Emma was first published aged 17, by cult North East poet, Barry MacSweeney. MacSweeney relaunched his BlackSuede Boot Press to publish her pamphlet The Hangman & The Stars. Correspondence between the two poets regarding the publication is held by the Barry MacSweeney Archive at Northumbria University. On leaving full time education she went on to train as a Journalist with Trinity Mirror Group and has written for several Cumbrian Newspaper titles as well as the Liverpool Daily Post and Newcastle Journal.
Her passion for narrative was stronger than her desire for news and she decided to pursue a degree at the University of Liverpool in English Literature. Following graduation she was approached by Tom Chivers of Penned-in-the-Margins to feature in the Generation TxT anthology and took part in a 3 week UK tour. It was during this tour that she was spotted by Tall Lighthouse who published her chapbook Those Who Jump. A full list of publications can be found in the bibliography section.
Emma has performed at many spoken words events and festivals nationally and internationally including Glastonbury, Latitude, The Big Chill, Kendal Calling, Soho Theatre, Bloomsbury Theatre, Contact Manchester, Shakespeare & Co Paris, Southbank Centre London the Nuyorican Poetry Cafe, New York, Morden Tower, Bluecoat Liverpool and Manchester Royal Exchange.
While living in Paris, Emma was a "Tumbleweed" at the famous Shakespeare & Co bookshop. Emma was the last Tumbleweed to meet founder George Whitman and was asked to read at his funeral at Pere lachaise along with Jeanette Winterson. Emma was later invited back to Paris as a writer in residence and spent time living and working above the shop. She has also completed residencies for New Writing North, as North West Digital Poet in Residence for Apples & Snakes' My Place or Yours project and with the St Endellion Centre in Cornwall.
As a communiy artist and workshop leader she worked extensively with Rosehill Theatre where she was an Associate Artist from 2014-2017. Projects included working with Scene and Heard, Mahoganay Opera Group and Cardboard Citizens. Emma has also led many workshops and residencies in schools with Creative Partnerships and independently as well as running workshops in community centres and prisons. She also spent three terms as an associate lecturer at the University of Cumbria. For more information on workshops please see the drop down menu.
Emma is a graduate of the Manchester Writing School where she was mentored by Carol Ann Duffy and Michael Symmons-Roberts.
As well as working as writer and performer she has also worked for a literature charity as a Reading Facilitator, as a Programme Manager at a Rural Arts Centre and in catering and events for the legendary Wild Zucchinis Bistro. Plus many other hustles along the way.
Emma McGordon is an award-winning poet, performer and community artist. Originating from Whitehaven in West Cumbria, she has also lived in Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Paris, London and Santorini.
In 2017 she was awarded the Julia Darling Fellowship and spent time on a research residency in San Francisco. She is the recipient of two Arts Council England Awards, The Norman Nicholson Award for Poetry, and a Northern Writers Award ( young writer of the year 2002).
She has been shortlisted for Cumbria Writer of the Year and was highly commended in the The Rosamund Prize and the University Women in the Arts prize. She has also been noted as a writer to watch by The Times on-line. In 2018 the Saboteur awards long-listed her as a UK Best Spokenword performer.