Kirsten Norrie is a writer who publishes poetry under her matrilineal name, MacGillivray. Published by Bloodaxe in the UK and Red Hen in the US, she is the author of three poetry collections; The Gaelic Garden of the Dead (Bloodaxe, 2019), The Nine of Diamonds: Surroial Mordantless, (Bloodaxe, 2016) and The Last Wolf of Scotland (Red Hen, 2013). Educated at the University of Oxford, she has received numerous awards from Creative Scotland for her work which has been featured on BBC Radio 3, Late Junction and The Verb, and BBC Radio 4 Great Lives. In 2018 she founded The Oxford School of Poetry who act as publisher for the quarterly journal Blackwell's Poetry and is a tutor for the Poetry School, London. A 2019 writer-in-residence at the Fondation Jan Michalski, Switzerland, her poetry has been published and reviewed in journals and magazines including Magma, Be the First to Like This, 50 British Poets under 50, Modern Poetry in Translation, the Scotsman, the Herald, Butcher's Dog, Poetry London and Test Centre. In 2020 MIT/Strange Attractor will publish Scottish Lost Boys: Twelve Renegade Essays and she is currently working on her first novel The Man With Fourteen Lives for Jonathan Clowes Literary Agency.
'CATASTROPHES, from the battles of Catreath and Maldon to the Light Brigade, make for better poetry. In recent times, the writer and artist Kirsten Norrie, in the persona of MacGillivray, honours this tradition, the heady plunge into 'nutrient slaughter', with The Nine of Diamonds, a savage riposte to Culloden, conjured from tarot cards. 'I stand behind a waterfall,' MacGillivray said, 'comprised of frozen blood.'
When Edith the swan pedalo was hurled back by raging October seas in Hastings, MacGillivray's keenings stilled the waves. Later, she took to the English roads in the black velvet of John Clare's burnt muse, Mary Joyce. 'Blood makes me the ghost.' The colophon of her publisher, Bloodaxe Books, shows a helmeted Viking warrior, shield, axe and apron-skirt, rushing to annihilation.' - Iain Sinclair, The Last London.
P U B L I C A T I O N S
"MacGillivray’s The Gaelic Garden Of The Dead is magnificent. You are holding in your hands a spell of sibylline leaves."
— Ishion Hutchinson,
Poet, Faber & Faber