Jenni Fagan was born in Livingston, Scotland, and lives in Edinburgh. She graduated from Greenwich University with the highest possible mark for a student of Creative Writing, and won a scholarship to the Royal Holloway MFA. A published poet, she has won awards from Arts Council England, Dewar Arts, and Scottish Screen among others. She has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize and the James Tait Black Prize. Jenni was selected for the 2013 Granta list after the publication of her highly acclaimed debut The Panopticon.
Set in a Scottish caravan park during a freak winter – it is snowing in Jerusalem, the Thames is overflowing, and an iceberg separated from the Fjords in Norway is expected to arrive off the coast of Scotland – The Sunlight Pilgrims tells the story of a small Scottish community living through what people have begun to think is the end of times. Bodies are found frozen in the street with their eyes open, midst economic collapse, schooling and health care are run primarily on a voluntary basis. Dylan, a refugee from panic-stricken London who is grieving for his mother and his grandmother, arrives in the caravan park in the middle of the night – to begin his life anew. Under the lights of the aurora borealis, he is drawn to his neighbour Constance, a woman who is known for having two lovers, her eleven-year old daughter Stella, who is struggling to navigate changes in her own life, and elderly Barnacle, so crippled that he walks facing the earth. But as the temperature drops, daily life carries on: people get out of bed, they make a cup of tea, they fall in love, they complicate.
This new book, The Witch in the Word Machine, is a collection that underpins Jenni Fagan's entire approach to words. Her spell poems are portraits of people, lovers and cities: Paris, New York, Edinburgh, Detroit, LA, and San Francisco. The excerpts of her Truth poem are a political response to great uncertainty in the world right now. This collection is an exploration of words as spells, incantations, curse and solace.
It's November 2020 and the world is freezing over. As ice water melts into the Atlantic, and vast swathes of people make for the warmer south, Dylan is heading to Scotland, once the home of his late mother and grandmother. Twelve-year-old Stella and her survivalist mother, Constance, scrape by in the snowy Highlands, preparing for a record-breaking winter. Living out of a caravan, they spend their days digging through landfills, searching for anything of value. When Dylan arrives in the middle of the night, their lives change course. Though the weather worsens, his presence brings a new light to daily life, and when the ultimate disaster finally strikes, they'll all be ready.
The Dead Queen of Bohemia is a journey through a life lived on the edge. With a poetic style influenced by Gertrude Stein and William Burroughs, this collection is woven with surrealistic imagery that is both unflinching and dislocating. Fagan's poetry is raw and tough yet beautiful and tender and with themes of loss and recovery, hope and defiance, represents a clarion call from a self-taught poet who started writing at the age of seven and so far has not stopped. The Dead Queen of Bohemia documents the progression of a voice and a life written over the last twenty years. It opens with Jenni's most recent work and includes her previous two collections, both now out of print.
JENNI FAGAN HAS BEEN NAMED AS ONE OF GRANTA MAGAZINE'S BEST OF YOUNG BRITISH NOVELISTS 2013 SHORTLISTED FOR THE JAMES TAIT BLACK PRIZE FOR FICTION AND THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE 2013 Fifteen-year old Anais Hendricks is smart, funny and fierce, but she is also a child who has been let down, or worse, by just about every adult she has ever met. Sitting in the back of a police car, she finds herself headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders where the social workers are as suspicious as its residents. But Anais can't remember the events that have led her there, or why she has blood on her school uniform...