I remember the first time I saw Hollie McNish on YouTube, a blurry video of her performing Mathematics.

 

The second she started speaking, paper clutched nervously in her hand, a hush came over the room. You could *feel* the audience on the edge of their seats. Perhaps they, like me, were just discovering the excitement, humour and wonder of poetry.

 

Since then, McNish has released two spoken word albums and three books. Films of her reading her poems have repeatedly gone viral, some receiving over a million YouTube views in a week, and the industry has noticed too – she’s now a Ted Hughes prize winner and UK slam poetry champion. 

 

“I just love writing,” she smiles. “I can’t be sure, but I think even if I hadn’t ever shared my work with anyone, I’d still write, you know? It’s such a nice way to get your feelings out. I think the other thing is that I love seeing people’s reactions – friends tagging each other or someone tagging their boyfriend. I’ve put out poems that I thought no one would relate to, and they’ve been shared more than others I think people will like more. I never really know.”

 

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