Marjorie Lotfi reviews, interviews & poem features

Marjorie Lotfi reviews, interviews & poem features

Winner of the James Berry Poetry Prize

 

‘Lotfi’s imagistically rich debut collection moves from her childhood in Iran, where her family were uprooted by the revolution, to her youth in America and her current home in Scotland … Again and again her radiant language turns over the loss of family intimacy and identity caused by political upheaval and violence...’ - Rebecca Tamás, The Guardian

 

Marjorie Lotfi's first book-length collection, The Wrong Person to Ask, was published by Bloodaxe in October 2023. It is a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation for Winter 2023 and is a joint winner of the inaugural James Berry Poetry Prize.  Marjorie took part in the James Berry Prize Winners' event on 9 November 2023 in Newcastle - scroll down for details.

The Wrong Person to Ask is a book of two halves, each a meditation on the idea of home, both the places we start and end up in our lives. Spanning a childhood in Iran dislocated by revolution, through years as a young woman in America, to Marjorie Lotfi's current home in Scotland, these poems ask what it means to come from somewhere else, what we carry with us when we leave, and how we land in a new place and finally come to rest.

Marjorie Lotfi was born in New Orleans, moved to Tehran as a baby with her American mother and Persian father, and fled Iran at hour's notice during the Iranian Revolution. She lived in different parts of the US before settling in the UK in 1999, and in Scotland in 2005. She now lives in Edinburgh. 

~~~~

Marjorie Lotfi's poem 'Packing for America' from The Wrong Person to Ask was featured on Poems on the Underground posters in London Underground and Overground trains during March 2024. 

See the poster here: https://poemsontheunderground.org/packing-for-america-by-marjorie-lotfi

~~~~

MARJORIE LOTFI CHOSEN FOR THE ILX 10 RISING STARS PROGRAMME

Marjorie Lotfi has been selected for the ILX 10: Rising Stars of UK Writing.  The ILX 10 programme was announced by the National Centre for Writing on 6 June 2024. This is a selection of ten early-career writers based in the UK whose work has the potential to speak to and engage with global literary audiences. The International Literature Exchange is a programme from the National Centre for Writing, Norwich.

https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/writing-hub/ilx10/

A brief interview with Marjorie is included as part of the IXL10 feature, along with quotes from reviews of her first full poetry collection The Wrong Person to Ask.
https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/writing-hub/ilx10-marjorie-lotfi/


ONLINE INTERVIEW WITH MARJORIE LOTFI


Writers’ Mosaic: Marjorie Lotfi, online June 2024

An in-depth interview with Marjorie Lotfi has gone online on the Royal Literary Fund’s Writers’ Mosaic website.  She was in conversation with Colin Grant. They discussed her life, poetry, her forthcoming memoir, as well as her reading group project Open Book.

The interview is available in audio only.  Both audio and text versions are available for the extract from her memoir in progress (‘On Waking’) and her poem (‘Leaving Iran’), as well as for an essay by Marjorie Lotfi, ‘On being both (and neither)’.

Over the course of the interview, Marjorie read and introduced her poems ‘On seeing Iran in the news, I want to say’, ‘The Wrong Person to Ask’, ‘The Last Thing’, ‘When They Ask’ and ‘The Hebridean Crab Apple’ from The Wrong Person to Ask.

They also discussed her two poems responding to photographs: ‘Picture of Girl and Small Boy (Brurij, Gaza, 2014)’ and ‘Picture of Boy, Looking Away (Gaza, 2015)’.  

‘Marjorie Lotfi reflects on her journey towards becoming a writer, from fleeing Iran as a child in 1978 to arriving in Scotland via the USA.’

https://writersmosaic.org.uk/people/marjorie-lotfi/

 

REVIEW COVERAGE

The Alchemy Spoon, Issue 12, June 2024

An excellent review of The Wrong Person to Ask features in the summer issue of The Alchemy Spoon magazine.

'Marjorie Lofti’s debut collection portrays lives that find themselves, again and again, on the wrong side of history, compelled to preserve their own stories [...] Awarded the James Berry Poetry Prize and a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation, the collection of emigration shimmers with ‘what remains’.' – Lesley Sharpe, The Alchemy Spoon

In print only.
 

New Internationalist, May-June 2024

Marjorie Lotfi’s ‘tender and arresting debut’ The Wrong Person to Ask was well reviewed in the May-June 2024 issue of New Internationalist magazine.

The Wrong Person to Ask is a narrative arc of exile and homecoming […] Lotfi’s poetics of compassion challenges us to reconsider the nature of home for the migratory subject, asserting a new concept of belonging that dances between rooting and rootlessness.’ – Orla Polten, New Internationalist

In print. Available online by subscription.
https://newint.org/issues/2024/05/06/debt-which-way-out
 

Orbis, Issue 207, Spring 2024

'... Lotfi explores turbulence. The poems are sharp, bright and lyrically intense, telling complex tales with clarity [...] In this fine book, a poet who has seen such things up close becomes a powerful speaker for the displaced, the traumatised and the lost.' – David Harmer, Orbis

In print only.

 

Gutter, Issue 29, Spring 2024

An excellent review of Marjorie Lotfi’s first full collection The Wrong Person to Ask is featured in the Spring 2024 issue of Scotland’s Gutter magazine.

‘Lotfi’s poetry embraces uncertainty, spanning continents and histories, often grounding itself in the wider connections between people and places ... The Wrong Person to Ask challenges us on what we expect from poetry, and poets, in an elegant and unforgettable way.’ — Sean Wai Keung, Gutter

In print only.
 

REVIEW COVERAGE IN THE GUARDIAN

The Guardian, Poetry Books of the Month, online Friday 3 November, in print Saturday 4 November 2023

Marjorie Lotfi’s The Wrong Person to Ask was given an excellent review in Rebecca Tamás’ November poetry round-up in The Guardian.

‘Lotfi’s imagistically rich debut collection moves from her childhood in Iran, where her family were uprooted by the revolution, to her youth in America and her current home in Scotland. Lotfi is sensitively attuned to the painful dislocation of self that can come from moving between different nations … Again and again her radiant language turns over the loss of family intimacy and identity caused by political upheaval and violence … Lotfi’s book mourns these losses and separations, while at the same time rendering the possibilities of a capacious, multifaceted sense of belonging: “And what is home if not the choice – / over and over again – to stay?”’ - Rebecca Tamás, The Guardian (Best recent poetry roundup)

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2023/nov/03/the-best-recent-poetry-review-roundup

 

ONLINE REVIEW COVERAGE

DURA (Dundee University Review of the Arts), online 8 March 2024

Marjorie Lotfi’s first full collection The Wrong Person to Ask was warmly reviewed online in DURA ahead of her appearance at StAnza International Poetry Festival.

‘This debut title comes to terms with displacement and settlement—the tug of the past, linguistic heritages, absence and presence, unbelonging and alienation as much as hospitality and reciprocity between strangers—using the contours of Lotfi and her family’s journeys to put together a collection that is full of heart even as it tackles tough political themes.’ – Gail Low, DURA (Dundee University Review of the Arts)

https://dura-dundee.org.uk/2024/03/08/the-wrong-person-to-ask/


ONLINE POEM OF THE WEEK FEATURE IN THE GUARDIAN

The Guardian, Poem of the Week, online Monday 4 December 2023

Carol Rumens has featured ‘Picture of Girl and Small Boy (Burij, Gaza, 2014)’ from Marjorie Lotfi’s debut The Wrong Person to Ask in her online Poem of the Week column in The Guardian of 4 December. The poem was reproduced in full, followed by Carol’s commentary.

‘Marjorie Lotfi’s first full-length collection, The Wrong Person to Ask is a clear-eyed, sometimes productively reticent debut, and was one of three winners of the James Berry Poetry prize… Lotfi is a quiet and faithful witness. There is no self-indulgent introspection. She insists on seeing what she sees.’ – Carol Rumens, The Guardian (Poem of the Week)

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2023/dec/04/poem-of-the-week-from-the-wrong-person-to-ask-by-marjorie-lotfi

 

ONLINE POEM FEATURE IN BOOKS FROM SCOTLAND

BooksfromScotland, online 23 October 2023


Four powerful poems of migration and home from Marjorie Lotfi’s debut collection The Wrong Person to Ask are featured online in the autumn issue of BooksfromScotland to mark the book's publication.

The poems featured are ‘Packing for America’, ‘The Last Thing’, ‘Granddaughter, I entered your mother’s house’ and ‘The Hebridean Crab Apple’.

https://booksfromscotland.com/2023/10/the-wrong-person-to-ask/

 

POEM OF THE WEEK IN THE SCOTSMAN

The Scotsman, Poem of the Week, Saturday 7 October 2023

The title poem from Marjorie Lotfi’s debut collection The Wrong Person to Ask was featured as Poem of the Week in The Scotsman Magazine on 7 October.

‘The poems span her childhood in pre-revolutionary Iran, years spent in the United States and her current life in Scotland. With such a globe-spanning personal history there is, inevitably, much questioning of what constitutes home and identity.’The Scotsman, Poem of the Week, on The Wrong Person to Ask

In print only.

 

INTERVIEW WITH MARJORIE LOTFI IN THE SKINNY

The Skinny, Books interview, October 2023 issue

A full-page interview with Marjorie Lotfi is featured in the October 2023 issue of The Skinny ahead of publication of her debut collection The Wrong Person to Ask on 19 October. Marjorie moved to the UK in 1999 and settled in Scotland in 2005. She now lives in Edinburgh.

‘Against this backdrop of rigid political boundaries, Lotfi’s collection is also in intimate conversation with the natural world, a relationship which offers new ways of understanding emplacement beyond ideas of nationhood.’ - Andrés Ordorica, The Skinny, on The Wrong Person to Ask

‘Books author Marjorie Lotfi, whose new poetry collection explores ideas of place, home, migration.’

In print and online at The Skinny's website here.

~~~~~

JAMES BERRY POETRY PRIZE EVENT

James Berry Prize Winners' Reading, Culture Lab, Newcastle University, Thursday 9 November 2023, 7pm

Marjorie Lotfi joined fellow winner Kaycee Hill for this special event at Newcastle University celebrating the winners of the inaugural James Berry Poetry Prize. Their readings were followed by a Q&A hosted by Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley and poet and director of the Newcastle Poetry Festival Theresa Muñoz.

The James Berry Poetry Prize is the UK’s first poetry prize offering both expert mentoring and book publication for young or emerging poets of colour. Organised by NCLA with Bloodaxe Books, and supported by special funding from Arts Council England, the prize was launched in April 2021.  Marjorie Lotfi and Kaycee Hill won the inaugural prize in 2021 jointly with Yvette Siegert, whose debut will be published by Bloodaxe in 2025.

Marjorie Lotfi reads from The Wrong Person to Ask at Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts

Marjorie read from her new collection at this launch event in November 2023, celebrating the winners of the inaugural James Berry Poetry Prize.

 

For details of Marjorie's other forthcoming events, see: https://www.bloodaxebooks.com/events?articleid=1290

 

BBC RADIO SCOTLAND RADIO INTERVIEW

Marjorie Lotfi was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland's Sunday Morning show on 1 October 2023, broadcast live in front of an audience at Wigtown Book Festival. She read three poems from her debut collection The Wrong Person to Ask and discussed them and the background to the book with host Zara Janjua. The poems she read were ‘Maman Bozorg’, ‘The Game’ and ‘The Hebridean Crab Apple’. 

No longer available on BBC Sounds, but details are below. Majorie featured at 1:03:18, 1:30:30 (on her children’s book), 1:35.00 and 1:52:12.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001r0zx


[11 October 2023]


Back to News And Publicity

cart
CART
search
TITLE SEARCH

A-Z

AUTHORS

A-Z

CATEGORIES

View Smaller Text