Exeter grad named Young Poet Laureate for London 2014

Another student from Exeter is overachieving while you’re recovering from your TP Wednesday hangover

21 year-old Exeter graduate Aisling Fahey has only just left university with a degree in English but has already won the prestigious title of Young Poet Laureate for London 2014.

The Tab caught up with her for a chat on the award, her poetry and post-Arena cheesy chips.

Aisling when she graduated earlier this year

How does it feel to have won the coveted title of Young Poet Laureate for London 2014?

It’s incredible, it’s still sinking in, slowly sinking in! I’m excited about what it can do for my writing.

Did you ever consider that you would win?

I was nominated for the title last year so I applied again this year as it really helped my writing. But there was such variety amongst the six finalists that I never thought I would win!

What is your poetry about?

My creative writing dissertation was about my parents’ move to England, so second-generations and identity, but I’ve done poems about my house mates and friends. I’ve done a lot about women and female image too.

What was the original inspiration that ignited your passion for poetry?

I was involved in the London Teenage Poetry Slam in Year 9 at school, which was a group slam where we wrote poetry together. That initially made me start writing and performing. I then went on to enter the Barbican Young Poets and Slambassadors.

Aisling misses Exeter quite a bit

The title of Young Poetry Laureate is yours for a year, so what’s next for you?

I want to work on launching a collection of my poetry, so writing new material for that. Within the year I’ll be taking up various residencies and, as I’m representing London, I want to get those stories going, get those people talking. I also want to change the perspective of poetry that people have and get poetry out there more.

You’ve been back to Exeter  for the Exeter Poetry Festival. How does it feel to be back in your uni city?

It’s a really strange feeling. Walking up the Forum hill I could feel the palpations I used to get from dissertation stress. Only this time I didn’t have my house on Old Tiv to go back to which was sad.

As a student what was your favourite night out?

Thursday Arena – I’m a hardcore Arena girl. I do love Timepiece Wednesdays but they were always a bit too sporty for me.

Favourite post- Arena food?

It’d have to be cheesy chips from the Arena van. I love the Arena van woman, she makes you feel like everything is ok.

Who doesn’t love a bit of Arena?

Favourite place in Exeter?

We did love Monkey Suit for chilling out and chatting. Also the Quay, that’s a great place to bring the family, especially Mango’s that has the blankets outside.

What do you miss most?

My house. There were 6 of us, it was the best little house. Just the independence and having your friends there, organising nights out and talking about who you’d run into that day. You felt more connected in Exeter because you were always seeing people in town.

Finally, what advice would you offer to students who wanted to pursue creative writing or poetry?

Writing is quite isolating so once you’re comfortable find a group or 1/2 people you’re comfortable sharing with, even if it’s just someone reading over your shoulder. That’s how you improve. And read lots of books, then you’ll find out who you like.

You can visit Aisling’s blog here, follow her journey on her Twitter, and visit the Young Poet Laureate website through here.