Published Works

Awards and Competitions

Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison Award-Winning Finalist in the Poetry category of the International Book Awards, 2020.

Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison special mention for Best Spoken Word Show and Best Collaborative Work in the Saboteur Awards, 2020.

‘Katie Gliddon’ (Rare Birds) Highly Commended: Yaffle Poetry Prize, 2019.

‘Nameless Prostitute’ (Rare Birds) Longlisted Magma 74 (Work edition), 2019.

Awarded a Grant for the Arts (Arts Council England) to adapt Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison into a theatrical showcase, 2018.

‘Colonel Barker’ (Rare Birds) Longlisted (top 50 out of 2500 entries): Live Canon Poetry Competition, 2018.

Awarded a Grant for the Arts (Arts Council England) to research and write Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison, 2016.

‘First Kiss’, Shortlisted: Inscribe Media Global Short Story Competition, 2013.

‘Fog’, Highly Commended: Hastings International Poetry Competition, 2012.

Berth – Voices of the Titanic, 2nd Runner-Up: Cork Literary Review Manuscript Competition, 2011.

Berth – Voices of the Titanic, awarded full Arts Council funding to stage the collection, 2012.

‘Victorine’ finalist for Aesthetica Creative Works Anthology, 2009.

Hotel Grandiose, twenty-minute play, short-listed and performed for the Ruth Edenbury Prize for plays, 1999.

Collections and Pamphlets

Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison SIGNED COPY (includes UK p+p)

RARE BIRDS (Valley Press, 2020) is an epic journey, in poetry, through a hundred years of history at London's Holloway Prison.

£13.50

Frayed SIGNED COPY (includes UK p+p)

FRAYED (Indigo Dreams, 2016) explores a number of interwoven themes including nature, relationships and the complexities of the mind.

£6.75

Berth – Voices of the Titanic SIGNED COPY (includes UK p+p)

Natalie Scott’s debut collection of poetry, BERTH (Bradshaw Books, 2012), brings together myriad diverse voices, tapping into the psyche of those affected by the sinking of the Titanic.

£10.00

Brushed SIGNED COPY (includes UK p+p)

BRUSHED (Mudfog, 2010) is about painting new perspectives, giving voices to those we can’t hear and adding colour to the aspects of life which often seem black and white.

£4.00

Reviews and Endorsements

Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison

“This is an astonishing collection, compelling and well-crafted. Scott’s poems are scalpel-sharp in exposing the suffering of the prisoners and the shocking inequalities of life for them, where well-fed men stand in judgement without the least understanding of why the crimes were committed: poverty, prostitution, ill-treatment including violence, and a burning desire for equality are common threads in the stories of the inmates of Holloway. This book would make an incredible stage show, to bring it to an even wider audience.

If you only read one poetry book this year, make it this one. You will be glad you did.”

Reviewed by poet Angela Topping for London Grip. Read the full review here.

“Clever, entertaining and inventive, the book has a documentary interest in the grim details of life inside — the rituals of reception, rules, dress, work, food, solitary and chapel.But the book’s real strength is to give voice to the thousands of women, beggars, prostitutes, petty criminals and pick-pockets who entered through the gates from a life outside of poverty, injustice, hunger and cold, like Emma Mary Bird, the first prisoner through the gates in 1852, in the poem For Want of Sureties or the protagonist of Nameless Prostitute, who’s on the merry-go-round of the justice system:“doing this job is a bit like riding/the merry-go-round/but it’s them that keep feeding/coins to the man with his hand on the lever… when I think I could be better/they take me to Holloway/and tell me I will never be better/because when I come out/they will have their money ready…”

Reviewed by poet Andy Croft for Morning Star. Read the full review here.

“A rare bird indeed is a volume that combines a brilliant concept, a spectral choir of compelling voices, a host of forms traditional, experimental, and technically excellent, and a deep thematic coherence. Natalie Scott’s extraordinary aviary houses the plaintive, broken, cackling birdsongs of a century-worth of Holloway’s inhabitants, from sensational cases of the day – Ruth Ellis, Edith Thompson, the Mosleys – through career and petty criminals, to the otherwise lost-forever-in-the-vaults – beggars, prostitutes, the written-off as mad – right down to what Dylan called ‘each unharmful gentle soul misplaced inside a jail.’ Nearly all are victims of men, of their laws, their ways, their times, while the Suffragettes run like a dark golden cord through the heart of the piece, righteous, wronged, defiant, indestructible. Rising above the self-exonerating wails of hangmen and clergymen, these fragments of female suffering grow from their separate arias of misery to a marvellous common chorus of witness and defiance.” – Glyn Maxwell (poet and playwright)

“Rare Birds may have a single focus, but it is a book of unusual scope and power. Working with original documents and an unerring, uncompromising humanity, Scott finds the voice in all stories, and the song in all voices. There’s skill here, in bucketloads, and there’s knowledge, veracity, hard labour – but most of all, there’s a deep passion for the subject at hand. Like the loudest, largest choir, this book sings with a hundred divergent voices. Harsh and tender, melancholy and brutal, lyrical, rhythmic and visual, its varied colours are stitched together with skill, insight and sheer poetic skill. And this is not just a stunningly executed historical document: with its unsettling resonances of contemporary social injustice, these are stories which are still being lived in communities and prisons around the UK. Thank goodness we have poets like Scott to write them down.” – Clare Shaw (poet) 

“Rare Birds is one of the most extraordinary poetry collections I’ve ever read. Dozens of inhabitants of Holloway Prison – and the building itself – come to life as we’re led through a century of a dizzying, exhilarating, dazzling cacophony of voices. Suffragettes Emily Wilding Davison and Sylvia Pankhurst pop up alongside Oscar Wilde, the last woman to be hanged in Britain: Ruth Ellis, her executioner Albert Pierrepoint, his wife Anne and The Mosleys. As well as many other familiar, obscure and anonymous prisoners alongside assorted governors, warders, chaplains and toffs. Each voice is given a form that fits its place in this stunningly well-crafted and rich chorale. Bawdy ballads and popular songs echo through quieter moments in which the cost of letters and lives placed under erasure are illustrated with telling and resonant documentary detail and imagery. The collection builds through a great display of ventriloquism and craft into a disturbing (and disturbingly entertaining) portrait of a society controlling and curtailing its citizens whilst reproducing the hierarchies that meant life inside and outside the prison was hardest for poor women – whose resistance was least likely to pay off. There is a baleful beauty to their resulting angry music which will go “on and on and on and on and on” as a lyrical, life affirming counterpoint to the power games which provoked it.” – Kate Fox (writer, broadcaster, performer) 

“The noble, the nameless, and the notorious: until its closure in 2016, Holloway Prison held all kinds and classes for more than a century and a half. In this rich and resonant collection, Natalie Scott once more unlocks the prison doors and leads the reader in among the cry and chatter of diverse voices that have been echoing through its cells and corridors, though largely unheard, for so long. Convicts and commentators, warders and reformers, the devout and the damned: all emerge into the light to tell their stories. Deftly written with robust sensitivity, these are characters who will remain with you, with all their flawed and vigorous humanity.” – Oz Hardwick (poet)

“In this fascinating and moving collection Natalie Scott, via extensive research, allows us to hear the voices of long-dead prisoners in Holloway. Each poem stands alone with its own tale to tell but the cumulative effect, especially as many of the voices are from the era of suffragettes, the Cat and Mouse Act, force-feeding and a hostile legal system, is extraordinarily powerful. The voices of the famous are here alongside their unknown fellow prisoners being hanged for minor crimes, giving birth alone in a cell or just being caught in a trap of poverty. The collection will, I’m sure, find its way onto academic syllabuses but for me its major value is the extraordinary act of sensitive ventriloquism by the poet who is to be congratulated for an awe-inspiring achievement.” – Carole Bromley (poet)

“The collection combines linguistic finesse with painful honesty: the descriptions of the brutality inflicted on the occupants of the cells, from slapping to restraining to the horror of force feeding, bring to life what the women endured. Scott does not present them as martyrs, however: she always looks for the human quality, even the flaws in these extraordinary women. Emily Wilding Davison, for example, presents herself to us as “the limelight lady”, with considerable relish, reimagining the horror of force feeding as the ministrations of a set of enamoured men.” – Jo Colley (poet)

“A riveting collection of voices from behind the walls of Holloway Prison. From prisoners to wardresses, doctors and hangmen, this is an essential read for everyone interested in the shocking history of women in prison.” – Caitlin Davies (historian and author of Bad Girls: A History of Rebels and Renegades)

“[Rare Birds is] a powerful and emotive collection reflecting how little incarceration and the impact it has on the lives of those affected has changed through the decades.  There are clear lessons to be learned from the eloquent and passionate accounts of lived experience yet the Criminal Justice System still has a long way to go in truly hearing those voices. It struck me that the echoes of the past are the voice of now – we must listen and act, to improve the future for those requiring rehabilitation and resettlement.” – Emma Falk (Operational Manager, Ripon House Approved Premise – rehabilitation of offenders)

“Rare Birds is a thought-provoking collection that gives voice to a broad range of the people who lived and worked in Holloway during its 164-year history. The collection offers a fresh and engaging way of looking behind the prison’s turreted walls. In addressing the themes of motherhood, health, and reform, the poems speak in a creative way to the historic experiences of women in prison.” – Dr Rachel Bennett (Research Fellow for the Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award “Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000”)

“Touching and shocking in equal measure, Natalie Scott expertly captures the hopes, fears, pride and fury of an extraordinarily diverse array of characters. A history lesson made very human.” – Bob Fischer (Radio presenter – BBC Radio Tees)

“I first heard about Natalie’s Rare Birds Project when she was a guest on my show.  She talked about where it all started, the research she’d done so far and also read a couple of the poems. They were so powerful to listen to and both gave me goose pimples and a lump in the throat – so I knew this would be good.  It didn’t disappoint. It really does bring to life the struggles for women who endured so much to win the right for the women’s vote, though it also highlights the inequalities for women generally – and indeed what male supporters suffered then too. This book could so easily make you feel angry, but the resilience and courage demonstrated here gives a feeling of hope in an era of political turmoil. Lines such as “But do try to remember, it’s more difficult climbing a ladder wearing a dress” is still as relevant today as it was then.  And WOW, “The Englishman”, this is like the social media of the 21st Century. A very powerful read!” – Julie Donaldson (Radio Presenter – Zetland Radio)

Read more reviews of Rare Birds on the Amazon and Good Reads pages.

Featured Anthologies

Journal and Anthology Publications

‘My daily walk’: Poetry and Covid, Aug 2020.

‘Felix Baumgartner’s Spacesuit’ and ‘The River’: Yaffle Prize anthology Whirlagust, 2020.

‘Becoming George’: An Insubstantial Universe anthology published by Yaffle Press, May 2020.

‘Bram Stoker Takes a Turn Around Whitby Town, 2019′, Sunbathing at 45 Degrees’, ‘From Bamburgh, Northumberland’, ‘Emily Brontë Visits Starbucks, Bradford’, ‘Snipe Gate’, ‘Up the Logging Road at Kilhope, Weardale’, ‘In Centre Square, Middlesbrough’, ‘Newport Bridge at Sunset’, ‘By the Fire Pit at Nature’s World’, and ‘Cerist and Clarach’: Places of Poetry, 2019.

‘Arthur Griffiths’, ‘Holloway Bomber’, ‘Grace Marcon’ and ‘Katie Gliddon’: Yaffle Prize anthology Whirlagust, 2019.

‘Prison Servant’: Riggwelter issue 20, Apr 2019.

‘Anne Pierrepoint (née Fletcher)’, ‘Fred Pethick-Lawrence’, ‘Official Letter Format’, ‘May Caroline, Duchess of Sutherland’, and ‘Edith Thompson’: The Writers’ Café Magazine issue 15 (Letters), Mar 2019.

‘Emily Wilding Davison’: Orbis #186, Feb 2019.

‘Hospital Night Wardress’ and ‘John Ellis’, Algebra of Owls, Nov 2018.

‘May McCririck’ and ‘Muriel Matters’ York Literary Review, Nov 2018.

‘Prisoner whilst in Cell’ Poetry Shed, Nov 2018.

‘Rev. James Cohen’: Amaryllis, Oct 2018.

‘Selina Salter’: Ofi Press issue 60, Sep 2018.

‘Executioner Pierrepoint’: Dream Catcher issue 37, Aug 2018.

‘Barbara Roads’, ‘W T Stead’ & ‘Ruth Borchard’: I am not a silent poet, Aug 2018.

‘Newport Bridge at Sunset’, ‘By the Fire Pit at Nature’s World’ & ‘In Centre Square, Middlesbrough’: My Town My Future Anthology (Sixth Element Publishing), Apr 2018.

‘The Bus’: Orbis #180, summer 2017.

‘D H Lawrence Painted My Bathroom’: Ink, Sweat and Tears, Aug 2017.

‘Dissecting a Book of Poems’ Writing in Education issue 70, Autumn 2016.

‘Christmas Ghosts’: Live Canon: New Poems for Christmas Anthology, Dec 2015.

‘Chimneys’: Ambit Edition 222, Oct 2015.

‘This Mattress’: Agenda Broadsheet 25, Oct 2015.

‘The Governess’: English in Education vol. 49, iss. 3 (Wiley), Sep 2015.

‘Rigel’: Darlington Arts Festival Anthology, Jun 2014.

‘Mr and Mrs Marvin’ and ‘Frederick Fleet’: Cork Literary Review vol. 15, Feb 2014.

‘Hebridean Island Loop’: Poetry Scotland, Feb 2014.

‘Fog’: First Time Edition 64, Jan 2013.

‘SS Titanic’: Writers’ Block Zine, Apr 2012.

‘Wisdom’: Other Poetry, Aug 2010.

‘Victorine’: Aesthetica Creative Works, 2009.

‘Human Statue’: Selkirk Lapwing Press, Nov 2006.

‘Woman Leaning on a Balustrade’: South Magazine, Apr 2006.

‘Woman Hanging Washing in Escher’s Waterfall’: Not Dark Yet, Oct 2005.

‘Baby Talk’: Eye of the Storm, Oct 2003.

‘Curiosity Killed the Cliché’: From the Horse’s Mouth, Dec 2002.

Stars and Stripes and Other Poems, 2002.  Self-published pamphlet. Contact Natalie and she’ll send you a free copy!

‘White Lies’: Pennine Platform, Apr 2001.

‘Man on the Bus’ and ‘Guardian Angel’: First Time, Nov 2000.

‘Taken for a Ride’: Pennine Platform, Oct 2000.

Press and Interviews

Natalie has enjoyed chatting about her projects with Julie Donaldson (Zetland Radio) and Bob Fischer (BBC Radio Tees).

Image from article written for Inside Time (see below for full write-up)

IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Prisoners’ stories are told in poems not sentences

Voices of inmates and staff in book that offers an intimate window into the lives of those connected to Holloway jail.

03 July, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Read the full story here.


insidetime & insideinformation

Rare Birds flies to the West End!

Poet Natalie Scott has been awarded further Arts Council funding to take her collection of dramatic monologues entitled ‘Rare Birds – voices of Holloway prison’, to the West End stage.

Inside Time reports, 29th March 2019.

Read the full story here.


Holloway rebooted in poetry

Arts Council support for Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison

Inside Time reports, 31st January 2017.

Read the full story here.


BroadwayWorld

RARE BIRDS to Receive Workshop Production

North East poet Natalie Scott has been awarded Arts Council funding to develop her collection of dramatic monologues RARE BIRDS – VOICES OF HOLLOWAY PRISON for the stage. Scott will workshop the piece with director Simon Greiff, and a team of award-winning composers and West End actors, culminating in a special showcase sharing at Soho Theatre on 17th May.

by BWW News Desk, May. 2, 2019

Read the full story here.


THE STAGE: fighting for the future of theatre since 1880

Wendi Peters and Rachel John cast in stage adaptation of prison poetry

Wendi Peters, Rachel John and Danielle Hope are to star in a stage adaptation of poetry about the first 100 years of Holloway Prison. The piece, called Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison, is based on poetry by Natalie Scott and will explore the penal system of this time. It also stars Oliver Savile, Martyn Ellis and Simon Thomas.

BY MATTHEW HEMLEY, MAY 2, 2019

Read the full story here.


The Northern Echo

North-East poet Natalie Scott to capture the stories of Holloway Prison

By Jamie Bell, 10th January 2017

A POET has been awarded a research grant as she attempts to tell the story of Holloway Prison through dramatic poetry.

Read the full story here.


My Town My Future: Meet a Local Poet

Natalie is a poet and educator local to the north east, who has been running creative writing workshops in Middlesbrough as part of the My Town My Future project. I asked her if she would tell us a bit more about herself and her own work.

By Francis Annett, January 2018.

Read the full story here.


NATALIE SCOTT – PRISON LIVES AND VICTORIAN VOICES

I interviewed poet Natalie Scott about her prison writing uncovering forgotten histories, her use of dramatic monologue and poetry as therapy. 

LESLIE TATE,

Read the full story here.


Titanic #8 Berth

The something special I promised for today was four poems from a whole collection themed around Titanic. 

By Angela Topping, 16th April 2016.

Read the full story here.


Guest Post: Poet Natalie Scott: Berth-Voices of the Titanic

Am Shuman’s Blog, 15th January 2015.

Read the full story here.


Image result for teesside gazette

Paintings are poetry to Natalie

ENGLISH tutor Natalie Scott can’t pass a famous painting without reaching for her pen…

For Natalie, 31, of Ingleby Barwick, has just had her Brushed anthology of poems published by Middlesbrough’s Mudfog Press. And her inspiration was famous paintings by art legends like Manet, David Hockney and Escher.

Teesside Live, 13th May, 2013.

Read the full story here.


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