Julia Webb Poet


My Background

I was born in London but grew up on a council estate in Thetford, a small town in rural Norfolk surrounded by pine forest. Thetford is known for being the home of The Iceni tribe, the birthplace of Thomas Paine, the place where they filmed a lot of Dad's Army and (in the 1960s) as a London Overspill town.

My ambitions to be a writer started when I was six-years-old and read The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton. I can trace my interest in magical realism, surrealism and love of language right back to the things read as a child - Dr Seuss, Enid Blyton, A.A. Milne, Tolkien and fairytales. However I left school (and home) at 16 with no qualifications and went to live in a commune. I continued to write short stories and poetry over the years, but with no real writing community I didn't really know how to improve them, and after my son was born I gravitated more towards art and printing while working as a pre-school supervisor. When I was 40 I had an epiphany of sorts and realised that writing was my first love. I quit my job and did a degree in creative writing at Norwich School of Art and Design (now known as NUA).  After that I went on to do an MA in poetry at the University of East Anglia.

My writing

My first poetry collection Bird Sisters was ten years in the making and was published by Nine Arches Press in 2016. My second collection Threat was published by Nine Arches in May 2019, and my third collection The Telling was published by Nine Arches in May 2022. I am currently working on my fourth collection 'Grey Time' which should come out sometime in 2025. In 2012 I was lucky enough to be awarded a TLC free read, which you can read about here. In 2011 I won the Poetry Society’s Stanza competition and in 2018 I won the Battered Moons poetry competition. My poem 'Sisters' was highly commended in the 2016 Forward Prize and my poem 'Crash Site' was highly commended in the 2022 Forward Prize. In 2016 I spent a month as writer in residence on Norwich Market.

I am really interested in human interaction, behaviour and relationships - what makes us human. I am also fascinated by the places where the natural world intersects with the human world. I love metaphor and magic realism - some of my work leans towards that, although some of it takes a sideways look at what it was like growing up as a girl in a a small town in the 1980s. My current collection explores different types of grief and loss while being firmly rooted in the English landscape.

Other Work

I have lived in Norwich for many years now - which is a city with a thriving writing community. I am a poetry editor and one of the founding editors of Lighthouse (a journal for new writing). I teach online, email and real world poetry courses, mentor writers, run the Norwich Stanza and also work for Cafe Writers. I believe in the power of lifelong learning and that anyone can benefit from doing creative writing.

I am also a collage artist and the cover for my first book Bird Sisters is one of my collages.