Hannah Lowe Readings

Hannah Lowe Readings

'Hannah Lowe's brilliant and entertaining book of sonnets, The Kids, is one of the most humorous and tender collections of recent times.'  - Seán Hewitt, The Irish Times (The year in verse: the best poetry of 2021)


Hannah Lowe's third collection The Kids was published by Bloodaxe on 16 September 2021. It was the Poetry Book Society's Choice for Autumn 2021 and won the Costa Poetry Award 2021. It was also shortlisted for the 2021 T S Eliot Prize.

Hannah Lowe taught for a decade in an inner-city London sixth form during the 2000s. At the heart of this book of compassionate and energetic sonnets are fictionalised portraits of ‘The Kids’, the students she nurtured. But the poems go further, meeting her own child self as she comes of age in the riotous 80s and 90s, later bearing witness to her small son learning to negotiate contemporary London.  Across these deeply felt poems, Lowe interrogates the acts of teaching and learning with empathy and humour. Social class, gender and race – and their fundamental intersection with education – are investigated with an ever critical and introspective eye. These boisterous and musical poems explore the universal experience of what it is to be taught, to learn and to teach.

Her previous two collections are Chick (2014), winner of the 2015 Michael Murphy Prize, and Chan (2016).


Hannah Lowe was a guest on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking on 16 September 2021.  She was discussing ideas of belonging with host Shahidha Bari and fellow guests Akram Khan, Tash Aw and Eleanor Lybeck, and read from The Kids.  Hannah joined the discussion later to talk about the ‘unspoken sorrow’ of her father’s experience of migration from Jamaica to London, and his father’s migration from China to Jamaica.  Hannah contributes at 2.56 and 29.02. She is interviewed from 15.31. Listen here.


The Kids was reviewed by Mary Jean Chan in her Guardian round-up of the best recent poetry on 4 September 2021.  Read in full here.

‘Hannah Lowe’s previous two collections, Chick and Chan, focused on her relationship with her Jamaican-Chinese father, alongside coming-of-age recollections. The Kids marks a departure: an introspective book of modern sonnets, it offers a glimpse into her experiences of teaching in an inner-city London sixth form. The collection includes homages to her own teachers, and concludes with a sequence lovingly written for her young son… This is a playful yet moving collection’ – Mary Jean Chan, The Guardian, best recent poetry


Extracts from the T S Eliot Prize Readings, held on 9 January 2022 at London's Royal Festival Hall, were broadcast on BBC Radio 3's The Verb on Friday 14 January 2022, re-ordered and re-introduced by presenter Ian McMillan, who also hosted the event in London.  Listen here.   Hannah Lowe featured in the intro and from 6:33.

Audio of the full T S Eliot Prize Readings (minus Ian McMillan's introductions) is now on YouTube here.



StAnza: Scotland's International Poetry Festival 2022, 7-13 March 2022

StAnza 2022 will be a hybrid festival, taking place 7-13 March online and in St Andrews. Tickets go on sale mid-January.

Thursday 10 March 2022, 5.30-6.30pm

The Senior School Yurt, St Leonards School, St Leonards Quad, KY16 9QJ

Round Table by the Fire: Hannah Lowe

A round table with Hannah Lowe. She will be reading from her Costa Poetry Prize-winning third collection The Kids.

In-person event.

Price: £9 / £7 / £5

Click here for more information (and to book from mid January).

Friday 11 March 2022, 10-11am

The Byre Theatre - Studio Theatre, Abbey Street, KY16 9LA

Poetry Cafe for Breakfast: Poetry in Exile

Marjorie Lotfi, Nouri Al Jarrah, Yousif M. Qasmiyeh and Hannah Lowe in conversation.

Hannah Lowe has three collections published by Bloodaxe.  Marjorie Lofti was won of the winners of the inaugural James Berry Poetry Prize, and her debut collection will be published by Bloodaxe in 2023.  Hannah Lowe was a friend of the late James Berry and presented a BBC Radio 4 feature on his poetry.

In-person event.  Live in St Andrews – during this event you will be served a breakfast pastry and tea / coffee which is included in the ticket price.

Price: £7 / £5 / £3

Click here for more information (and to book from mid January).



Live-streamed Bloodaxe launch reading, 16 September 2021: Hannah Lowe, Stephanie Norgate and Selima Hill

A joint launch reading by Selima Hill, Hannah Lowe and Stephanie Norgate celebrating the publication of their new poetry collections was live streamed on 16 September 2021.

Hannah Lowe and Stephanie Norgate read live and discussed their new collections with the host, Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley. Audio recordings of Selima Hill reading from and discussing her book with Emily Berry, editor of The Poetry Review, were extracted with permission from the Poetry Society's Poetry Review podcast of April 2021, and were accompanied by screenshares of the poems read and photographs of Selima Hill taken over the many years she has been published by Bloodaxe.

This joyful and very moving event is now on YouTube - see video below.  Stephanie Norgate read first in each set, beginning with her poems in memory of her close friend and fellow Bloodaxe poet Helen Dunmore. Hannah Lowe read second. Stephanie and Hannah discussed their third collections The Conversation and The Kids with host Neil Astley, talking among many other things about the difficult issue of how to write about real people.  Selima Hill's conversation with Emily Berry is an absolute delight - she read and spoke about poems from her 20th collection Men Who Feed Pigeons, as well as much else besides.  Stephanie and Hannah also read their favourite poems from Selima's book.




Saturday 25 September 2021, Poetry East, London Buddhist Centre, 7pm

51 Roman Road, London, E2 0HU

Poetry and Race: Hannah Lowe in conversation with Maitreyabandhu

Hannah Lowe was Maitreyabandhu's guest at Poetry East, London Buddhist Centre.  In person at the LBC and on YouTube live - see video below.

Hannah Lowe is a poet, memoirist and academic. Her first poetry collection Chick (Bloodaxe, 2013) won the Michael Murphy Memorial Award for Best First Collection. In 2014, she was named as one of 20 Next Generation poets. She was in conversation with Maitreyabandhu about her poetry as well as launching her new Bloodaxe collection The Kids (a Poetry Book Society Choice). Hannah was born in Ilford to an English mother and a Jamaican-Chinese father. Her poetry explores family memories, race and difference.

[27 August 2021]

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