Eleanor Sophia Cooke


Born in London 1976; moved to Scotland 1978; studied social anthropology Edinburgh Uni, worked various part-time jobs & sold my craftwork (painted glass); went to work in London, didn't like it (the job, that is): wrote short stories and poems to keep myself normal. Left job. Won 2nd prize in a big short story award, met agents, erroneously believed writing was a lucrative career and wrote a novel. Wrote another. Both published: one shortlisted for an award; ate many canapes and moved to Berlin for 2 years (cheap rent, good canals and the best falafel). Worked in a rockabilly bar, learned terrible German. Worked as a film extra. Got a camera and started taking photos. Got a job teaching Creative Writing part-time with the O.U. Moved back to Edinburgh; lived in a big shared flat with some musicians; won a poetry prize. Started making slideshows of my photography to show alongside readings of poetry. Did my poetry & photography set at festivals on Colonsay, in Nairn, overseas in Sharjah, and at poetry/spoken word nights at the Glasgow Art Club and the Arches (Glasgow) and venues in Edinburgh. Set up a creative writing centre in Edinburgh called Skriva. Got some big poetry commissions, for the Year of Natural Scotland, and for Culture 2014 (the Commonwealth Games). Took part in a tandem poetry translation project in Ukraine, turning literal translations from Ukrainian to English into poems, and having my poems translated, too. Travelled with work (literary festivals and panel events / travel writing for newspapers) to various places: Serbia, Bosnia, Norwegian Arctic, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Moscow, Prague, USA, Kyrgyzstan, China, Portugal. Gave the keynote speech on 'Style Versus Content' at the Edinburgh World Writers' Conference event in Beijing, quoting from the poetry of Adrienne Rich and Liu Xiaobo. Got a wee flat with my boyfriend. Currently making a garden, finishing 3rd novel, writing poems, and teaching at Skriva and with the O.U.