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.
‘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
Martyn Crucefix reviewed Return by Minor Road on his blog here.
'Love of the natural world and love of family – especially youth – resonates through this quietly convincing collection which manages to take on its daunting subject matter and emerge, not victorious of course, but having argued on behalf of resilience, on the side of hope.' - Martyn Crucefix
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.
Heidi has given a number of very moving readings from Return by Minor Road in autumn 2020, including at the Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival.
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)
[10 August 2020]