Abigail Ardelle Zammit was born in Malta and has been writing poetry since the age of eleven. Although her first verses were in Maltese, she now writes solely in the English language. In 2005 Abigail obtained a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Lancaster, following which, Voices from the Land of Trees, which takes its inspiration from Guatemala’s violent past, was published by Smokestack (UK, 2007). The poet Graham Mort describes her first collection as “a visceral and moving work. Angry and compassionate, Zammit’s own voice discovers an excoriating yet redemptive timbre, confronting oppression and suffering whilst remaining true to moral complexity and ambivalence.”
In the last few years, Abigail has had poems published in a number of British and Canadian journals including Magma (shortlist 2017), The SHOp, Orbis, Aesthetica, Freefall, Markings, Myslexia (the poem ‘Mġarr, 1940’ was a finalist in a competition judged by Jo Shapcott), Iota, the Peleton anthology as well as the online journals Drunken Boat, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Atelier and Golden Walkman. In 2013 Abigail won the Alan Sillitoe Poetry competition judged by George Szirtes. http://www.sillitoe.com/1st-prize-abigail-zammit/. Two years later, two of her poems were shortlisted and longlisted in the Poetry on the Lake competition judged by Robert Minhinnick. The same year, the poem ‘Sleeping Woman, Jilted’ was longlisted in the Montreal International Poetry Competition. http://montrealprize.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Sleeping-Woman.pdf. In June 2017, two of Abigail’s poems were chosen as joint first prize winners in the Tools for Solidarity Poetry Competition (Belfast).
In December 2015, Abigail won second prize in the Sentinel (UK) Poetry Book Competition and consequently, her second collection, Portrait of a Woman with Sea Urchin was published and launched in London in December 2015. The judges Andy Willoughby and Bob Beagrie described Portrait of a Woman with Sea Urchin as “a sensual and passionate collection” which “makes the language sing. The poet shows a keen eye for focused detail that moves beyond mere picture-making into layers of symbolism and metamorphosis. Abigail A Zammit displays a capacity for speaking through masks, shifting personae without losing a coherent sense of voice.” Abigail believes that through its recreation of place, memory and desire, her most recent collection has allowed her to explore the relationship between text, body, landscape and coastal geographies.
Abigail holds a PhD in Creative Writing (Lancaster, UK), is a lecturer in English at the G.F. Abela Junior College and Visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Malta. She has had workshops with various British poets and in October 2015, she participated in a British Council project called ‘Walking Cities’ with the Next Generation Poet Hannah Lowe. Most recently, she was one of the guest poets at the Inizjamed Mediterranean Literature festival which takes place in Malta every summer. The collaboration with other writers gave rise to an interest in translation which has led to the publication of two bilingual pamphlets.