Heidi Williamson Readings

Heidi Williamson Readings

‘… I’d like to mention one book which moved me to tears, Return by Minor Road, by Heidi Williamson: a stunning and heart-breaking look at the Dunblane massacre, the way grief can infuse a place, and what the aftermath (in the literal sense of the beginnings of a new growth) of such an event feels like in such a close-knit community.’ – Andrew McMillan, Outspoken (Books of the Year 2020)

In her twenties, Heidi was part of a Scottish community that suffered an inconceivable tragedy, the Dunblane Primary School shooting. Those years living in the town form the focus of her third poetry collection Return by Minor Road, published by Bloodaxe in June 2020.




Friday 7 May 2021, 6pm, The Stay-at-Home Literary Festival - via Zoom

Solace in Sound – Three Bloodaxe Poets Explore the Landscape of Grief

Join a trio of Bloodaxe poets whose recent poetry collections span Scotland, Ireland, England and Estonia. Each shares a powerful sense of their formative landscapes; whether farmland, forest, mountains, estuaries, rivers or beyond. In poems that consider the impact of loss – of friends and friendships, parents, or a communal event of the most traumatic kind – these collections foster sympathy and strength. The poets will read from their own work, and also from each other’s, creating a unique conversation about memory and resonance in the landscape.

With Heidi Williamson, Jane Clarke and Philip Gross.  They were reading from their recent collections Return by Minor Road, When the Tree Falls and Between the Islands, and read poems by each other to start and end their own readings.  The start of the video below has been cut off - Philip was in the middle of reading 'The Fisherman' from Jane's debut collection The River.


Oxford Centre for Life-Writing, 10 November 2020

Return by Minor Road: Life-writing, poetry and being an 'incoherent by-stander'

Heidi Williamson was in conversation with Dr Katherine Collins, and read poems from the collection in response to Katherine's questions. The later live Q&A section of the event with the online audience was not filmed.


Heidi Williamson reads her poem 'Place' from Return by Minor Road


In May 2020 Heidi Williamson won the 2019 Plough International Poetry Prize for ‘With a rootless lily held in front of him’, a poem from Return by Minor Road.

Heidi Williamson reading her Plough Prize-winning poem from Return by Minor Road  (Bloodaxe Books, June 2020)





‘This is a book of remembrance, of trauma and grief, but also one of hope, healing and consolation… Return by Minor Road feels like a major achievement. Brilliantly constructed, each poem feels complete in itself, while contributing to a greater whole… A work of vivid phrase-making and lyrical empathy, it is by turns, a celebration of our spirit, a forensic examination of the soul, and a warning of the darkness that lives at the edges of our lives.’ – Christopher James

An in-depth interview with Heidi Williamson is featured in the arts magazine Monk. She spoke to writer Christopher James about grief and the shifting meaning of time and place. Read here.

An excellent review by Neil Leadbeater ran in both Write Out Loud and The Poet Magazine. Read the full review here.

'The final poem, ' Place', poses the question: how much of a place do you ever really leave and how much do you end up taking with you? For many of us, myself included, we will never forget Dunblane. This is a fitting tribute to those whose lives were tragically cut short at such a tender age.' - Neil Leadbeater

Heidi Williamson was intervewed by poet John Greening for the Royal Literary Fund podcast. It was in January 2021, but recorded two years before that. She spoke in detail about her second collection The Print Museum, and more generally about the importance of pattern in writing poems, her need to surprise herself and her new collection drawing on a painful section of public and personal history (Return by Minor Road - from 17:00) - listen here.

'Beautifully crafted and understated, yet deeply moving, Return by Minor Road — Heidi Williamson’s third poetry collection — reflects on trauma, survival and hope, as it makes connections between natural landscape, wildlife and tragedy.' - Jennifer Wong, Ambit

Read the full review here.

Carol Rumens featured 'The rain in the night' from Return by Minor Road as her Poem of the Week in The Guardian of 8 March 2021. Read the feature here.


'The poems in Return By Minor Road are restrained, but, over the whole volume, their rain-like effect is cumulatively powerful.' - Carol Rumens, Poem of the Week, The Guardian

[10 August 2020]

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