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!

Liverpool Poetry Prize

I’m delighted to have a poem highly commended in the inaugural Liverpool Poetry Prize judged by the brilliant Roger McGough, and I’m looking forward to the reading in Liverpool in June.

I’m also absolutely thrilled for a poet I mentor, Cian Ferriter, who has just won the Munster Fool for Poetry chapbook competition. His pamphlet Earth’s Dark Chute will launch in May at Cork Poetry Festival. I can’t recommend Cian’s work enough. This is much deserved!

It’s January!

Greetings 2022! Hurray for the return of lighter days! Just a few little things to post. Delighted to have a poem in the coming NeurodiVERSE Anthology with Flapjack Press edited by Jaine Booth, Kate Fox and Rob Steventon. I’ve also just had some other lovely news but that won’t be announced for a while so I’ll have to sit on it for a bit!

And I’m running Ode to the Ode Poem poetry workshop with the wonderful Vanessa Lampert on 6th Feb (open to young and emerging writers aged 15 to 30). I’m opening our usual Hive Poetry Collective up for the session should you know anyone interested. Details on the link!

2021 signing off…

I can’t believe it’s coming to the end of 2021 already! Where has this year gone? I’m feeling this more than ever this year. It’s been blink-of-an-eye quick. A few lovely happenings to end the year on. I was delighted to co-host the first of three Poetry Wales readings/festive gathering with Zoe Brigley on 9th. Such wonderful readings and poems. I’m just tuning into the final one as I type.

I also enjoyed delivering a creative careers session for Sheffield Hallam University students on the BA in Writing. I gave a potted history of my creative journey and then tips and thoughts on becoming a freelancer.  It always surprises me when I take time to digest the journey that’s brought me to where I am now. It was nice to feel like I actually had some tips to give! I also ran through my 12 tips for working in the arts from my Young Poet’s Network creative careers piece which can be read here.

Anyway, I leave this year remembering my biggest highlight – being a winner of the Munster Fool for Poetry International Pamphlet competition for my chapbook If All This Never Happened. All best to everyone and here’s to hoping for a very good year all round for us all in 2022!