Rachel Mann is an Anglican priest, scholar and poet based in south Manchester. Between 2009 and 2017 she was poet-in-residence at Manchester Cathedral and helped establish and develop innovative literary partnerships such as ‘The Manchester Sermon’ with Manchester Literature Festival. In 2012 she graduated from The Manchester Writing School with an M.A. in Creative Writing.
She is especially interested in genre-breaking literary and cultural projects. Her first book, the critically-acclaimed ‘Dazzling Darkness’ (Glasgow: Wild Goose), a memoir of growing up transgender in the 1970s and ‘80s, combined elements of life writing, poetry, critical theory and theology. Since then she has published two books which weave together poetry and prose, ‘The Risen Dust’ and ‘A Star-Filled Grace’, as well as ‘Fierce Imaginings’ (London: DLT), a book which examines the place of Remembrance and the First World War in Brexit-Britain. It was shortlisted for the international Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing. Her writing has been described as ‘exceptional’ (Rowan Williams), ‘astonishing’ (Michael Symmons Roberts), and ‘lucid and stimulating’ (The TLS).
Her debut full collection, ‘A Kingdom of Love’ was published by Carcanet in September 2019, and a selection of her poetry was included in Carcanet’s ‘New Poetries VII’.
She has also written comment pieces for The Church Times, The Times, and The Guardian, as well as reviewing for a wide variety of magazines and journals, including PN Review. She also writes for the Rock Music press about progressive, metal and folk music and has contributed to radio programmes on BBC Radio, including Sunday, The Moral Maze, Pause for Thought, and Beyond Belief. She regularly presents The Daily Service on BBC Radio Four.
As a scholar, her research interests include sexuality, queer theory and nineteenth-century poetry, especially the intersections between feminisms, trans identity and poetic performance. She holds a PhD on nineteenth-century women’s poetry and the Bible and has written a book on the poetry of Christina Rossetti, ‘In the Bleak Midwinter: Through Advent and Christmas with Christina Rossetti’.
Personal website: www.rachelmann.co.uk