Tim’s most recent publication is his third collection of poetry, Avanti! (2018), from Red Squirrel Press. This follows a collection of supernatural tales, ‘Silence’ and Other Stories (2016), from RSP’s Postbox Press imprint.
His first full collection of poetry Stranded in Sub-Atomica (Donut Press, 2005) was was shortlisted for Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection in the 2006 Forward Prizes. In the same year he was awarded a Performance Poetry Fellowship by the Arts Foundation, the first of its kind in Britain.
Turnbull grew up in the village of Ebberston in North Yorkshire. After leaving school, he worked for the Forestry Commission for eight years before moving to Cumbria to study forestry at Newton Rigg College.
Between 1979 and 1994 Turnbull played and sang with a series of punk/ska/industrial bands: The Rockin’ Molerats, S.A.F., The Live Lobsters, The Long Haired Lovers, The Dog Conspiracy and finally, after a move to London in 1992, Machine Intelligence.
His first poetry performance was in a Slam at Chat’s Palace in Homerton, East London in 1994. After the Chat’s Palace Slam, he decided to concentrate on poetry and enrolled on the Writing BA at Middlesex University in 1995. In 1996 and 1998 visited America with the Farrago and Heart of Darkness Slam Teams to compete against U.S. Slammers.
While at Middlesex he became involved with Haringey Arts Council for whom he ran a series of highly successful schools’ poetry projects. He completed the M.A. in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University in 2002 and moved to Scotland.
In the summer of 2004 he travelled to Germany to take part in the Poesie der Nachbar Project, which led to the publication of a bilingual edition, Es Lebt! with transalations by Norbert Hummelt, Birgit Kempker, Norbert Lange, Ulf Stolterfoht, Hans Thill and Jan Wagner. He was also awarded a Scottish Arts Council Bursary to help with the completion of a second collection, Caligula on Ice and other poems.
He produced the acclaimed stage shows Caligula on Ice (2008) and Tim Turnbull’s Tales of Terror (2010), as well as a further poetry collection and several limited edition pamphlets, all available from Donut. He completed a PhD in Creative Writing at Northumbria University in 2016. The thesis included an exploration of gothdom and Lovecraftian tropes.
He has worked as a freelance tutor and as a consultant specialising in adult literacy publishing for various agencies in Scotland. He has also been Writer in Residence at HMP Open Estate (2010), HMP Edinburgh (2006-2009) and HMYOI Werrington (2004-2006) and for the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in 2006.
Since 2010, his work as a visual artist has taken on increasing importance. His first exhibition was in June 2018 in Dunkeld and consisted of Perthshire landscapes all of which featured the A9, the main artery north into the Scottish Highlands. He has produced illustrations for magazines and book covers. More recently, his painting and digital art has taken on the satirical and macabre themes of his writing, while another series of works has seen him exploring the biker subculture of which he was part in the eighties and nineties.