Portrait photo of Owen Lowery
Photo by Jayne Lowery

Owen Lowery: from Judo Champion to Poet.

Unlimited is supporting a reading tour of Owen Lowery’s first major poetry collection, Otherwise Unchanged, published with the major literary publishing house, Carcanet. The inspiration for the book is as wide-ranging as the poems that it includes, with work drawn from everyday experiences of love, life, and disability, and others that owe their inspiration to myriad literary and artistic interests. Lowery wanted to make sure that the book provided the widest possible cross-section of his poetry and interests, paving the way for more specific collections in the future, and also reflecting his own fascination in wide ranging concerns.

Unlimited wanted to get behind the words and find out a bit more about the man himself, and, for example, how he made the transition from Judo champion to Poet…

Owen was brought up near Reading in 1968. As a child, he enjoyed drawing and reading poetry books left around the house. At the age of eight, Owen started Judo at a local club; he relished the training and eventually made a name for himself on the competitive circuit. He went on to win the British titles at under 18, under 21 and senior levels. At a tournament in St Helens, Owen experienced a spinal injury that left him paralysed from the shoulders down and needing a ventilator to breathe. Using an adaptive computer he decided to resume his studies that he had been enjoying prior to the accident.

It started with an A Level in Tudor history, encouraged by that, he completed a BA Hons in Humanities with the Open University, and was awarded a First. Two masters degrees followed, and he is currently completing his PhD on the extrospective poetry of Keith Douglas. He first began writing poetry during his Creative Writing MA, and, Manchester’s Carcanet Press published Otherwise Unchanged in December 2012. Carcanet will also be publishing his next works, Rego Retold in 2015.

Owen married his long time girlfriend in June 2013 and they are enjoying this new chapter of their life together. He is an avid Liverpool Football Club fan and enjoys folk, jazz and blues music.

Through Unlimited, Owen is looking forward to learning from other writers, creators, and producers. It will help him to develop his writing and performance, and give greater insight into the nature of his work and creative identity. Whilst primarily to date a writer on paper, Owen is interested in exploring a range of performance options to stretch the impact of his work, and also that meet his access requirements. Unlimited will also provide the logistical support required to embark on a reading tour and take his work to venues and audiences that would, otherwise, have been beyond his reach.

For a sample of his writing, please see a recent piece on Disability Arts Online.