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. 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 conferencse at the National Library of Scotland and in 2016 she co-edited the anthology Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry.
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.
Her poem Outwith was chosen as one of the Scottish Poetry Library’s Best Scottish Poems of 2016. 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.