Katie Ailes is a researcher, performer, and producer of contemporary spoken word poetry.
She grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania and attended Bates College in Lewiston, ME, where she studied English, Dance, and Education and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 2014. Following graduation she moved to Scotland and completed an MRes in English at the University of Strathclyde (2014-15) on a US-UK Fulbright Award, focusing on poetry written for the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. In 2015 she co-organised the Poetic Politics: Culture and the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum, One Year On conference at the National Library of Scotland and in 2016 she co-edited the anthology Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry (Luath Press). She is currently completing a PhD at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow focusing on the performance of authentic selfhood in contemporary UK spoken word poetry, and is supported in this research by a University of Strathclyde Humanities and Social Sciences Studentship and the St. Andrew’s Society of Washington, D.C. Founder’s Prize.
As a poet, Katie co-organises and performs with the collective Loud Poets, including touring with them to the Brighton, Prague, and Edinburgh fringe festivals. Her poem “Outwith” was chosen as one of the Scottish Poetry Library’s Best Scottish Poems of 2016. Katie was mentored by former Scottish Makar Liz Lochhead through St. Mungo’s Mirrorball’s 2015-16 Clydebuilt programme. She has co-piloted the Scottish Poetry Library’s Ambassadors scheme since 2015 and is currently chairing their inaugural Poets Advisory Group. She released her first collection, Homing, in 2015, and was published in the House of Three anthology series in 2016.