Profile: Rachel McCrum


Rachel landed in Edinburgh in the spring of 2010. Originally from a small seaside town called Donaghadee in Northern Ireland, she has lived in Oxford, New Zealand, Belfast and Manchester, and found writing, poetry and literature to be the one constant in a number of careers veering from park ranger to management consultant. In Edinburgh, she joined the Inky Fingers Collective, then operating out of the Forest Cafe in Bristo Place, and a love affair with spoken word was quickly embarked on.

In 2012, Rachel was a finalist in the National Scottish Slam Finals (part of Aye Write! Festival, Glasgow), the BBC Edinburgh Festival Slam, and winner of the International Woman’s Day Slam. She has since performed at Latitude Festival 2013, StAnza 2013, Wickerman Festival, Neu Reekie at Noir! Summerhall, The Golden Hour, Speakeasy with Jo Caulfield, and as part of the ‘Hello Poetry!’ tour. She has headlined nights at One Night In Rio and Fail Better! in Glasgow, and has shared stages with Liz Lochead, Carol Ann Duffy, Josie Long and Phil Jupitus.

Her first pamphlet, ‘The Glassblower Dances’ was published in July 2012 by Stewed Rhubarb Press. A subsequent reviews in the Scottish Review of Books noted her writing ‘moves easily and intelligently between performance and page, as she combines the linear and leisurely flow of the performer with the feel for structure and pattern of a page poet, and a complexity of thought which does credit to both’.

In May 2013, it was announced that her pamphlet had been awarded the 2013 Callum MacDonald Award from the National Library of Scotland. As a result of this, she spent two weeks in Nafplio, Greece as the Michael Marks Poet in Residence at the Harvard Centre for Hellenic Studies.

With Inky Fingers, the Edinburgh based spoken word collective, Rachel has organised writing and performance workshops including ‘They Shoot Writers, Don’t They?’ (a 36 hour writing marathon in August 2011), Poetry Takeaway with the Scottish Poetry Library, an all day zine workshop for National Flash Fiction Day, and ‘CallooCallay! A city wide literary scavenger hunt’ with the Scottish Book Trust for the inaugural Book Week Scotland. She is currently working with Age Scotland on behalf of Inky Fingers to co ordinate the 2013 Luminate Festival Slam.

She has worked widely as a judge for poetry slams and writing competitions, including the BBC Edinburgh Festival Slam 2011, the Luminate! Slam 2012 for Age Scotland, and the Craigmillar Creative Writing Competition 2012.

Rachel runs workshops in performance technique, focussing on working through nervousness for first time performers, and developing physical and preparation skills for performing and hosting events. She has worked with students from the Edinburgh University Literature Society, MidLothian Libraries, and pupils from Tollcross Primary School.

She also works as project manager to intiate and co ordinate development in spoken word activity amongst community writing groups in East and Mid Lothian.

When she’s not running around lunatic promoting and performing with spoken word in Scotland, she likes dark chocolate, red wine and roll up cigarettes. And once upon a time, she went sailing.


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