is a London-born Edinburgh-based Scottish-Algerian poet with a BA in Combined Honours in English Literature & Film & Media from Stirling University, & an MSc in Creative Writing: Poetry from Edinburgh University. She has been published in nearly a hundred literary journals & a broad range of anthologies from presses such as Polygon; Seren, Jessica Kingsley London, Cannongate & upcoming in Bloomsbury. Her essays, poetry and prose have been published internationally & translated into several languages.
She has been Digital Poet in Residence for The Poetry School London, & a Visiting Poet on a Teaching Residency for the students of Arcadia University, Philadelphia. She collaborates with artists; has been shortlisted for a few accolades, & engages in numerous projects, performances, readings & exhibitions. Her film poems have been selected for screening at festivals & she was the founder & editor of the magazine ‘The Undertow Review’ bringing art & poetry into a multidisciplinary forum.
She performs her poetry at festivals & events, & after performing her poem about ‘Amy Winehouse’ on BBC Radio Scotland she was invited to return as an Arts & Culture critic for The Afternoon Show. The following year, she was commissioned to write a poem for a BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘Conversations on a Bench’, in 2019 she appeared on BBC television in the art series Loop, The Edinburgh Show & then Damian Barr’s The Big Scottish Book Club before hosting a film about The Scottish Poetry Library for Book Week Scotland, both in 2020.
In 2021 she did a podcast with Jackie Bird about Robert Burns & in January 2022 she appeared with Edith Bowman on Burns Big Night In recorded live for The National Trust for Scotland. She also hosted a conversation & set of performances on film for the Scottish Poetry Library, gaining critical acclaim across publicity. She has been invited to appear on BBC’s Debate Night next & has been a judge for The Edwin Morgan Prize & The Scottish Book Trust Awards 2023.
She is the author of poetry pamphlets Pauses at Zebra Crossings & A Choir of Ghosts, a hardback children’s chapter book The Mermaid, The Girl and The Gondola illustrated by Fabio Perla in Italy. Her first full poetry collection Hand Over Mouth Music (published by Pavilion: University of Liverpool Press) won The Saltire Poetry Book of the Year Literary Award 2019. She is currently working on a her debut novel Of Sweet Figs and Forget-Me-Nots & her travel memoir titled Lonerlust, a nonfiction narrative about desire & travelling alone searching for connections between landscapes, culture & the human condition.
‘Pavilion poetry have built such a fantastic stable in just a few years, and Janette Ayachi is a worthy addition. Restless & curious, pressing at the edges of the singular self, at where cultural and personal identities meet.’