LEYLA JOSEPHINE began having her way with words as a young girl, in basement venues and upstairs rooms dotted around Glasgow and Scotland.

In 2014, she rose to prominence by winning the UK Poetry Slam at The Royal Albert Hall, and now the fully fledged spoken word artist and poetry teacher has been appointed as the new Schools Writer in Residence for Citizen, the next phase of the year-round programme taking the Edinburgh Book Festival across the country.

When I catch up with Leyla, she is travelling from her home in Monkton, Ayrshire on the M77 - a place where she spends a lot of time, she says.

"I'm going to Dublin tomorrow, and I've been working quite a bit there so I'm going to have to think of more ways to carbon neutralise myself, but the boat is quite expensive and takes so much longer" she laughs.

Travel as taken up quite a bit of our conversation, as Leyla is going to be moving to the outskirts of Edinburgh, to Musselburgh, for her new position.

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"Musselburgh is similar to where I'm staying now. I like working in places outside the city, and that's just on another coast" says Leyla.

"There is less funding there. Ayrshire was the only area not to get funding from Creative Scotland in the last funding pot and there are other similar places, like Musselburgh.

"I'm interested in how you only hear one version of stories. I know we are limited in our stories in Scotland anyway - most young people only hear American or English voices.

"It's important to hear Glasgow and Edinburgh voices but also the other voices from places that don't get the infrastructure of arts. That's why I think this position with the Book festival is really exciting."

Citizen is a long-term creative programme, that will work in partnership with organisations in and around Edinburgh to listen to people’s views about the communities in which they live.

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Led by Scottish-based writers-in-residence, like Leyla. Citizen provides a platform for communities to explore their connection to each other and their relationship to their local area, looking at how local conversations are heard or echoed on a national or global level.

For Leyla, who has spent much of her time in recent years teaching poetry on the outskirts of the city whilst travelling to venues within to perform, the job seems to be a perfect match.

"I've had a lot of experience working in schools and in prisons, and my dad had learning difficulties so for a long time I've been well versed in bringing poetry to people who weren't usually acquainted with it" she says.

With Citizen, Leyla will work with a host of fellow writers, musicians, illustrators and other artists to inspire community members and school pupils to tell their stories of life in their areas, and share their views on community, home and their relationship to the wider world.

"I feel that the reason poetry is difficult to others is because people put boundaries on it, saying what is and isn't good" says Leyla. "When I'm teaching in contexts that aren't used to writing, the main thing is getting them to write down opinions and feelings, things about their life.

"I fell into spoken word.

"I went to the Royal Conservatoire and I studied contemporary performance. My Dad died when I was 19, and I started writing like it was an emergency. I just had to get stuff out. I was a bit of a hot mess at the time and started performing these huge big rhyming poems, and I didn't know what it was.

"My friend Sam was running poetry nights in Inn Deep and he told me to come down and do it, and from that I kept getting gigs."

Since then, Leyla has performed in hundreds of venues speaking widely to the masses about topics like love, death, sex, porn and abortion - including a date this year with John Cooper Clarke.

"I'm at a different point in my career now. I've been doing it a long time and my craft is changing a lot, its quieter.

"I still feel lucky people want to listen to what I have to say."