group of musicians sit down together and instantly begin to create work was really quite thrilling. To begin with I felt quite jealous at how quickly they could start to create something from scratch -- for me, writing is usually a very slow process. But then I realised that just by sitting and listening to the music they were making, I too could begin to generate ideas, just by working through the moods and tone of their notes."

Sarah was inspired by the stories of Loathly Ladies, with their dual identities as both monsters and beautiful women, and by selkie women, caught between the pull of the human and animal worlds. She found that these complex stories speak to issues of power and control, and of how we look at the female body, enabling us to think about and question contemporary ideas. She was also curious about the ways such stories might be shaped by today's technology, following the fairies into the shape-shifting realm of Instagram.

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Artist of the Week – Sarah Hesketh

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