Jay Whittaker prioritised her writing in her mid-40s after her civil partner died and she started cancer treatment. I didn’t meet many other people like me – queer-widowed, finding my way through cancer-land. Poetry was a lifeline for me, and I wrote the poems I would have liked to read.”

Now an award winning author of two full length collections, Sweet Anaesthetist, (Cinnamon Press, 2020) and Wristwatch, (Cinnamon Press, 2017), which was Poetry Book of the Year 2018 in Scotland’s National Book Awards, she continues to write irreverent, unsentimental poems that demystify mortality, illness and loss with hope and often wry humour.

Jay has lived and worked in Edinburgh since 1995 and Scotland is very much home, though she grew up much further south, in Devon and Nottingham. Much of her writing is rooted in the landscapes she knows well – Edinburgh, East Lothian, and the Hebridean island of Iona.

Read the entry about Jay’s poems on the Scottish Poetry Library’s Online Guide to Scottish poets.

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Jay Whittaker