Fiona Moore

Lessons from the School of Night


I’m not really interested in capturing anything. I’m just interested in writing what happens.
— Fiona Moore

Poet, critic, and editor Suzannah V. Evans was at the 2019 StAnza Poetry Festival in St Andrews in March where she caught up with Fiona Moore, who was reading and speaking about her first collection, The Distal Point (HappenStance Press, 2018), recently shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. In their interview, they talk about leaving the Home Office to write poetry, how Moore organised her award-nominated collection, writing about climate change, and more. At the end, Moore also reads three poems from The Distal Point: ‘At Dunwich Beach’ (13.50), ‘Seizure’ (15.39), and ‘London Street, Wet Day’ (16.41).


Music by longzijun. Image by Alexander Hamilton.


Based in Greenwich, Fiona Moore has an MBA specialising in organisational culture and a degree in Classics. In 2004, she left her Foreign Office career to write, working part-time for Excellent Development, a sustainable development charity specialising in sand dams. Moore served as an assistant editor for The Rialto for several years and is currently on the editorial board for Magma. She reviews poetry (Saboteur Best Reviewer in 2014) and blogs at displacement-poetry.blogspot.co.uk. Her debut pamphlet, The Only Reason for Time, was a Guardian poetry book of the year and her second, Night Letter, was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets. Her first full collection, The Distal Point, was released from HappenStance Press in 2018.

Suzannah V. Evans is a poet, editor, and critic. She has published poems in PN Review, The London Magazine, New Welsh Review, and elsewhere, and she reviews for the Times Literary Supplement. A selection of her poems was longlisted for the 2019 and 2018 Ivan Juritz Prize, and she is Reviews Editor for The Compass and an AHRC-funded PhD researcher at Durham University


Lessons from the School of Night are an irregular series of video or audio interviews and tips from poets and writers who visit St Andrews. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

The School of Night – inspired by the group which included Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh – is Topping & Company Booksellers’ Year-Round Poetry Festival in St Andrews. Curated with the help of Don Paterson and playing host to poets as varied as Paul Muldoon and Lorraine Mariner, Simon Armitage and Annie Freud, it is anchored to a regular fixture on the last Tuesday of the month. The School of Night offers the chance to explore and discuss the work of some of the best poets on the contemporary scene. For more details on these and other events, please visit the Topping & Company website.