Victoria Bennett was born in 1971, the youngest of six children. She lived in various places before moving to Cumbria in 1997, where she lived until very recently. After leaving school at 16, she returned to education as a mature student and gained her Masters in Creative Writing from Lancaster University in 2002. She is a recipient of the Northern Debut Award, the Mother’s Milk Writing Prize for non-fiction, and the Andrew Waterhouse Award and the Northern Promise Award for poetry. Her writing was longlisted for the Penguin WriteNow programme and the inaugural Nan Shepherd Prize for underrepresented voices.
Her most recent poetry pamphlet, To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2020.
In 1999, she founded Wild Women Press, to provide a creative platform for women in her community, and is the curator of the #Wild WomanWeb project, an inclusive online project focusing on nature, connection and creativity featuring wild women from around the world.
She lives with genetic illness, diagnosed in later life, including Haemochromatosis, a genetic metabolic disorder which leads to a toxic accumulation of iron in the body, and one of the Ehlers Danlos Syndromes (EDS), a hereditary connective tissue disorder. Her unruly genes continue to rebel and she is well on her way to completing her genetic illness bingo card.
When not juggling genetic illness, writing and full-time care, she can be found where the wild weeds grow.
All My Wild Mothers is her debut memoir.
AN EVEN LONGER PERSONAL STORY (with some links)...
All My Wild Mothers is my first full-length book, written over ten years between the hours of motherhood, care, and grief. I don't think I dared imagine it was a book, but here it is, and I am honoured and delighted that it has found its home with Two Roads Books.
It was longlisted for the inaugural Nan Shepherd Prize (2019), and the Penguin WriteNow (2020) programme, and was a winner of a Northern Debut Award (2020) for non-fiction from New Writing North, and an early extract won the Mother's Milk Writing Award 2017.
This encouragement and early support enabled me to receive mentoring and spend time working on the book, and I was further supported by a grant from the Society of Authors. As a disabled, low-income rural writer and carer, these awards were invaluable and I will be forever grateful for them.
I have had poems appear in several anthologies, and published five pamphlets of poetry, the most recent being 'To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre' with Indigo Dreams Publishing. Previous awards for poetry include a Northern Promise Award, and the Andrew Waterhouse Prize.
'Victoria Bennett moves and mesmerises her reader, causing them to nod in agreement and recognition and to feel as if they have been healed by her writing because she shows their grief and experience is not unusual and that they are not alone'. LINDA'S BOOK BAG
I was born in 1971, the youngest of six children, and spent the first five years of my life living next door to Byron's house in Cologny, Geneva, but grew up in Oxfordshire. After uprooting several times, I moved to Eden, Cumbria in 1997, where I lived for the next 25 years with my husband. It is where I gave birth to my son, and where I buried my mother. It is also where my son and I grew our garden.
I left school at 16, went back again at 20, and over the next 15 years, put myself through university (twice) gaining a BA (Hons) in English and Creative Studies, and an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. I have spent the best part of the last 30 years working freelance as a writer, poet and creative producer, with a focus on positive change and social engagement.
In 1999, I founded Wild Women Press to offer a space for rural northern women to share their stories and explore their creativity. A year later, we published our first book. Over two decades on, we have published poetry by several members, run workshops, salons, projects and events, and eaten a lot of cake. In 2018, I started curating the #WildWomanWeb, an online blog featuring 'threads' from wild women creators around the world, including Jackie Morris, Tanya Shadrick, Nicola Chester, Jini Reddy, and many more.
For the last fourteen years, I have also been a mother, home-educator, and full-time 'sandwich' carer, caring for elderly parents and a medically vulnerable son. I juggle these with chronic illness and disablity caused by my unruly genes. In 2019, I was diagnosed with haemochromatosis, a genetic metabolic disorder which leads to a toxic accumulation of iron in the body, and one of the Ehlers Danlos Syndromes (EDS), a hereditary connective tissue disorder (thus making me the love-child of two superheroes, Iron Man and Elastigirl). My body continues to rebel and I am currently well on my way to completing my genetic illness bingo card.
I spent the last decade living on a social housing estate built over a former industrial stoneworks with my husband and son, creating a wild apothecary garden, which became both my home and my healing. But it is not where we live now, having uprooted once more to move to the far north, and settle in Orkney.
When I am not writing, caring, or tending the wild things, I like to create potions, read, and spend time with my Wild Women clan.
Some other things you may not know about me...
I am a collaborator on a number of digital storytelling projects with artist, Adam Clarke, creating immersive stories for organisations such as Tate Britain, Museum of London, and United for Wildlife. We received the Writing Platform Digital Literature Bursary, for 'My Mother's House', a playable Minecraft poem-map that explored terminal illness and caregiving, featured in the Guardian and voted in the Top 5 Minecraft maps in 2016 and featured at the Poetry Library Southbank Poetry Games festival 2022.
In 2016, we were selected as artists-in-residence at Bernheim Research Forest in Kentucky where we spent 3 months with our young son creating a poetry Minecraft map inspired by the forest. We are co-authors of 'Minecraft Life Hacks Lab for Kids', a hands-on guide to developing emotional and social awareness through Minecraft (Quarto, 2019). Other digital collaborations include 'What We Now Know' with The Bookshop Band (inspired by the poems in the #MeToo poetry anthology).