Emma Purshouse was born in Wolverhampton, and is a freelance writer, novelist and performance poet.
She is a poetry slam champion and performs regularly at spoken word nights far and wide. Her appearances include, The Cheltenham Literature Festival, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Much Wenlock Poetry Festival, Shambala, Womad, Latitude and Solfest. She has supported the likes of John Hegley, Hollie McNish and Carol Ann Duffy.
Emma has undertaken poetry residencies for Wolverhampton Libraries, The New Vic Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent and The International Festival of Glass in Stourbridge. She was the first Poet Laureate for the City of Wolverhampton (2020 – 2022).
In 2007, Emma created her first one-woman poetry play, ‘The Professor Vyle Show’. This was a fast-moving theatre piece that included puppets, poetry and quick changes. The show entertained audiences in senior schools, colleges and studio theatres. She has since created a number of successful poetry shows including the highly acclaimed site specific piece ‘Snug’ with poet and musician Heather Wastie.
Her first novel Scratters was short-listed for the ‘Mslexia Unpublished Novel Prize’ in 2012.
Widely published in small press magazines and poetry anthologies, Emma had a CD of her performance poetry, entitled ‘Upsetting the Apple Cart’, released by Offa’s Press in 2010, before going on to feature in an Offa’s Press paper based collection entitled ‘The Nailmakers’ Daughters’. This was a selection of Black Country poetry by Emma, Marion Cockin and Iris Rhodes (edited by Jane Seabourne).
In 2016, Emma’s first collection of children’s poetry was produced by Fair Acre Press. This dyslexia-friendly book is aimed at 6 to 11 year-olds and is chock-full of fabulous illustrations by the highly talented Catherine Pascall-Moore, along with top tips and ideas from Emma, for learning and performing poetry. This book won the poetry section of the Rubery Book Award.
Her most recent poetry collection ‘Close’ is also published by Offa’s Press. This was shortlisted for the Rubery Book Award in 2019. Also in 2019 Emma was selected to be one of the writers in the ‘Common People’ anthology (Unbound). This collection of working class writing was edited by the novelist Kit De Waal.
Emma’s debut novel ‘Dogged’ was published by Ignite books in 2021 to rave reviews.
‘It’s Honorary, Bab’ is Emma’s second full collection published by Offa’s Press (2022). Part poetry, part diary it documents her time spent as Poet Laureate for the City of Wolverhampton during a global pandemic.
Emma also works as part of the Black Country based poetry collective Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists.
In 2022 Emma became the editor of ‘The Blackcountryman’ which is the flagship magazine for The Black Country Society.
She is a poet who enjoys running workshops and is an experienced facilitator, working with all ages and all abilities, whether it be in a school or a community setting. She has a teaching qualification and an MA in Creative Writing.
In previous existences, Emma has lived on a narrowboat, worked as a taxi base operator, a sign writer, a car valeter and a Coca-Cola mystery customer!
She has been making a living from writing and performing for the past sixteen years.
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