about me

They say those born overseas will always ache for the sky under which they were born. My particular bit of sky hovers directly above Scotland and spends most of its time obscured by clouds––almost permanently pregnant with rain, hail, occasionally snow.  

I am a Scottish poet/writer living in Australia. My first book, ‘poking seaweed with a stick and running away from the smell’ was launched at Sydney Writers Festival and published to critical acclaim in Australia and the UK. A few years later, after an abrupt life lesson, then stumbling upon Mary Oliver’s, ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’ I took the decision to give up my spectacularly boring day job in order to write full-time. 

My debut poetry collection,  and my heart crumples like a coke can’  is being published by Wakefield Press, Adelaide (due May 2018).

Praise for, ‘and my heart crumples like a coke can’:

‘Ali Whitelock writes a poetry of excoriating tenderness.  Whitelock is Bukowski with a Glaswegian accent and a nicer wardrobe.  She is Sharon Olds with better manners.  These poems wake you.  They keen and they yearn and they warn and they thank the stars for not falling more often than they do. These poems, trying not to be poems at all, are acts of love and defiant triumphs of order over disorder, Hurrahs that cry down all disarray.’  Mark Tredinnick, winner of the 2011 Montreal International Poetry Prize, poet and author of The Blue Plateau, The Little Red Writing Book, Blue Wren Cantos, The Lyre Bird & Other Poems.

‘One of the wittiest, liveliest and most moving collections I’ve read in recent years. These poems are sassy, heartwrenching and unforgettable. They evoke the best of Bukowski and Ginsberg while being the unique product of a contemporary female mind, a mind that is hilarious, provocative and – remarkable. Reading this collection made me feel like I was at a book festival, stand-up comedy night and therapy session all at once. Every poem is an event.’   Kevin MacNeil, author of The Brilliant & Forever, The Stornoway Way, A Method Actor’s Guide to Jekyll & Hyde, The Diary of Archie the Alpaca. 

‘Ali Whitelock’s observations are funny and playful, there is a real honesty to her work and it is in no way pretentious, it’s the kind of poetry that I want to re-read even before I have finished reading it.’  Edward Crossan, Poetry Editor, Polygon Edinburgh.

My poem have appeared in these rather fabulous literary mags:

‘duty free fags’ (The Poets’ Republic)

‘if you write poetry but do not like conversation’ (Gutter Magazine)

‘the time it takes to boil an egg’ (Northwords Now)  

‘i didn’t think i would die like this’ (The American Journal of Poetry)

‘for a while the darkness was all we could stand’ ( The American Journal of Poetry)

‘there is no sound when it snows’ (The RedRoom Company)

‘ode to an ovary’ (Beautiful Losers Magazine)

‘eventually you will turn fifty’ (Beautiful Losers Magazine)

‘if you came tapping at the window’ (The Moth Magazine)

‘i am the sea’ (forthcoming in The Pittsburgh Quarterly Magazine)

‘the cumquats of christmas past’ (Ink Sweat & Tears).  This poem was also voted ‘Pick of the Month December 2017’ at Ink Sweat & Tears


My first book, ‘Poking seaweed with a stick and running away from the smell.’


My first book, (memoir) was published to critical acclaim by Wakefield Press, Adelaide and by Polygon, Edinburgh and was launched to a packed house at Sydney Writers’ Festival. 




Praise for, ‘Poking seaweed with a stick and running away from the smell’

‘Whitelock must be Billy Conolly’s comedy love child,’ – Laura Marney, Scottish author

‘A hilarious, no-misery memoir,’ – The Scotsman

‘Candid and rhythmic…humour is her safeguard against the terrible things she tells us,’  Sunday Herald 

‘Remarkably life affirming,’ – The Sydney Morning Herald

‘Charmingly cynical,’ – The Scottish Review of Books


I’m  also the director of The Sydney Poetry Lounge https://www.facebook.com/thesydneypoetrylounge/, a monthly poetry open-mic event with 2 Feature Poets each month (and held on the first Tuesday of every month).


I’m currently working on my 2nd poetry collection, ‘the lactic acid in the calves of your despair’ and am half way through my second memoir, ‘andy’s snack van tour of scotland,’ about travelling around scotland with my brother, who is nothing short of insane.