Hello October leaf fall :)

I’ve just driven down a sun-kissed tree-lined street with all the trees scattering their beautiful golden leaves on me like confetti. I love this gorgeous window of seasonal change (before the dark!) Greetings, all, and I hope you are enjoying some autumn leave-fall and all is well.

Very busy here with Hive happenings but a few lovely updates! Firstly, delighted to be in the new Poetry Review thanks to guest editors Hannah Lowe and Kim Moore. It’s a dream come true to make it into this incredible journal, and wow, what a lineup among fine poets like Kathryn Bevis, Caroline Bird and Sharon Olds! You can buy The Poetry Review here.

Also, I’m super excited to be running an edit session for the Brilliant Poetry Business on 22nd Nov. anyone interested can sign up here.

Being a book in a Human Library

Last week, I was delighted to take part in Justine Gaubert’s Human Library as part of the Festival of the Mind. This involved being a human book (!) and two lovely women loaning me out for conversations, alongside a lovely smorgasbord of brilliant women ‘books’. It was such a gorgeous experience and by all accounts, there were many enriched by the conversations they had. I loved the chats I got to have with my two loaners. It was wonderful to find immediate connections over a coffee with a beautiful stranger! More events like this are needed, so nurturing. Thank you Justine for your constant vision and brilliance. I will treasure my book cover!

New Welsh Reader

Lovely to have a poem in the autumn 130 issue of New Welsh Reader! Looks like a very exciting issue with Jonathan Edwards, Rory Waterman & many fine writers. Can’t wait to make time to get stuck in! Many thanks Emily, Edith, Gwen & co at New Welsh Review.  Available here

Look How Alive

Delighted to have worked with Hive young poet Lauren Hollingsworth Smith to edit her first full-length collection, Look How Alive, at the bonkers age of 20! It’s a brilliant, vulnerable, unapologetic read and I’m so proud of her. Lauren first joined us at Rotherham Young Writers when she was around 15 and I had the privilege of watching her grow into her voice through the group. At 18 she was a winner of the New Poets Prize with her debut pamphlet Ugly Bird. When she moved to uni she joined the Hive Poetry Collective I run online. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Lauren over the years and seeing her go from strength to strength. 

Lauren launches Look How Alive (Write Bloody UK) on Saturday 1st Oct at Dina Sheffield. Supporting poets include Iain Whiteley and another (TBC).

End of Summer…

What a busy summer it’s been! Although a lot of it work, some lovely happenings including a gorgeous welcome as guest reader to The Writing School last week. Such a great group of poets and working with the mighty stars that are Kathryn Bevis and Jonathan Edwards. They were all so lovely, I couldn’t resist going to their final Friday reading a few evenings later, which was very special. If you’re a poet/writer looking for endless inspiration, look no further than The Poetry School online (for a great range of courses) and Jonathan Edwards (who is a regular tutor for them)

July was also a busy month in part due to putting together two Hive anthologies which we launched at the iconic Leadmill in Sheffield with an amazing audience on 250 people! I worked with the fabulous Warda Yassin on the gorgeous chapbook anthology ‘We Are Everything’ from her Mixing Roots project (which you can buy here). I also put together Dear Life, a weighty anthology of 85 pieces of poetry and fiction from a whopping 74 young writers aged 14 to 30. It truly is a stunning anthology, and you can buy it here.

More soon!

Words from writers on Dear Life:

If you hold this book to your ear and really listen, you can hear its heart beating. Powerful, tender and wonderfully unique writing by the next generation of writers in the North. This anthology is quite simply stunning. I went to sleep with so many phrases and lines running through my head. Vanessa Lampert


Compassionate and quirky, funny and sad, strange and disturbing. A beautifully rich and varied selection from the voices of tomorrowSimon Bestwick

Poetry Review & The Writing School

Delighted to have a poem forthcoming in…drum roll…Poetry Review!  Thanks to Hannah Lowe and Kim Moore for including my poem Brother.  I’m also delighted to be guest reader at this brilliant Writing School week-long writing retreat with the amazing Jonathan Edwards in August. Jonathan is a brilliant teacher as many will attest. There’s still at least one place on the course I believe so get in there quickly if you’re looking to write lots of great drafts and feel inspired by the surreal in poetry. Thanks to the beautiful soul that is Kathryn Bevis for asking me.

Also, for the women’s Euro, Flux Rotherham have featured a poem I wrote with Rotherham Young Writers in celebration of Rotherham for Yorkshire Day. Five parts of the poem are displayed as street-art around Rotherham streets for the next few months.

More lovely June news…

Lots of lovely news today! I’ve just had a poem picked up for New Welsh Review’s New Welsh Reader autumn issue – thank you Gwen and Emily!

And mega chuffed for Hive young poet Beth Davies who is a winner of the New Poets Prize 2022! Congratulations to all four of the young poets, very exciting! It’s been an honour to work with Beth over the years and see her develop and shine as an emerging poet. I’m so glad Hive and myself could sow a seed. Makes me very proud. Much deserved Beth!

Shortlisted for the Mairtin Crawford Award for Poetry 2022

I’m so delighted to be one of four shortlisted for the Mairtin Crawford Award for Poetry 2022! Shout out to the other poets on the list – including my dear friend Kathryn Bevis – Sonya Gildea, Jim McElroy and Alison Binney. Thanks to Belfast Book Festival and judges Moyra Donaldson and Annemarie Ní Churreáin.

Mairtín Crawford was a writer and poet and who was a significant figure in Northern Ireland’s literary community. “Mairtín wrote as he lived, with a combination of intelligence and daring, revolutionary spirit and generosity of heart.” Moyra Donaldson. His own writing spanned many genres, including poetry, screenwriting, journalism and criticism. Mairtín died suddenly in 2004. In 2005 Lagan Press published his Selected Poems.

Saboteur Awards

Delighted that my chapbook If All This Never Happened has been shortlisted for the 2022 Saboteur Awards in the Best Poetry Pamphlet category! Honoured to be in fine company and can’t quite believe I made the list! Thanks so much to all who voted for it. Final voting ends 7th May.

Saboteur Awards Festival 2022: The shortlists!

Nice happenings in March…

So many nice things to mention! Honoured to have read last week with the wonderful Kate Fox and Joanna Limburg for Jenny Wong’s What We Read Now series. Massive thanks to Jenny and Jill Abram for the opportunity. Despite feeling a bit rubbish and full of cold, I really enjoyed it and the discussion we had afterwards. Had some really kind comments from it too so that’s warmed me up!

Delighted to have received some copies of NeruodiVERSE an anthology from Flapjack Press and honoured to be counted among its all-neurodivergent poets exploring various aspects of our experiences and wiring.  Can’t wait to get stuck into reading it!

Also, a slightly belated shout out for Breaking (Out), a wonderful new pamphlet from the brilliant Elizabeth Chadwick. I’m honored to have supported Liz with editing/mentoring on Breaking Out and I loved every minute of it. Here’s the cover quote I gave (I hope it enthuses you to buy a copy!)

A voice determined to search through, examine and clear out the attic of a life redefined, from its inherited shame and unprocessed grief to its glints of telltale wisdom. Chadwick Pywell’s glorious coming out/coming of age collection of poems opens the window wide and holds it all up to the light of compassion, humour and truth.

And well, hello spring weather and sun, beautiful sun!