Kathryn Simmonds is first Charles Causley Poet in Residence

simmonds cropped author shot  13

The Charles Causley Trust is delighted to announce that Kathryn Simmonds has been awarded the first Charles Causley Residency. Kathryn and her family will be based in Launceston for six months from October this year.

‘”It’s a delight and an honour to be the first Charles Causley Poet-in-Residence,” said Kathryn, “and I look forward to living and writing in beautiful Cornwall.”

Cornwall Council member for Launceston Central Alex Folkes said: “We look forward to welcoming Kathryn Simmonds to Launceston and are excited by the possibilities for cultural engagement that this project brings to the town and Cornwall”

Kathryn Simmonds was born in Hertfordshire and worked in children’s publishing before taking a creative writing MA at the University of East Anglia in 2002. She received an Eric Gregory Award in the same year and her pamphlet, Snug, a winner in the Smith/Doorstop pamphlet competition, was published in 2004. Her collection Sunday at the Skin Launderette won the Forward Prize for best first collection in 2008 and was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award and longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines and broadcast on Radio 4, and she has written an afternoon play for Radio 4 Poetry for Beginners. Her second poetry collection The Visitations is published by Seren, who will also publish her first novel Love and Fallout in 2014. The residency will give Kathryn the opportunity to further develop her own practice, whilst engaging a range of participants through a programme of events and activities that will encourage and inspire creative writing and poetry appreciation. There will be opportunities to take part both online and in person. Literature Works (the literature development agency for the South West) is working closely with the Trust to support the residency project, which has attracted funding from Arts Council England and Cornwall Council. 

Trustee of The Charles Causley Trust with the residency portfolio Ronald Tamplin, said: “The Charles Causley Trust is overjoyed to see a long cherished project ambition become reality, and looks forward to working with Kathryn and welcoming her to Cornwall as the Trust’s first Poet in Residence.”

The Trust has also launched a new Charles Causley Poetry Competition, which will be judged by their patron, Sir Andrew Motion. With a first prize of £3,000 it’s expected to attract entries from across the globe. This is an exciting time for the Trust, which has also been successful in raising a £162,000 funding package to support urgent repairs to Charles Causley’s House and its refurbishment.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England said: “We have been delighted to support the work done by the Charles Causley Trust in partnership with Literature Works, an Arts Council England National portfolio organisation, and Cornwall Council to preserve and build on the legacy of a nationally renowned poet. Now, through our National Lottery funded Grants for the arts scheme, we are looking forward to seeing the writer in residence programme further stimulate literature development in East Cornwall and the south west.

The cultural sector is one of the fastest growing in the economy following sustained government investment, and by working in partnership with arts organisations and local authorities on transformative projects like this, we can continue to create opportunities for both artists and their communities.”

CEO of Literature Works Tracey Guiry said: “Kathryn is a superb writer and a real talent. We’re delighted to be assisting The Charles Causley Trust in offering her the opportunity to develop her practice in this way. She’s launching a new collection with her publishers Seren later this year and we’re looking forward very much to celebrating this while she is in Cornwall.”

Councillor Julian German – Portfolio Holder for Economy and Culture said “Cornwall Council is really pleased to be involved with the Charles Causley Trust and ensuring that there is a legacy to the great poet’s work. Cornwall has a wealth of poetic heritage as well as a vibrant literary scene now. Poetry is important for its intrinsic value but also for education, tourism and commerce. Charles Causley captured a great deal of Cornwall’s idiosyncrasies and unique identity and I hope that Kathryn and the following Poets in Residence will use their gift to portray our fantastic environment, characters and culture.”