By 2030, it is estimated that Europe will lose one third of its population – the greatest demographic change since the Black Death. Rural areas are predictably most affected by an ageing population and a lowering birthrate. Consequently, many villages throughout Europe are approaching what we might call “the end game”. In 2007 and 2008, with the aid of a Creative Scotland Award from the Scottish Arts Council, I set out to discover what such a Europe might look like. I followed a rough wayfarer's arc to Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Bulgaria and Russia, visiting areas where depopulation was most severe. Sites of Loss is drawn from the visual record of the landscapes I passed through and of the resilient villagers who still live in them.
Tom Pow was born in Edinburgh in 1950. Primarily a poet, several of his collections have won awards and three of his poetry collections have been short-listed for Scottish Book of the Year. Most recently, Dear Alice – Narratives of Madness (Salt Publishing) won the poetry category in the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust's Scottish Book Awards in 2009. He has also written young adult novels, picture books, radio plays and a travel book about Peru. In The Becoming, New and Selected Poems (Polygon) has recently been published (June 2009). He has held various writing posts, including that of Scottish/Canadian Writing Fellow, based at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and Virtual Writer in Residence (Scotland's first) for the Scottish Library Association's Scottish Writers Project. He was the first ever Writer in Residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival from 2001 to 2003. For further information, see www.tompow.co.uk and www.contemporarywriters.com