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Rebecca Swift

Rebecca Swift
Rebecca Margaret Swift

(1964-01-10)10 January 1964
Highbury, London, England
Died18 April 2017(2017-04-18) (aged 53)
EducationCamden School for Girls
Alma materNew College, Oxford
Occupation(s)Poet and essayist
Known forCo-founder of The Literary Consultancy
Parent(s)Clive Swift
Margaret Drabble
RelativesAdam Swift (brother)
Joe Swift (brother)
David Swift (uncle)
A. S. Byatt (aunt)

Rebecca Swift (10 January 1964 – 18 April 2017)[1][2][3] was a British poet and essayist. She was co-founder in 1996 of The Literary Consultancy.


Rebecca Margaret Swift was born in Highbury, north London, the daughter of Clive Swift and Margaret Drabble.[1][4] Her brothers are Adam Swift and Joe Swift.[1][2]

As a student, Swift attended the Camden School for Girls and New College, Oxford.[1][2]

From 1989 to 1995, she worked as a junior editor at Virago Press.[2] She was fired after Virago was purchased by Little, Brown and Company.[4] In 1992 and 1995, she published Letters from Margaret: The Fascinating Story of Two Babies Swapped at Birth, and Imagining Characters, respectively.[2] She co-founded The Literary Consultancy, an editing company, in 1996 with Hannah Griffiths.[1][2] The Literary Consultancy has helped many writers, including Prue Leith, Neamat Imam, and Jennifer Makumbi.[1][3] In 2009, The Literary Consultancy became a founding member of the Free Word Centre.[2]

In 1999, Swift wrote "Are You Reading Me?" for her master's thesis at the Tavistock Clinic.[2] In 2001, she organised a bursary scheme to provide for free editing services to low-income writers.[1] In 2011, she published Dickinson: Poetic Lives, a biography of Emily Dickinson.[3] In 2012, she organised the first digital conference for writers in the United Kingdom, "Writing in a Digital Age" at the Free Word Centre.[2][3][4] The conference discussed the current publishing landscape, including self-publishing.[2]


Swift died of cancer on 18 April 2017, at the age of 53.[1][2][3]

In her honour, the Rebecca Swift Foundation was formed.[5] In June 2018, it announced the Women Poets' Prize, to be awarded biennially to three poets, at the Second Home Poetry Festival.[5][6] It will also provide support to winning poets, in partnership with affiliated organisations.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Finch, Emily (19 May 2017). "Rebecca Swift, writer's friend who supported voices of the marginalised". Islington Tribune. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Silgardo, Melanie (25 April 2017). "Rebecca Swift obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Page, Benedicte (20 April 2017). "The Literary Consultancy's Rebecca Swift dies | The Bookseller". Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Shamsie, Kamila (23 May 2017). "Obituary: Rebecca Swift | The Bookseller". Retrieved 20 October 2022.
  5. ^ a b c Onwuemezi, Natasha (21 May 2018). "Foundation and poetry award launches in memory of Rebecca Swift | The Bookseller". Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  6. ^ Anderson, Porter (14 June 2018). "The Rebecca Swift Foundation's New Women Poet's Prize Opens for Submissions". Publishing Perspectives. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
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Rebecca Swift
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