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‘I am not sure where the shape of me ends and the dark water begins. My own heart is the beating heart of the Pond. The only sure thing is my body.’ Nina Mingya Powles, ‘Small Bodies of Water’
Join swimming writers Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, Amy Liptrot and Nina Mingya Powles as they
read from their work, and discuss the currents flowing between swimming, life-writing and poetry with Little Unsuspected Paradise hosts Polly Atkin (swimmer) and Will Smith (avowed non-
swimmer), in association with Sam Read Bookseller.
In this panel discussion we will talk about the swelling waves of wild swimming literature, the
challenges of writing the shallows and depths, and explore new writing in new waters.
Bring your kit for an optional post-discussion swim in Grasmere (any weather other than totally apocalyptic allowing). We will swim from the Penny Rock side of Grasmere, a ten minute walk
along the A591 from the talk venue. All experienced cold-water swimmers welcome, whether wetsuit-wearer or skins. Swimming is at your own risk.
Elizabeth-Jane Burnett is a writer of English and Kenyan heritage from Devon. Her debut poetry collection Swims (Penned in the Margins, 2017) was a Sunday Times Best Poetry Book of
the Year and features a poem highly commended in the Forward Prize. Her academic
monograph A Social Biography of Contemporary Innovative Poetry Communities: The Gift, the Wager and Poethics (Palgrave, 2017) explores the ways that recent experimental poetry scenes operate along a
gift economy. She is a regular contributor to BBC3’s Free Thinking. Her nature writing
memoir The Grassling: A Geological Memoir was published by Penguin in 2019.
Amy Liptrot is the author of The Outrun (Canongate, 2016). She has published her work with various magazines, journals and blogs and wrote a regular column for Caught by the River out of
which The Outrun emerged. As well as writing for major newspapers including the Guardian and
the Observer, Amy has worked as an artist’s model, a trampolinist and in a shellfish factory. The
Outrun was awarded the 2016 Wainwright Prize and was shortlisted for the 2016 Wellcome Prize. Amy is an avid wild swimmer.
Nina Mingya Powles is a poet, essayist, zinemaker and editor of mixed Malaysian-Chinese heritage, born in Aotearoa New Zealand, and now living in London. She is poetry co-editor of The Shanghai Literary Review and the founding editor of Bitter Melon 苦瓜. Her first full poetry
collection Magnolia, 木蘭, will be published by Nine Arches later in 2020, following poetry
pamphlets field notes on a downpour (If a Leaf Fall Press, 2018) and Luminescent (Seraph Press, 2017).
Her food memoir Tiny Moons: A Year of Eating in Shanghai was published by The Emma Press in February 2020. She was co-winner of the 2018 Women Poets’ Prize and won the inaugural Nan
Shepherd Prize for Nature Writing in 2019.
26.09.20 | 11am
Wordsworth Trust Learning Space, Grasmere