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Posts from the ‘BSL’ Category

John Wilson

I am John Wilson. My family come from the North East of England, but I have lived around London and the South East for many years now. I’m lucky, because in my work for a long time I have been able to use BSL professionally everyday, and to work in many areas of the arts. I’ve done lots of different kinds of work in BSL. I have acted and directed in the theatre (we won a prize at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe a few years ago). I have translated plays by Shakepeare into BSL (and also some of the Bible). Most recently I have been leading guided tours and making presentations in BSL for some big art galleries, including the Tate Modern and Tate Britain, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. I have always been close to animals – I once worked as a zoo keeper – because I understand what it feels like when no-one really understands what you are trying to say. My poetry draws on imagery from the natural world which mean a lot to me. I love the US and I am really looking forward to coming to the poetry festival and being inspired by the people I meet.

Donna Williams

I am a deaf writer, postgrad student and British Sign Language poet. I started doing BSL poetry five years ago, not bad given I only became a fluent user of BSL about eight years ago.
I love Sign Language; it has allowed me to access the world in a way that speech never has, and the first time I saw SL poetry, I was hypnotised. It was beautiful, clear, expressive, and I knew I wanted to do that! It took me a little while, but I have been developing my skills and become more confident in this art form, and I am really looking forward to travelling to Philadelphia to take up the challenge of expressing my poetry to a non-BSL audience. If I can create poetry that all can access, past all language barriers, it will be worth coming across the water!

More information about Donna can found at her blog at

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