Marjorie Lotfi

Novelist, Poet


My debut collection, The Wrong Person to Ask (Bloodaxe Books, 2023) was one of the three winners of the inaugural James Berry Poetry prize in 2021 and is a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. The collection was reviewed by Rebecca Tamás in the Guardian, and a poem from it selected by Carol Rumens as the Guardian’s Poem of the Week. Other poems have been published widely in journals and anthologies in the UK and US (including The Rialto, Gutter, Ambit, Magma and Staying Human), included in Best Scottish Poems and performed on BBC Radio 4. My 2023 pamphlet The World May be the Same (Stewed Rhubarb Press, with Hannah Lavery), poems about being a writer of colour in Scotland, was commissioned by the Edwin Morgan Trust. I’ve also co-authored a children’s book, Straw Bag, Tin Box, Cloth Suitcase, Three Immigrant Stories (Reycraft Books). I’m regularly commissioned to write new work, including Sister, a sequence about the Women, Life, Freedom movement in Iran (Stellar Quines Theatre Company), Pilgrim, a sequence about migration between Iran and the US (St Magnus Festival, Orkney), Bridge, a female migration sequence (The University of Edinburgh), and other work from the Fruitmarket Gallery, tThe Scottish Poetry Library, the Goethe-Institut, and StAnza and Push the Boat Out festivals. I’m writing a memoir about my childhood in revolutionary Iran and Ohio, paired with my father’s story of migration to the US (currently 75,000 words). This project began through a Scottish Book Trust Ignite Fellowship (including ongoing mentorship with John Burnside), and its completion is supported by Creative Scotland. I read a portion of this work at the 2023 Paisley Book festival. I have been a profiled author for WritersMosaic.

I’m working on a poetic provocation and a sequence of poems for the Edinburgh Futures Institute 2024 conference, and an essay on travel and the female body for a forthcoming anthology from Saraband Books. I also write with 12: a collective of women writers. I regularly run workshops/tutor for a number of organisations, including Moniack Mhor, the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh International Book festival, Scottish BPOC Network, The Society of Authors (forthcoming ‘How to Run a Poetry workshop’) and the Scottish Poetry Library.

As of 2024, I am mentoring eight writers, and offering three, week-long tutored writing retreats in Galloway. I co-founded and direct Open Book, which runs over 1200 reading and creative writing workshops across Scotland each year in community settings. I also founded The Belonging Project, considering the experiences of refugees, with over 1,500 participants. I co-chair the Board of Trustees of StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry festival (having previously chaired that of the Wigtown Book festival), and regularly appear at other festivals, such as Edinburgh International Book festival, the Verve festival and the Newcastle Poetry festival.

Marjorie Lotfi by Heshani Sothiraj Eddleston
Image credit: Heshani Sothiraj Eddleston

Marjorie Lotfi

Novelist, Poet


[email protected]


  • Reading Round Fellow