Katrina Porteous is a freelance poet, historian and broadcaster, specialising in work on the theme of ‘nature’ in its widest sense, and ‘place’ in its deepest. Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1960, she grew up near Consett in County Durham, graduated from Trinity Hall, Cambridge, with a first in History in 1982, and studied at Berkeley and Harvard Universities in the USA on a Harkness Fellowship. She has lived on the Northumberland coast since 1987 and is best-known for her innovative radio-poetry, which has been described by BBC Senior Producer Julian May as ‘extending the boundaries of the genre’. Her 2014 collection, Two Countries (Bloodaxe Books), was shortlisted for the Portico Prize and described as ‘one of the most distinctive and important collections of the year’ (Morning Star). Her most recent full collection, Edge (Bloodaxe Books, 2019) draws on her long involvement in scientific projects. In 2021 she was one of the Society of Authors’ Cholmondeley Award winners for Poetry.
Katrina is President of the Northumbrian Language Society and the Coble and Keelboat Society, and is an ambassador for New Networks for Nature. She is a particularly strong performer of her own work, and has collaborated with both traditional and electronic musicians, including the late computer music pioneer Peter Zinovieff, leading Northumbrian piper Chris Ormston, and concertina virtuouso Alistair Anderson.
Photo credit: John Cogan
‘Katrina Porteous is one of our best poets and her big new book of poems Two Countries is surely one of the most distinctive and important collections of the year.’ Morning Star
‘In her latest collection Two Countries Katrina Porteous emerges as a poet whose lyricism is founded on clarity of expression, whose intellectual sophistication is clothed in simplicity and whose themes are universal, yet articulated through a lifelong commitment to Northumbria’s people and landscapes.’ Mark Cocker, naturalist
‘One of the most exciting talents of the North East…a writer chronicling the life of the land through the stories of its marginalised people.’ Alan Franks, The Times
‘Functioning like a cosmic map from the level of sub-atomic particles to vast celestial bodies, ‘Edge’ succeeds in wedding the arts with science to make a mesmerising and transporting collection.’ Jade Cuttle, PBS Bulletin