MacGillivray is a Scottish writer and artist. Her poetry and multi-disciplinary practice inhabits a rich artistic universe encompassing performance art, song-writing and the use of visual media such as sculpture and photography. She has walked in a straight line with a dead wolf on her shoulders through the back streets of Vegas into the Nevada desert, eaten broken chandelier glass in a derelict East Berlin shopping mall, headbanged in gold medieval stocks in Birmingham allotments, burnt on a sun bed wearing conquistador armour in Edinburgh’s underground city, breast-fed a Highland swan in Oxford and regurgitated red roses in Greenland.
MacGillivray’s work summons forth a pantheon of muses, outlaws and showmen from the dark corners of Scottish and American history, animating their world with an incantatory free verse that is shockingly contemporary and hauntingly ritualistic. The poems excavate passion and transgression with precision and sympathy, allowing the reader to witness history from surprising new angles.
She has a Doctorate in Performance and Scottish Identity, for which she studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University. Her thesis is titled Cloth, Cull and Cocktail; Anatomising the Performer Body of ‘Scotland’. The academic research she undertook as part of this finds further expression in her debut collection, The Last Wolf of Scotland. This work treads a fine line between surreal reality and imaginative abstraction, in order to trace the violence through which national mythologies are forged and perpetuated, from the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands to the piratical showmanship of the wild west.
From the Library Catalogue