Nancy Campbell began her career making, rather than writing, books. She studied as an apprentice to master craftsmen in letterpress studios in North America, from British Columbia to Brooklyn, and she has written, designed and published a number of limited edition books including How To Say ‘I Love You’ In Greenlandic: An Arctic Alphabet (winner of the Birgit Skiöld Award 2014).
Campbell’s curiosity about the natural world led her further north to the Arctic, where she held residencies at a number of museums and research organisations between 2010 and 2017. These experiences formed the core of her first poetry collection, Disko Bay, which was described by Carol Ann Duffy as the work of ‘a deft, dazzling and dangerous new poet writing from the furthest reaches of both history and climate change’.
Other projects connected with climate issues include ACE-funded live literature project ‘The Polar Tombola’, and The Library of Ice: Readings in a Cold Climate (longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2019).
In January 2018 the poet took up a residency closer to home. She was appointed Canal Laureate, following in the footsteps of poets Jo Bell and Luke Kennard. For a year she travelled the 2000 miles of canals and towpaths looked after by the Canal & River Trust, both alone and in the company of other artists and writers, writing poems intended to ‘surprise and delight users of the waterways’.
When not writing or paddling, Nancy Campbell has worked in publishing, as editor of international art magazine Printmaking Today,and co-editor of individual issues of Oxford Poetry and Dark Mountain journal.
- Navigations, HappenStance, 2020
- The Library of Ice: Readings from a Cold Climate (ScribnerUK, 2018)
- Bill Jacklin: Graphics (Royal Academy Publishing, 2017)
- Death of a Foster Son (Bird Editions, 2017)
- Disko Bay (Enitharmon, 2015)
- How to Say ‘I Love You’ in Greenlandic: An Arctic Alphabet (MIEL, 2014)
Author photo credit: Annie Schlechter