I am a poet and facilitator. I am interested in hidden pain, everyday joy and love beyond romance. I tend to write about family, friendship, community and recovery.

My first pamphlet explored my experiences of learning to live with mental illness. I am currently writing a second pamphlet on grief and belonging through the lens of my family's connections to the Belfast Jewish community.

Community is also how I like to work. I am a co-founder of The Writing Happiness Project @disabledjoy which supports D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent writers, including people with long-term physical and mental health conditions.

Photo by Christy Ku @kukadoodles
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Three Degrees of Separation
SKU: 700.954.29
What happens to love when mental illness steps in? Why do some of us getting better and some of us stay worse? How do families and friends hold together as the cracks show?

Rachel Lewis' debut poetry pamphlet, 'Three Degrees of Separation', explores love, laughter and family survival in the face of mental illness.

£6.99 + £1.50 postage

Published by Wordsmith HQ in 2019, now limited edition.
"In her vibrant poetry Rachel Lewis allows healing light to flow
through the cracks of mental health. This collection holds emotive
reflections together in a delicate intimacy."
Reader review
An interview with Rachel on her debut pamphlet, 'Three Degrees of Separation', interrogating and celebrating mental illness, family, friendship and recovery.
A podcast of readings from the Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival 2021, featuring Rachel Lewis.
Rachel and Romalyn explore resilience, mental health and community in the context of migration. Listen in for readings from both poets and some writing exercises.

I regularly create and run creative writing workshops for a wide range of groups both in person and online.

I am particularly interested in helping other writers explore themes about mental health, illness, recovery, family, friendship or community, and / or (re)connect with the play and fun in their practice. I also enjoy working with people who may not have had much opportunity to explore writing previously.

Examples of previous workshops include:

- A summer-themed social and creative writing workshop for older people in partnership with the AgeUK Camden at the Story Garden in Kings Cross, London

-A workshops for the Wriot Poetry Collective on editing as play

- A workshop with the 'Voicing our Silences' Poetry Collective on family, mental health and community in the context of migration

-An interfaith Uyghur / Jewish workshop on "identities, places and voices" for the Tarim network and Rene Cassin

If you are interested in booking me as a facilitator, do get in touch at rachellewispoet@gmail.com.
Writing Happiness
I run creative writing workshops exploring writing happiness in partnership with co-facilitator Elspeth Wilson.

As disabled creatives ourselves, we recognise that writers from underrepresented backgrounds are often expected and encouraged to write from their experiences of trauma, illness or hurt.

We therefore create dedicated spaces to explore taking creative inspiration from joy, tranquillity and happiness in all its forms, whilst recognising that happiness is not always straightforward and giving time to explore its nuance and complexity. We believe this is critical for writers' wellbeing, and have found that it creates some really exciting creative work.

We have facilitated a full 'Writing Happiness' course specifically for a group of D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse writers in 2021, in partnership with Spread the Word writers development agency and funded by Arts Council England.

We have also run one off and open writing happiness workshops for the Young Poets' Network of the national Poetry Society, the Writing Society, and several leading literary festivals.

If you are interested in writing happiness workshops or courses, and/or in accessible and inclusive facilitation, do get in touch at writinghappinessproject@gmail.com.
Editing & Mentoring

I am available for editing services for individual poems, pamphlets or collections. I am happy to take a look at work in any stage of readiness and act as a critical friend to help you develop your writing. My editing experience includes working as a Poetry Reader for The Adroit Journal and as Poetry Editor for the Mays Anthology.

I am also very happy to help you think through where you want to go next with your writing, whether that is writing your first pamphlet, finding a publisher, applying for funding and opportunities, balancing poetry with a day job, or anything else you would like to discuss.

Do get in touch about editing and/or mentoring over email at rachellewispoet@gmail.com.

"You've really made me think about stuff I haven't thought about before and I am excited to edit again now!" - Feedback from an editing session

"Full of very valuable practical advice from an experienced hand. I couldn't have hoped for more." - Feedback from a mentoring session

Rachel Lewis is a poet and facilitator living with mental illness.

Her poetry interrogates and celebrates recovery, survival, and finding joy through family, friendship and community. Her debut poetry pamphlet, 'Three Degrees of Separation', examines how we experience and heal from illness and grief together, through love beyond romance. This pamphlet won the Wordsmith Prize and was published in 2019.

Rachel regularly runs creative writing workshops, including a recent series on 'Writing Happiness' in partnership with Spread the Word for fellow writers living with disability and illness. She has also run workshops for the Poetry Society, the Writing Society, and several national literary festivals.

Rachel has had individual poems published by the Poetry Book Society, the Poetry Society and several literary journals. She has performed at the Roundhouse and the Southbank Centre in London, and at the Poetry in Aldeburgh festival, among others.

Community is at the heart of her practice. Rachel is a current Barbican Young Poet and a member of the Covent Garden Stanza. She has previously been selected for an Apples and Snakes-funded Arvon retreat, the Apples and Snakes Writing Room, and the Roundhouse Cross Arts programme for young artists.

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- Shortlisted for Mono 'Sanity' competition, 2021
- Shortlisted for Jewish Book Week Emerging Writers Award, 2021
- Shortlisted for the Poetry London Mentoring Award, 2020
- Winner of the Wordsmith Pamphlet Prize 2019
- Highly Commended, Poetry Book Society Student Prize, 2016
- Winner, Young Poets' Network 'Ways to be Wilder' challenge, 2016
- Winner, Young Poets' Network 'Cape Farewell x Climate Change' challenge, 2014
- Shortlisted, Richmond Young Laureate Award, 2013
- Foyle Young Poet of the Year, 2012
- Winner, Girton College Humanities Writing Prize (University of Cambridge), won with two sonnets, 2012
- Winner, Young Poets' Network 'Dramatic Monologue' Challenge, 2011
- Foyle Young Poet of the Year, 2009

Qualifications & Courses

- Barbican Young Poet, 2021/22
- CRIPtic x Spread the Word writers retreat, 2021
-Apples and Snakes Arvon Course, 2020
- Apples and Snakes Writing Room, 2019
- Roundhouse Cross-Arts Collective, 2018
- Poet in the City Young Producers' Programme, 2017
- BA in English Literature, University of Cambridge, 2016

I am particularly interested in poetry events, workshops and commissions related to mental health, recovery, family, friendship and community. I am always happy to talk about potential collaborations and projects - do get in touch!
In 2021/22 I was selected to be part of the Barbican Young Poets writers development programme (photo by Christy Ku)
Audience at the launch of my pamphlet 'Three Degrees of Separation' at the Poetry Cafe in London in April 2019
In 2018 as part of the Roundhouse Cross Arts programme I worked with this team of actors, dancers, and circus folk to devise a show for the main stage
Performing on the Roundhouse main stage at Circus Fest 2018
Performing from my pamphlet at Spoken Word London
As part of the Poet in the City Young Producers' Programme, I worked in a team to put on two sold-out live poetry nights in London
Performing a commissioned poem for 'Comfort, Courage and Power' at a livestreamed event at the Grand Junction
The Apples and Snakes Writing Room Showcase event, 2020
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