Julie-ann Rowell grew up in Devon and was interested in writing from an early age. It was while studying for an MA in creative writing at Bath Spa University College that she was encouraged to write poetry. Since then, she has had over fifty poems published in various magazines and anthologies. Convergence, Julie-ann's first collection of poems, published by The Brodie Press, was awarded a prestigious Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice in winter 2003. She has also won first prize in the Frogmore Poetry Competition 2005 (for 'The Loch at Harray') and was a runner-up in the 2006 Birdport Poetry Competition (for 'The Whole Red Sky'). Julie-ann has participated in a number of festivals, including Dartington and Wells, and teaches literature and creative writing dayschools on the Lifelong Learning programme at the University of Bristol. She has published a novel for older teenagers and adults, Sea Change.
Julie-ann's second collection of poems, Letters North, was published by The Brodie Press in July 2008.
In this collection of poems, Julie-ann Rowell explores her strong emotional connection to the landscape of Ireland, its people, culture and history. Through this the poems bring together aspects of a person cohering in one place, and raise questions about how who we are relates to the places where we live.
Julie-ann Rowell's latest collection elegantly captures the shifting relationship between humankind and our natural surroundings. The strong sense of place intertwines with a feeling of dislocation from the present and the immense pull of the past. Fleeting human connections appear steeped in significance and ancestors are ever-present whilst the familiar and the everyday seem strangely removed.
Photo of Julie-ann Rowell by Maureen Weller
St Stephen’s Green
Cliffs of Moher
The Sun at Midnight
You can visit Julie-ann Rowell's website here.
Sea Change is published by Solidus Press here.
Julie-ann belongs to the Moor Poets, a Dartmoor-based group of writers.
Praise for Letters North:
'Letters North is a fine collection, constantly alert to the distances between people and the things that cannot be spoken. Positioning the self in relation to place, and memory, Rowell presents a world where events and objects are both vividly realised in their own right and a means of connecting with others across time and space. The 'letters of the title refer to more than just the title sequence; Rowell writes poems that are urgent communications, forging a shared present with the reader.'
- Jane Griffiths
Praise for Convergence:
'Engaging narratives, bright with insights, Rowell's poems have an accomplished lyricism which subtly takes hold and refuses to let the reader go.'
- Deryn Rees-Jones
'A beguiling mixture of undramatic telling and unswerving observation, the poems build into a travelogue through Ireland where imagined lives spill out of every chance encounter. The penultimate poem, 'St. Stephen's Green' ends with the narrator giving up her vigil in the park to enter the world of the "normal" traveller, the hotel foyer, hiding her hands. This could be an image of how the collection works as a whole, moving in and out of strangeness, tucking the poetic self-consciously out of sight.'
- Sian Hughes, Poetry Book Society Bulletin
'The unity of Rowell's poems inheres partly in her Irish landscapes, and partly in the vivid sense impressions through which she renders them. Her images and perceptions are frequently arresting: a crab whose 'verdigris carapace casts him in bronze', 'the fishing boat/giving itself a little shake, like a dog after swimming'. These poems can help us to see things as if for the first time. They are also, often, uncomfortably perceptive, revealing the disparity between ideal vision and painful reality.'
- Jeremy Hooker