Christine De Luca

Photo of Christine De Luca
Photo of Christine De Luca

Christine De Luca (née Pearson) is a Shetlander, living in Edinburgh. She writes in English and Shetlandic, her mother tongue.  She was appointed Edinburgh’s Makar for 2014-2017.  Besides several children’s stories and one novel, she has had seven poetry collections and four bi-lingual volumes published (French, Italian, Icelandic and Norwegian).  She’s participated in many festivals here and abroad.  Her poems have been selected four times for the Best Scottish Poems of the Year (2006, 2010, 2013 and 2015) for the Scottish Poetry Library online anthologies.   

The Shetland Library published her first three poetry collections: Voes & Sounds in 1994, Wast Wi Da Valkyries in 1997 and Plain Song in 2002.  The first two won the Shetland Literary Prize, since discontinued. She also won the Rhoda Bulter Dialect Prize in 2004. 2004 also saw Hansel Cooperative Press publish a sequence of poems, Drops in Time’s Ocean.  More recent collections were published by Luath Press, Edinburgh, and Mariscat Press, Edinburgh.   

Many of her poems appear in anthologies including Modern Scottish Women Poets (Canongate, 2003), The Edinburgh Book of Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry (Edinburgh University Press, 2005) as well as A Shetland Anthology, (Shetland Publishing Company, 1998). She is a long-term member of Shore Poets in Edinburgh.

She has had fruitful collaborations across the arts. The Hansel exhibition of woodcuts and poems in Shetlandic was undertaken in 2003 with other Hansel members, John Cumming and Frances Pelly.

She particularly enjoys collaborating with composers and  musicians, most notably with jazz composer Tommy Smith and Shetland traditional fiddler, Catriona Macdonald

She also enjoys translating other poets into Shetlandic. Some of her poems have been translated into Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Danish, Finnish, Latvian, Estonian, Polish, Austrian-German and Welsh.

A further passion is work with Shetland children, helping them develop reading and writing skills in dialect.  To this end she has written storybooks, edited a novel (by Bjorn Sandison) and translated work by Roald Dahl and Julia Donaldson into Shetlandic.  These have often been followed up with a dialect story-telling tour of all the primary schools.