Jacqueline Haskell is a deaf poet and novelist. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, and her debut novel, The Auspice, was a finalist in the 2018 Bath Novel Award. Her short fiction has been listed in many competitions, including the Bridport Prize and the Asham Award.
Interviews and Features
Special Mentions in the 2020 Saboteur Awards
We’re so pleased to announce that several Myriad authors received special mentions for the 2020 Saboteur Awards, including Elaine Chiew for The Heartsick Disapora and our Spotlight Authors Ana Tewson-Bozic, Elizabeth Ridout, Georgina Aboud, Jacqueline Haskell, Tara Gould and Sarah Windebank for the Spotlight Books series. Tara received a second mention for her novella, The Haunting of Strawberry Water.
You can review the entire shortlist here.
Aisha Phoenix interview with poet Jacqueline Haskell
What did winning the Spotlight Books competition mean to you and how has it helped to advance your career?
This win led to my first full-length poetry collection being published, which these days is so hard to achieve for an unknown poet – I have had some competition wins and single poems published in magazines, but no pamphlet. That meant everything to me in terms of advancing my career, as being published in this way means I can apply to a wider range of presses, and opportunities that were previously closed to me are now within my grasp. The book has only recently been published, so longer term, it is too early to say, but I know I have only just started to reap the rewards. I was also introduced to amazing organisations and individuals who all continue to support me.
Meet the Locals: Jacqueline Haskell
‘Drawing insight from a number of sources, [Jacqui’s] poems look at the occult, mythology, life after death, spirit appearances from beyond the grave, and grief and loss in this world and the next.’
Columnist Nick Saunders found time to chat about hearing loss, communication and poetry with Spotlight poet Jacqueline Haskell. The piece featured in New Milton Mail, April 2020, which you can read online here.
VIVA Brighton on the Spotlight series
‘The series is dazzling. Such small books, making such noise… These collections have been sending ripples through the local literary scene.’
New Writing South Interview with Jacqueline Haskell
What are the challenges of your own life experiences, and do these present in your writing, as concerns, themes, ways of thinking about writing?
My own deafness and physical disabilities do have a practical impact on my writing – it is doubtful I would ever have been brave enough to give up the ‘day job’ in favour of writing if ill-health had not forced my hand! The enforced isolation of deafness intersects with the isolation experienced by many writers, in both positive and negative ways.
One of my first short stories was called ‘Songbird’, featuring a deaf protagonist living in Hong Kong, although this was more a metaphor for finding one’s true identity than exploring disability. My debut novel is set in a location known to attract those marginalised by society (a small island off the north-west coast of Africa).
But more than anything else, my writing comes from my unconscious, and I would not class myself as a writer setting out to discuss issues of disability per se. I see myself as being on the outside looking in, an observer of all life, and I believe this is an essential quality for successful writers, deaf and hearing.
I have always been a writer – aged 3 (well before my disabilities kicked in) my mother discovered me scribbling nonsense on her best writing paper: What are you doing? She exclaimed. I’m writing a book, was the reply.
Read the full interview HERE.
Cinnamon Literature Prize 2019
Jacqueline Haskell made the 2019 Cinnamon Literature Prize shortlist, with a sequence of poems from a collection she’s currently working on, entitled The Short Shelf Life of Hearts. This January we publish Jacqueline’s poetry collection, Stroking Cerberus: Poems from the Afterlife, as part of the Spotlight Books series.
Through the prism of Haskell’s identity as a deaf poet come the themes of communication—or miscommunication—across worlds, languages and between the living and the dead.
Mythical dogs, the dead who mourn the living, and the sorrow of those reincarnated, join hands around Jacqueline Haskell’s unique and very personal poetic Ouija board to resonate with the living, the dead and all those in-between. As forcible as they are humorous, these are poignant and thought-provoking poems.