Return by Minor Road

Life-writing, poetry, and being an ‘incoherent bystander'

In her mid-20s, Heidi Williamson was part of a Scottish community that suffered an inconceivable tragedy, the Dunblane Primary School shooting.

Through poems about landscape and loss, the poems in her third collection, Return by Minor Road (Bloodaxe), explore the lasting impact of being an ‘incoherent bystander’ at such a tragedy.

Through rivers, rain, wildlife and landscape, Williamson revisits where ‘the occasional endures’ and discovers the healing properties of a beloved place:

          'These small movements
          towards the bracken
          are to be reckoned with.'


Return by Minor Road


How to participate

Date: 10 November 2020
Time:  1 – 2 pm

The video talk will be available to watch on the OCLW Podcast Channel

There is no need to register if you would simply like to watch the talk; it will remain on our Podcast Channel indefinitely. 

If you would like to take part in the Zoom Q&A with the speaker you need to register in advance. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. 

Click here to reserve your place for the Zoom Q&A


Heidi Williamson is a poet, writing tutor and mentor, and an Advisory Fellow for the Royal Literary Fund. She studied poetry and prose at the UEA and regularly teaches for arts and literature organisations in the UK. 

Her work has appeared in literary journals in the UK, America and Australia and been translated into Polish, German, and Turkish. It has inspired poetry and science discussions in schools and adult creative writing groups, and has featured in NHS waiting rooms, cafés, and at science and literary festivals in the UK and abroad. 

Her first collection, Electric Shadow, was supported by a grant from Arts Council England and was published by Bloodaxe in 2011. It was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Prize for Poetry. 

Her second collection was inspired by being a printer’s daughter. The Print Museum received the EAW Book by the Cover’ Award and the 2016 East Anglian Book Award for Poetry. 

With a rootless lily held in front of him, a poem from her latest collection, won the 2019 Plough Prize.