Impact case study: Jade Cuttle

Winning a Northern Writers’ Award has been an absolutely vital milestone in the development of my poetry.

Jade Cuttle

Northern Debut Award for Poetry 2021

The Northern Debut Award for Poetry is open to emerging poets who have not yet published a full collection. It awards three winners with £2000, mentoring and access to New Writing North’s programmes of support. Poetry occupies a central position within New Writing North’s commitment to nurturing writing talent in Northern England and we recognise the distinct challenges faced by poets. We have been delighted to support Jade Cuttle to develop her exceptional poetry alongside her mentor, Daljit Nagra. Their artistic partnership shows how impactful and rewarding mentoring can be for both the mentee and the mentor.

New Writing North has helped me to write back to my roots

“Winning a Northern Writers’ Award has been an absolutely vital milestone in the development of my poetry. To hear Andrew McMillan describe my work as “thrilling, utterly fresh, and formally inventive” was a powerful uplift at a time of uncertainty, when I was putting the work of my Masters in Poetry at the University of East Anglia on indefinite hold to pursue a full-time editing job at The Times at the start of the pandemic.

The £2000 prize helped to fund a solo visit to Croatian forest to further my nature writings in-situ and the mentorship with Daljit Nagra has been incredible. His unwavering enthusiasm, encouragement, and efforts to develop my writing, and bring major publishing houses onboard, has surpassed all expectations, and I have been especially stimulated by our discussions around race, nature writing and imbalances in the poetry landscape. The process has been so inspiring that it has directly informed my prospective doctoral project: A study in silthood: writing back to marshland and mud through the lens of race. The research is rooted in the decolonisation of canon and consciousness, inspired by the poems that Daljit and I worked on, seeking to deepen the thought-provoking questions raised during my mentorship into the resonances between black selfhood and silted landscape, as explored in my Mudlarking sequences. The ideas are now coalescing into an original concept of ‘silthood’ that I am excited to explore further.

The Northern Writers’ Award has, in this way, helped me to write back to my roots, inviting new focus on the northern strands of my ‘silthood’, specifically the Yorkshire geography that, before moving to London to work at The Times, was and will always remain my home.”

Jade Cuttle, 2022

“Jade Cuttle is an exceptionally bright and talented poet. Her poetry is original in its concept and execution. I felt my role was to encourage the vision by pushing Jade to go further and deeper into the complex thinking she’d initiated around and in her work. She always responded well to feedback so I felt emboldened in continuing to suggest other methods, wider reading and especially to allow Jade to speak and explore her ideas in or conversation so she was secure in the reasons for her imaginative and technical choices.

Jade was a perfect choice for mentoring, both for me and for the programme, in that she will be a successful poet who is published to a level of recognition. She just needed mentoring to help take her to the next level. It has been a pleasure to work with Jade, and the sessions have helped me think about my own work, so I am in turn pleased to have engaged with Jade’s fresh poetics. I wish her well and I am sure I will be enjoying her work in print over the coming years.”

Daljit Nagra, Jade Cuttle’s mentor

Jade Cuttle is a poet and songwriter from rural North Yorkshire, now working at The Times as Arts Commissioning Editor. Her nature poetry has been commissioned for BBC Radio 3, BBC Contains

Strong Language Festival and the BBC Proms, while her plant-whispering has been filmed for BBC One television. Fusing metaphor and melody, she released through Warren Records her debut album of poem-songs Algal Bloom to BBC Introducing acclaim, with funding from the PRS foundation, Make Noise Hull, and the University of East Anglia, where she completed her MA in Poetry to Distinction after graduating from Cambridge. Previously, she worked as a Poetry Editor at Ambit and at The Poetry Society, and judged numerous competitions including the Costa Book Awards and the Ginkgo Prize with Simon Armitage. Jade continues to lead workshops, tutor students at The Poetry School, perform at literature and music festivals, and complete commissions and writer-in-residencies.

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