Writing in a pandemic

Scott Thurston, interviewed by Malika Booker

Scott Thurston discusses ‘A Hard Grief’, his collection of twelve sonnets that stand testament to his creative outpourings during the Covid 19 pandemic (watch Scott read from ‘A Hard Grief’). Written in a single hour, Scott confesses that he subsequently hid these sonnets for several days on top of a bookshelf until they were ready to be ‘dealt with’. In this interview for E: SF, Scott returns to explore the meanings and intentions of his sonnets with poet Malika Booker. Scott and Malika’s insights show that the sonnet form, well used, is a keen vessel for unconscious ruminations and responses to the pandemic.

Photo of Malika BookerMalika Booker is a poet and multi-disciplinary artist. Her first poetry collection ‘Pepper Seed’ was longlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize and shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre prize in 2014, and her poem ‘Nine Nights’ was shortlisted on the Forward Prize for best Single Poem in 2017. Her writing collective Malika’s Poetry Kitchen has had a major impact on the British Poetic landscape. Booker is currently Creative Writing Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University and the recipient of a Slate Award to research and develop her new play. She was Chair of Judges for the Forward Prize in 2016 and was inaugural Poet in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2019 she was commissioned to write and perform a poem about Mars for a BBC Science series about the solar system and was awarded a prestigious Society of Authors Cholmondley Award for her contribution to poetry.