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Cath DRake’s

Poetry & Creative Projects

I’m an Australian award-winning poet and nonfiction writer based in London, UK. My poetry collection ‘The Shaking City’ (Seren Books) was highly commended in the 2020 Forward Prizes. I’ve published widely in anthologies and literary journals in Ireland, US & Australia.

I teach creative writing  & poetry in the UK, Australia and online to a wide range of groups from those new to creative writing to those who are looking to refine their craft.

I mentor one-to-one and create quality courses, sourcing some of the best the best teachers in the world. I curate and host inspiring readings and events. 

You can book me to create bespoke workshops &  creative projects.

I have a passion and specialism in environmental issues, with a post graduate qualification in environmental science and awards for environmental journalism and communications.  

I’m also a a mindfulness teacher. 

Latest Courses & Workshops

Tailor-made workshops & events

Photos by  Patrick Rosalba  & Newham Word Festival 

  • POETRY OR STORY MENU

    Roving poets offer a delectable menu of poems and mini stories! Poetry Menu entertains with short, intimate performances to small groups and individuals – often reaching passers-by who don’t usually attend literature events. Brilliant for outreach and creating awareness of a bigger festival or event. For festivals, events, parties (online & offline.) I've also performed in hospitals for many years.

  • WORDSHUFFLE CAFE

    I create inspiring collaborative books with curious prompts for public areas and bespoke workshops and events. They can be adapted to suit existing themes and events. These are highly accessible and engaging.

  • STORY CENTRAL

    Mini-drop in sessions in a foyer, waiting area, festival tent or library, creating inspiring stories with passers-by. A taster of imaginative play!

  • BESPOKE WRITING WORKSHOPS

    Storytelling and writing workshops can be adapted for small or large groups in any venue from a festival tent to a specialist community space or corporate meeting room. I have experience working on community writing projects with vulnerable adults and young people, designing and adapting a programme to suit. I've also run many writing workshops for literature programmes and festivals. I specialise in environmental issues and ecology,

Writing to Buoy Us:  In these unprecedented times with a global pandemic and a climate crisis, across the world people are increasingly suffering and isolated.  In this writing workshop (or series of workshops) read, write and share poems that help us in difficult times, respond to the world around us, acknowledge the best in ourselves and others, discover resilience and beauty in the world we love.

Re-invent the Future: Positive creative visions of the future are needed now more than ever.  Invent characters, happenings, gizmos and whole new communities. Stretch beyond the predictable, play with positivity, re-invent the ordinary and even sneak into the surreal. Creativity can excite and buoy us in difficult times. Come away with new ideas and a renewed sense of the positive.

Nurturing Nature: Recharge your curiosity and delight in nature and the joy in being creative. (This can be run indoors or outdoors or a combination of both, adapted to the local environment!) I’ve won awards for environmental journalism and ecopoetry, and I have a post-graduate qualification in environmental science.

Mindful Poetry:  A workshop combining mindfulness and poetry to feed your mind and body. Slow down and bring attention to the nuances of emotion, senses and the world around us. We’ll translate awareness into words and poems, and nurture sparks of imagination, vibrancy and curiosity. Mindfulness and creativity helps us to de-stress. (I am also mindfulness teacher.)

Fables for a New World:  Build fables and re-invents old ones to help us navigate the climate emergency and ecological crisis. Unpin values, habits and assumptions and create new visions, characters, events and stories to heal, change and forge new worlds.

Far from Home:  So many of us live far away from where we come from. What’s it like to be far from home? Do you feel torn between two places? How does it shape your experience and identity? Drop into memory and dialogue between here and there. Stretch the boundaries of place, memory and imagination.

The Weight of a Moment:  Many poems often hang on a pivotal moment seen, experienced or imagined. Why do these particular moments really matter? How do they take on so much weight that they can reveal something much bigger, and sometimes envelope a world? How can they encapsulate epiphany or change? How do you describe these moments without telling the reader what to feel? We’ll explore their mystery and look at creating and bringing pivotal moments alive.

Writing in response to the climate emergency and ecological breakdown: Writers are vital in expressing the grief, denial, anxiety and urgency around the climate emergency. They also have a crucial role in imagining the future and coping with rapid changes that are and will occur as every part of life is impacted.

Curious Conversations: Step outside of everyday hum drum and join in with bite-sized creative conversations. Share inspirations, create stories and respond to ridiculous and curious questions. It’s easy and loads of fun. Suitable for adults or teenagers. Speed conversations like you’ve never had before. Trust serendipity and your incredible imagination.

Surfing the Creative Current: Surprise yourself, ignore the bossy inner critic, have fun, and gain confidence in your creative muscle. Stretch beyond the predictable, re-invent the ordinary, sneak into the surreal, flirt with freefall and have fun taking your writing to unexpected places. Put aside the editor and critic and let your creativity fly. A good antidote to writer’s block, you’ll find lots of emerging ideas for poems and stories.

Wild Writing: Connecting and responding to nature has never been more important.  Recharge your curiosity and delight in nature. (This can be run indoors or outdoors or a combinations of both!) I’ve won awards for environmental journalism and poetry, and I have a post-graduate qualification in environmental science.

Creative Burst: If you need a burst of creativity or think you aren’t very creative then this workshop will help you charge up your natural creativity. Everyone is creative! This workshop will help you stretch your creative thinking in the workplace and other projects you are working on and give you fresh perspectives.

Passion Ignition: Write what you know and what you feel passionate about is often the advice writers’ give. But, in our busy lives often we’ve lost sight of what really fires our belly. Have fun exploring and tapping into the embers and see where it leads your writing, and perhaps even your life choices.

Sense of Place: Places are embedded with memories, mysteries, myth and imagination. Wander through the streets of your town in your imagination. I can also adapt writing workshop to museums, galleries and parks.

Sensory Recharge: We often rush about so much that we rarely get a chance to really experience where we are right now. This workshop is a chance to rekindle our relationship with our senses, become more aware of our environment, and fire-up our writing.

Wordplay: Creative and fun word games that everyone can enjoy.Stretch imagination, spark quick wit, and find those left field ideas you didn’t know you had.

An Appetite for Writing: Recipes, table manners, memorable meals, how to cook an artichoke, grow strawberries, share a mango, make usual mixtures at midnight – food and cooking is central to life, story and poetry. It easily triggers senses, memory and imagination. Whip up a tantilising appetite for writing and expect it to take your writing in all kinds of directions. This workshop can also be served over lunch!

Writing to perform and performing poetry: Write for performance and bring passion and power to your readings.

Poetry and/or short story writing and / or reading groups: Read some inspirational work and get into some stimulating discussions. The best writers read! Groups could be for aspiring writers and/or passionate readers who may not have the time to read novels regularly and join a novel reading group but want to be inspired by literature.

  • Creative writing workshops in libraries, museums and festivals around the UK and Australia for adults and young people e.g. Sutton, Tower Hamlets Idea Store, Lambeth, Beckton, Ealing, Lewisham and Wandsworth Libraries, Keats House, Hackney Museum, Walthamstow Museum.
  • Workshops (writing and reading analysis) for writers in Australia over several years. A month-long residency at Katharine Susannah Prichard Writer’s Centre, Perth Australia in 2018 delivering workshops, readings and judging Mundaring Council’s inaugural poetry competition.
  • A month-long residency at the Albany Arts Centre in Deptford, included formal and informal workshop activities with hundreds of contributions (sessions with young people and the general public, plus producing community books, performances and readings. Contributors were aged four to eighty, from those with literary experience to those with limited literacy skills or whose first language isn’t English.
  • Archway with Words Festival: two full day drop-in workshop events (over two years) where all ages from children to adults could experience a large space with fun writing activities, also mini workshops.
  • Buddhafield Festival (three workshops per festival over four years): delivering writing and storytelling workshops to mixed groups of adults, young people and children in a festival tent.
  • Produced Formal Verse, a workshop series for advanced and selected writers led by Mimi Khalvati over two years.
  • Poetry Booth, a poetry reading group I’ve run since 2013.
  • Recharge! Writer’s Cauldron, workshops for experienced writers to push their creative mettle (one series for Spread The Word and one self-produced).
  • Sutton Six: running a series of writing workshops over six weeks with an adult disability group, leading to a performance (for Spread the Word).
  • Writing activities for Crisis at Christmas (homeless people) for several days over two Christmas periods – a particularly challenging group to engage. I’ve also run a workshop for BlindAid.
  • I’ve co-run writing workshops in primary and secondary schools.
  • In Australia, I was a university tutor, and a high school and primary tutor (this included teaching vulnerable and disabled children in children’s homes). I also managed activities at an after school homework centre for Aboriginal children for a year.
  • READINGS & CURATION

    I've read my work in all kinds of venues across the UK, Australia and also in Bali. I curate readings and events for festivals and literature programmes. I curate and host popular The Verandah's poetry workshops and mastercalsses.

  • Mslexia prize winners luncheon, Cornerstone Festival, Cardiff, Feb 2019
  • The two of us Fundraiser curated by Naomi Woddis, Feb 2019
  • The Terrific Trio with Kate Potts and Alison Winch, Torriano, Feb 2019
  • Launch of Waymaking, Kendal Mountain Literature Festival, November 2018
  • Ubud Readers and Writers FestivalUbud Bali – two readings and a panel discussion, October 2018
  • Meet the Writer, reading and discussionMundaring Library, Western Australia, October 2018
  • Literary Dinner and Sundowner readings, Katharine Susannah Prichard Writer’s Centre, Sept & Oct 2018.
  • Poetry School/Resurgence prize reading, Aldeburgh, November 2017
  • No Place Like Home, Newham Word Festival, curated and performed, November 2017
  • Arts Lab, Betsy Trotswood, November 2016 & October 2017
  • Urthona magazine launch, North London Buddhist Centre, June 2017
  • Words & Jazz at Vortex Jazz Club, Dalston, February 2017
  • Inkwell readings, Shoreditch, December 2016
  • Peter Daniels’ A Season in Eden launchHoxton Hall, October 2016
  • John Hegley and Friends, Toynbee Hall, May 2011 & Betsey Trotswood, January & March 2011, Oct 2010, July 2011, Feb 2012, November 2013, June 2014, April 2015, December 2014, November 2015, Keats House,June 2016.
  • Manchester Poetry Prize Shortlist readings, November 2015
  • University of Western Australia (Alumni), October 2015
  • Goldsmiths Poetry Festival, May 2015
  • Curated, hosted and featured in a lunchtime concert at Guys Hospital for World Book Day and Breathe Arts Health Research, March 2015
  • St Paul’s Church, Marylebone, St Paul’s sessions, January 2015
  • Archway with Words Literature Festival poetry event (curated, hosted and featured), October 2014
  • Discomfort Zone, commissioned poems by Roddy Lumsden & Kayo Chingyoni, September 2014
  • Summer Reading Series, curated by Roddy Lumsden, City Pride, London, August 2014.
  • Antipodean Poetry Party, The Shuffle, Poetry Cafe (curated and performed), June 2014
  • Australian Women’s Club featured speaker, Australia House, June 2014
  • Sleeping with Rivers launch, Betsy Trotswood, London, June 2014
  • Australian / NZ Festival of Arts, London, May 2014
  • Perth Poetry Club (Australian Sleeping with Rivers launch), April 2014
  • Voicebox, Perth Australia, April 2014
  • XX Women’s Literary Festival, Cardiff, March 2014
  • Torriano Meeting House, January 2014
  • A Room Inside a Room, London Buddhist Centre, November 2013
  • In Protest book launch, University of London, Bloomsbury Festival, October 2013
  • Loose Muse anthology 1, 2, 4 launch, September 2013, September 2012, February 2012
  • Buddhafield Festival, July 2013 (performing and hosting)
  • Speaking Volumes, Poetry Parnassus, Keats House, May 2013
  • Hosting Apples and Snakes Words A Stage showcase, March 2013
  • John Hegley’s residency Xmas event, Keats House, December 2012
  • Perth Poetry Club, Western AustraliaSeptember 2012
  • Voicebox, Clancy’s, Fremantle, Western AustraliaOctober 2012
  • Oota writers club reading, Perth, Western AustraliaOctober 2012
  • A season of performance as part of a month-long residency at Albany Arts Centre (also part of Albany Outdoors Festival)London, September 2012
  • Tuf Poets anniversary showcase, Tufnell Park Tavern, July 2012 & September 2012; Tuf poets, Tufnell Park monthly poetry event, May 2011 Sept 2010
  • South Bank Poetry magazine launch, Poetry Cafe, July 2012
  • Jaw Dance (Apples and Snakes)Rich MixJuly 2012
  • Noun Surnames, poems commissioned by Roddy Lumsden, Betsy Trotswood, July 2012
  • Venture Award Shortlist readings, April 2012
  • Guerilla Poets street performances, with Baden Prince Jnr, 2009-2012
  • Loose Muse, Poetry Cafe, March 2012 & Loose Muse, with Thea-poets, Poetry Cafe, May 2009
  • Tyneside Cinema bar, Newcastle, Apples and Snakes/Radikal Words, November 2011
  • Malika’s Poetry Kitchen 10th Anniversary Showcase, Lost Theatre, London, November 2011
  • Artspeak, I-SHO women’s art show and poetry performance, The Gallery, Stoke Newington, July 2011
  • The Great Eight: Stewart Lee, Kevin Eldon, Dave Johns, John Hegley, Bridget Christie, Andrew Bailey, Cath Drake and Simon Munnery, benefit in for North London Action for the Homeless, Bloomsbury Theatre, July 2011
  • Apples and Snakes’ The Word’s A Stage showcase, Albany Theatre, Deptford, July 2011
  • The 28 Project, poems commissioned by Roddy Lumsden, Betsy Trotswood, June 2011
  • John Hegley Curates, The George Tavern, March 2011
  • The Alternative Poetry Xmas, poems commissioned by Roddy Lumsden, Betsy Trotswood, Dec 2010
  • John Hegley and Friends, Xmas benefit for Stoke Newington homeless, Spence Cafe, Dec 2010
  • Poetry from Art, Tate Modern, Sept 2010
  • Trespass Magazine and Express Excess Summer Fandango, Camden, August 2010
  • London Literature Lounge event for London Literature Festival, Southbank Poetry Library, July 2010
  • BEMA Haiti Fundraiser, Arcola Theatre, April 2010
  • Tapping the Trend (Spread the Word / The Literary Consultancy), Free Word Centre, Feb 2010
  • Culpeper Community Garden (Naomi Woddis writer in residence programme), Feb, May & June 2010
  • The Shuffle, Poetry Cafe, Jan 2010 & April 2008
  • Launch of London Magazine, Opera Gallery, Oct 2009
  • Closing event, Hackney Write to Ignite Festival, Cafe Oto, Sept 2009
  • Guerrilla Poets street and venue performances, Hackney Write to Ignite Festival, Sept 2008 and 2009
  • The Monopoly Project, curated by Roddy Lumsden, July 2009
  • What Wonder Woman Taught Me, show development and a two night season with Thea-poets at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green (Feb 2009), and two night season at The Space Theatre in Docklands, April 2009
  • LUSH, erotic writing, Mary Lloyd Bar, Hackney Empire, Dec 2008
  • The Corset Club, with Thea-poets, Cavendish Arms, Oct 2008
  • Unspeakably Toothsome, Betsy Trotswood London, curated by Roddy Lumsden, Sept 2008
  • Millfields Theatre, Malika’s Kitchen poetry collective feature, July 2008
  • Angel Poetry, Borders bookshop Islington, June 2008
  • Process, with Thea-poets, The Roundhouse, Camden, April 2008
  • Saffron Walden Literary Festival, with Thea-poets, March 2008
  • Speakeasy, with Thea-poets, Mary Lloyd Bar, Hackney Empire, March 2008
  • Group conception, development and performance of the theatrical poetry show Malika’s Kitchen presents Strictly Come Poetry for a three night season at The Space, Docklands, February 2008.
  • Apples and Snakes showcase, Albany Arts Centre, Oct 2007
  • Poetry Shack, Oxford St, London, Oct 2007
  • Malika’s Kitchen book launch tour: Foyles bookstore in central London, Stratford Theatre Bar (part of Spoke-Fest Festival), Barbican Library and Express Excess (June – July 2007)
  • SPIT-LIT Women’s Literature Festival, March 2007
  • Sounds like… Malika’s Kitchen, Whitechapel Art Gallery London, March 2007
  • I have performed music: percussion, flute, singing for various events in Australia.
  • EVENT HOST

    Cath is a also a poet/online MC for hire: online reading and writing groups, weddings, parties, birthdays, remembrances, anniversaries. Liven up your party with poetry, fun sharing activities and wordy games.

  • THE VERANDAH

    Of course, Cath also runs poetry workshops, masterclasses and readings on her virtual Verandah!

Cath engaged readily with members of our writing community and was always an inspiring and welcome presence at the Centre. She was a guest at the poetry group and literary dinner and I attended her excellent workshop. Cath was always generous and supportive in her role and demonstrated a deep commitment to her craft. With her outstanding poetry and ability to convey ideas, Cath was an asset to KSP.
Mardi May
Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre Australia (a month-long live-in writers residency)
The Wordshuffle Café was a great addition to our Summer programmes at the Albany and it cleverly integrated with a range of activity and people to ensure it very much felt part of the fabric of the Café.
Raidene Carter
Head of Creative programmes, The Albany
Thanks for great morning… Sophie was so enthused by it all that she spent most of the afternoon and into mid evening writing and playing out another story.
Paul Gasson
Writing / story workshop with parents and children
An inspiring and uplifting course, Cath combines professionalism with warmth, offering well-structured yet flexible workshops. I loved the writing Cath introduced me to, the prompts, the workshopping and Cath’s ability as a facilitator to nurture a genuine sense of community amongst a group of emerging and established writers from all over the world. The culmination of the course in an International Reading via Zoom was truly special. I would highly recommend Cath’s courses to writers across all genres.
Gayelene Carbis
Writer, Melbourne, Australia
You’ve inspired me to try out different ways of writing and adopt different subjects that I would never have explored on my own. I’ve surprised myself and also found out a lot about myself.
Eleanor
screenwriter & lecturer, Liverpool
Your workshops have helped me develop as a writer, freed me up and given me new ways into my poetry. Thank you.
Colin Hopkirk
writer, UK