2021 Authors and Artists

Thursday April 15th

Jonothan Edwards holding a book, performing a reading.

Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards’s first collection, My Family and Other Superheroes (Seren, 2014) received the Costa Poetry Award and the Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice Award, and was shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. His second collection, Gen (Seren, 2018), also received the Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice Award, and in 2019 his poem about Newport Bridge was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. He lives in Crosskeys, South Wales, and is Editor of Poetry Wales.

Jonathan Edwards features in The Wild: Writing about Animals.

Paul Henry looking away from the camera, smiling.

Paul Henry

Paul Henry’s Seren books include The Brittle Sea: New & Selected Poems, Boy Running (shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year) and Ingrid’s Husband. Originally a songwriter, he’s performed his poems and songs at festivals in Europe, Asia and the USA. Paul has guest-edited Poetry Wales and presented arts programmes for BBC Radio Wales, Radio 3 and Radio 4. Born in Aberystwyth, he now lives in Powys. His forthcoming collection, The Boys in the Branches, will be published by Seren in 2022. 

Paul Henry features in Cave Songs.

Brian Briggs holding a guitar, smiling.

Brian Briggs

Brian Briggs is the singer/songwriter for the band Stornoway.  Stornoway were the first unsigned band to appear on Later… With Jools Holland and have subsequently toured worldwide and enjoyed main stage appearances at festivals including Glastonbury, Latitude and Isle of Wight. Stornoway’s three acclaimed albums and three EPs combine Brian’s two great passions of music and nature and their most recent, 2015’s Bonxie, entered the UK Charts inside the Top 20 and featured the songs of twenty different species of birds.

 “Stornoway’s best work yet: big music, which deserves the largest stage” – 5/5 The Guardian (on Bonxie)

Brian Briggs features in Cave Songs.

M. Wynn Thomas speaking on stage.

M. Wynn Thomas

M. Wynn Thomas is Professor of English and Emyr Humphreys Chair of Welsh Writing in English, Swansea University. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, was founding Vice-President of the Learned Society of Wales and sometime Visiting Professor at Harvard University, and is currently Chair of the Welsh Books Council. Of the more than two dozen books on American poetry and the literatures of Wales that he has published, All That is Wales won a Wales Book of the Year Prize in 2018, and his latest publication is Eutopia: Studies in Cultural Euro-Welshness, 1850-1980.

M. Wynn Thomas features in the Meic Stephens Lecture:
A History of Wales in 12 Poems
.

Gwyneth Lewis smiling at the camera.

Gwyneth Lewis

Gwyneth Lewis was Wales’s National Poet from 2005-06. She wrote the six-foot high words on the front of the Wales Millennium Centre, now an icon for Wales. She’s published nine books of poetry in Welsh and English and two of non-fiction. Her most recent publication is a translation, with Rowan Williams, of The Book of Taliesin (Penguin Classics, 2019). She’s freelance and has written plays for stage and radio. Her first television screenplay won the BAFTA Wales Best Drama Award. She’s a faculty member of the Bread Loaf School of English in Middlebury, Vermont, where she was 2016 Robert Frost Chair of Literature.

Gwyneth Lewis features in the Meic Stephens Lecture:
A History of Wales in 12 Poems
.

Cathryn McShane-Kouyaté

Cathryn McShane-Kouyaté is a British Sign Language/ Welsh/English interpreter with 15 years experience of working in a wide range of settings including theatre, education, and community work.  In the last year Cathryn has become a familiar face from her interpreting work for the Welsh Government and the regular COVID-19 ministerial press briefings broadcast live across news channels in Wales.

Zoe Brigley smiling, sitting with arms crossed in front of a blue shaded screen.

Zoë Brigley

Zoë Brigley has three PBS recommended poetry collections:  The Secret (2007),  Conquest  (2012), and  Hand & Skull (2019) (all published by Bloodaxe). She also published the nonfiction essays  Notes from a Swing State(Parthian 2019) and  recently published a poetry chapbook,  Aubade After A French Movie  (Broken Sleep 2020). In 2021, she will publish a poetry chapbook,  Into Eros, with Verve Press. She runs an anti-violence advocacy podcast: Sinister Myth: How Stories We Tell Perpetuate Violence.  She won an Eric Gregory Award for the best British poets under 30, was Forward Prize commended, and listed in the Dylan Thomas Prize. She is co-editor (with Kristian Evans) of the forthcoming anthology 100 Poems to Save the Earth,  and she is lead editor of the volume in development  The Bloomsbury Companion to Contemporary Poetry in Ireland and the UK.  She is Assistant Professor in English at the Ohio State University. 

Zoë Brigley features in Love in the Time of Covid 19.

Kristian Evans looking into the camera - black & white.

Kristian Evans

Kristian Evans is a poet and editor from Kenfig in south Wales, interested in deep ecology, animism and the history of magic.  He has written several texts for performance and a chapbook of poems, Unleaving (HappenStance 
2015). He writes the column A Kenfig Journal for the environmental charity Sustainable Wales and is co-editor with Zoё  Brigley of the forthcoming anthology 100 Poems to Save the Planet (Seren). Otherworlds a chapbook of essays (with Zoё  Brigley) will be published by Broken Sleep in 2021. He is also a practising traditional astrologer. 

Kristian Evans features in Love in the Time of Covid 19.

Rob Mackenzie sitting in a half shadow looking up, away from the camera.

Rob A. Mackenzie

Rob A. Mackenzie is a Glaswegian poet, reviewer and occasional translator who lives in Leith. He is reviews editor for Magma Poetry magazine and runs literary publisher, Blue Diode Press. His work has appeared in Ambit, The Dark Horse, Financial Times, Finished Creatures, The Guardian, New Welsh Review, Poetry London, Shearsman etc. He has read and taken part in events at the StAnza International Poetry Festival, 
Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, and the Poetry on the Lake Festival (Orta, Italy). His poetry collections are The Opposite of Cabbage  (2009),  The Good News  (2013) and  The Book of Revelation  (2020), all published by Salt. 

Rob A. Mackenzie features in Love in the Time of Covid-19.

Jenny Mitchell smiling into the camera.

Jenny Mitchell

Jenny Mitchell is winner of the Folklore Poetry Prize 2020, the Aryamati Prize, the Segora Prize, a Bread and Roses Poetry Award, the Fosseway Prize; and joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize 2019. Her poems have been published in The Rialto, Under the Radar, The Interpreter’s House etc; and a debut collection, Her Lost Language (Indigo Dreams Publishing) is one of 44 Poetry Books for 2019 (Poetry Wales); and a Jhalak Prize #bookwelove. A forthcoming collection, Map of a Plantation (IDP), will be published in April 2021. 

Jenny Mitchell features in Love in the Time of Covid 19.

Laura Wainwright smiling, looking away from the camera. Black & white.

Laura Wainwright

Laura Wainwright was born in Cardiff and grew up in  Newport, south Wales. Her poetry has been published in a range of magazines, journals and anthologies. She was awarded a Literature Wales Writer’s bursary in 2020 and has been shortlisted in the Bridport Prize poetry competition twice. Her first poetry pamphlet will be published by Green Bottle Press in 2021. She has a PhD from Cardiff University and is the author of the literary-critical book,  New Territories in Modernism: Anglophone Welsh Writing, 1930-49 (University of Wales Press). 

Laura Wainwright features in Love in the Time of Covid 19.

Ruth Awad resting her chin on her hand looking at the camera.

Ruth Awad

Ruth Awad is the Lebanese-American author of  Set to Music a Wildfire  (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2017), winner of the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize and the 2018 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. Alongside Rachel Mennies, she is the co-editor of  The Familiar Wild: On Dogs and Poetry  (Sundress Publications, 2020). She is the recipient of a 2020 and 2016 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and she won the 2013 and 2012 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the 2011 Copper Nickel Poetry Contest. Her work appears or is forthcoming in  Poetry, Poem-a-Day, The Believer, The New Republic, Pleiades, The Missouri Review, The Rumpus,  and elsewhere. She has an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and she lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio. 

Ruth Awad features in Love in the Time of Covid 19.

Seán Hewitt in a forest, looking away from the camera.

Seán Hewitt

Seán Hewitt was born in 1990. His debut collection, Tongues of Fire, is published by Jonathan Cape. He is a book critic for The Irish Times and teaches Modern British & Irish Literature at Trinity College Dublin.  He won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2016, the Resurgence Prize in 2017, and an Eric Gregory Award in 2019. In 2020, he was chosen by The Sunday Times as one of their “30 under 30” most promising artists in Ireland. His debut collection, Tongues of Fire, was shortlisted for The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, 2020.  His book J.M. Synge: Nature, Politics, Modernism is published with Oxford University Press (2021).  His memoir, All Down Darkness Wide, is forthcoming from Jonathan Cape in the UK and Penguin Press in the USA in 2022. 

Seán Hewitt features in Love in the Time of Covid 19.

So Mayer looking away from camera.

So Mayer

So Mayer is the author of  A Nazi Word for a Nazi Thing (Peninsula, 2020),  jacked a kaddish  (Litmus, 2018),  and  (O)  (Arc, 2015). They contributed to  Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, edited by Roxane Gay (Allen & Unwin, 2018),  Spells: 21st Century Occult Poetry, edited by Sarah Shin and Rebecca Tamás (Ignota,  2018), and  On Relationships  (3 of Cups, 2020). So is a bookseller at Burley Fisher, a curator with queer feminist film collective Club des Femmes, and co-founder of Raising Films, a campaign and community for parents and  carers in the film industry. Image: © SF Said, 2020.

So Mayer features in Love in the Time of Covid 19.

Karen McCarthy Woolf smiling at the camera.

Karen McCarthy Woolf

Born in London to English and Jamaican parents, Karen McCarthy Woolf’s first collection An Aviary of Small Birds was shortlisted for the Forward and Jerwood Prizes. Her second, Seasonal Disturbances is a ‘witty and nuanced’ (BBC Arts) take on nature, migration, the city and the sacred, was written in residence at the UK’s National Maritime Museum and was a winner in the inaugural Laurel Prize for Ecopoetry. She is a Fulbright postdoctoral scholar at the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA where her research focused on how poetry and law might combine to express safe spaces in complex environments.  

Karen McCarthy Woolf features in Love in the Time of Covid 19.

Friday April 16th

Tishani Doshi smiling, looking into the camera.

Tishani Doshi

Tishani Doshi is an award-winning poet, novelist and dancer. Her most recent books are  Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods,  shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Poetry Award, and a novel,  Small Days and Nights,  shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize and a New York Times Bestsellers Editor’s Choice.  A God at the Door (Bloodaxe Books), her fourth collection of poems, is forthcoming in spring 2021. 

Tishani Doshi features in Writing the Revolution & Poetry Friends with Joe Dunthorne.

Joe Dunthorne looking into the camera, dark shadowed background.

Joe Dunthorne

Joe Dunthorne was born and brought up in Swansea. His debut novel, Submarine, was translated into twenty languages and made into an award-winning film. His second novel, Wild Abandon, won the Society of Authors’ Encore Award. His latest novel is The Adulterants. His debut poetry collection, O Positive, was published by Faber and Faber in 2019. He lives in London.
Image: Tom Medwell

Joe Dunthorne features in Poetry Friends with Tishani Doshi.

Mari Ellis Dunning sitting on a beach, looking away from the camera.

Mari Ellis Dunning

Mari Ellis Dunning’s poems and short fiction can be found in recent and upcoming editions of Banshee Lit Mag, New Welsh Reader and The Lampeter Review, amongst others. Her debut poetry collection,  Salacia (Parthian), was shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year Award in 2019.  The Wrong Side of the Looking Glass was published in 2020. Mari is a PhD candidate at Aberystwyth University, where she is writing a historical novel set in 16th century Wales, exploring the relationship between accusations of witchcraft, the female body and reproduction. She lives on the west coast of Wales, in Llannon, with her husband, their newborn son and their dog. Image: Oliver Harry

Mari Ellis Dunning features in The Wrong Side of the Looking Glass.

Natalie Ann Holborow smiling into the camera.

Natalie Ann Holborow

Natalie Ann Holborow is an award-winning writer whose debut collection,  And Suddenly You Find Yourself was launched at the International Kolkata Literary Festival. She is co-editor of the  Cheval  anthology and her second book  Small was published in 2020. She is co-author of  The Wrong Side of the Looking Glass with Mari Ellis Dunning. 

Natalie Ann Holborow features in The Wrong Side of the Looking Glass.

Susie Wild

Susie Wild is author of the poetry collections  Windfalls  and  Better Houses, the short story collection  The Art of Contraception  listed for the Edge Hill Prize, and the novella  Arrivals. Her work has recently featured in Carol Ann Duffy’s pandemic project Write Where We Are Now,  The Atlanta Review,  Ink Sweat & Tears  and  Poetry Wales. She placed second in the Welshpool Poetry Festival Competition 2020, was highly commended in the Prole Laureate Prize 2020, was shortlisted for an  Ink Sweat & Tears  Pick of the Month 2020 and longlisted in the  Mslexia  Women’s Poetry Competition 2018. Born in London, she lives in Cardiff. 

Susie Wild features in The Wrong Side of the Looking Glass.

Benjamin Zephaniah in a karate pose in a red outfit, looking into the camera.

Benjamin Zephaniah

Benjamin Zephaniah was born and raised in Birmingham, England. He has always created poetry but this had nothing to do with school where poetry meant very little to him and he finished full time education at the age of 13. His poetry is strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica and what he calls ‘street politics’. His first public performance was in church when he was 10 years old and by the time he was 15 he had developed a strong following in his hometown of Handsworth where he gained a reputation as a young poet who was capable of speaking out on local and international issues. Although he loved Handsworth, calling it ‘The Jamaican capital of Europe’, he was destined to seek a wider audience, first in London, then in the rest of the world. His first book sold well, but it was in performance that the Dub (Reggae) Poet would cause a revolution, a revolution that injected new life into the British poetry scene. He has since become the most recognizable poet in Britain, appearing on film, television, at festivals and events as a poet and musician with his band who have toured the world. In one 22-day period in 1991 they performed on every continent. He has also emerged as a children’s poet and as a writer of novels for teenagers, encouraging young people to read by creating accessible writing, all the while still engaged in his music and performance projects, as well as speaking out for human and animal rights organisations.

Benjamin Zephaniah features in Desert Island Poems.

Rhian Edwards

Rhian is a multi-award winning poet. Her first collection of poems Clueless Dogs (Seren) won Wales Book of the Year 2013, the Roland Mathias Prize for Poetry 2013 and Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice 2013. It was also shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2012. Her pamphlet of poems, Parade the Fib (Tall-Lighthouse), was awarded the Poetry Book Society Choice for autumn 2008 and her most recent pamphlet Brood (Seren) 2017, was illustrated by Paul Edwards. Rhian is also a winner of the John Tripp Award for Spoken Poetry, having won both the Judges and Audience award. She was also the first Writer in Residence at Aberystwyth Arts Centre from March to June 2013. Rhian’s poems have appeared in the Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, Poetry Review, New Statesman, Spectator, Poetry London, Poetry Wales, Arete, Prague Revue, the London Magazine, Stand and Planet Magazine amongst others. Rhian is a poet and musician and has delivered over 400 stage, radio and festival performances world-wide. She lives in South Wales with her daughter. Her eagerly awaited second collection The Estate Agent’s Daughter 2020 is available now.

Rhian Edwards features in Desert island Poems and the Seren Showcase & Open Mic.

Grace Nichols looking away form the camera, smiling.

Grace Nichols

Born in Guyana, Grace Nichols has lived in Britain since 1977. Her first collection, I is a Long Memoried Woman (1983) won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize. Her later poetry collections: Published by Virago, include The Fat Black Woman’s Poems (1984), Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Woman (1989), Sunris (1996), winner of the Guyana Prize, and Startling the Flying Fish (2006), poems which tell the story of the Caribbean, along with several poetry books for younger readers, including Come on into My Tropical Garden (1988), Give Yourself a Hug (1994), Everybody Got a Gift (2005) and Cosmic Disco (2013). She has published four books with Bloodaxe, Picasso, I Want My Face Back (2009), I Have Crossed an Ocean: Selected Poems (2010), The Insomnia Poems (2017), and Passport to Here and There (2020) a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. She lives in Sussex with the poet John Agardand their family. She was made a Vice-President of the Royal Society of Literature in 2020. Image: Mike Park

Grace Nichols features in Desert island Poems.

Kid Anansi performing on stage, smiling.

Kid Anansi

Kid Anansi is the poetic equivalent of finding out that the drinks machine in your local McDonalds has quietly replaced its Pepsi button with spiced rum. He is confusing, frightening, delicious with ginger beer and lemon, and unhealthy in large doses. His unique brand of poetry will either make you laugh, cry, bite your knuckles in second-hand embarrassment, or all three. He has hosted and featured at poetry nights all over London and Portsmouth, performed on TV for Sky Arts’ Life & Rhymes and… *checks notes* Apparently, he also makes a mean veggie lasagne.
Image: Cathal Moran

Kid Anansi features in Desert island Poems.

Liz Berry performing on stage, smiling.

Liz Berry

Liz Berry’s first book of poems, Black Country (Chatto 2014), described as a ‘sooty, soaring hymn to her native West Midlands’ (Guardian) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, received a Somerset Maugham Award and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award and Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2014. Her pamphlet The Republic of Motherhood (Chatto, 2018) was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice and the title poem won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2018. A new book of Liz’s collaboration with photographer Tom Hicks will be published by Hercules Editions later this year. Image: Thom Bartley

Liz Berry features in Desert island Poems.

Mary Jean Chang smiling, looking towards the floor away from the camera. Out of focus background.

Mary Jean Chang

Mary Jean Chan is the author of Flèche, published by Faber (2019). Flèche won the Costa Book Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize, the Jhalak Prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Poetry Prize. Chan’s writings have featured in The Guardian, The New Statesman, The New Republic, The Telegraph, The White Review and The Poetry Review. Chan won the 2018 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem twice, receiving an Eric Gregory Award in 2019. In Spring 2020, Chan was guest co-editor at The Poetry Review. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Chan is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University and lives in London. Image: Adrian Pope

Mary Jean Chang features in Desert island Poems.

Jannat Ahmed

Jannat Ahmed was born and grew up in Barry, Wales and is co-founder and editor-in-chief at Lucent Dreaming, independent magazine for writing and art. She graduated with a master’s degree in English Literature from Cardiff University and is better known as Subscriptions and Marketing Officer at Poetry Wales where she introduced, and now manages, Wales Poetry Award and Wales Young Poets Award/Gwobr Beirdd Ifanc Cymru. She has previously performed at Where I’m Coming From as a featured artist.

Jannat Ahmed features in the Poetry Wales Party.

Alan Gillis looking away form the camera, trees behind him.

Alan Gillis

Alan Gillis is from Belfast and now lives in Scotland, where he teaches English at The University of Edinburgh. His most recent poetry collection The Readiness (2020) was published by Picador in 2020, following four collections with The Gallery Press: Scapegoat (2014), Here Comes the Night (2010), Hawks and Doves (2007) and Somebody, Somewhere (2004), which won the Strong Award for Best First Collection in Ireland. He has been shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot prize, the Irish Times Poetry Now Award, and he was selected as a ‘Next Generation Poet’ by the Poetry Book Society in 2014. Image: Donna Green

Alan Gillis features in the Poetry Wales Party.

Amanda Rackstraw

Amanda Rackstraw started out as a RADA trained actor. After she moved to Wales, she continued to work as a performer and storyteller, combining this with a second degree and MA at Cardiff University where she taught creative writing until 2017. She has been published in Mslexia, Planet, New Welsh Review, Acumen and Poetry Wales and longlisted for the last four years for the National Poetry Prize; also shortlisted for the Bridport. Amanda has found inspiration walking the coastline near to where she lives; there’s a short poem of hers on a sculpture outside the walled garden in Dunraven Bay.

Amanda Rackstraw features in the Poetry Wales Party.

David Clarke

David Clarke is the author of two poetry pamphlets (Gaud, Michael Marks Award Winner 2013; Scare Stories, a Poetry School ‘Book of the Year’ in 2017) and two full collections (Arc, longlisted for the Polari Prize 2016; The Europeans, 2019). His work has also appeared in journals including Magma, Poetry Wales, Long Poem Magazine, and Under the Radar. Image: Helen Dewbery

David Clarke features in the Poetry Wales Party.

Jessica Mookherjee smiling, looking up and away from the camera.

Jessica Mookherjee

Jessica is of Bengali origin, grew up in Wales and now lives in Kent. Her work appears in many journals including Agenda, Poetry Wales, The North, Rialto, Under the Radar, Birmingham Literary Review and in various anthologies including the forthcoming Bloodaxe’s Staying Human. Her pamphlets are The Swell (Telltale Press 2016) and Joyride (BLER Press 2017). She was highly commended in the 2017 Forward Prize. Her first collection, Flood, was published by Cultured Llama in 2018 and her second, Tigress, by Nine Arches Press in 2019. She is joint editor of Against the Grain Poetry Press.

Jessica Mookherjee features in the Poetry Wales Party.

Merrie Joy Williams looking into the camera, grass in the background.

Merrie Joy Williams

Merrie Joy Williams is a poet, novelist, editor, and educator, who is a winner of the Poetry Archive’s Wordview 2020 competition. She is the recipient of a London Writers Award, an Arts Council England award, an Obsidian Foundation fellowship, and was shortlisted for the 2020 Bridport Prize. Merrie’s work has featured in Poetry Wales, The Interpreter’s House, and The Good Journal, amongst others. Her debut collection is Open Windows (Waterloo Press). Magma has described the collection as “generous and openhearted… poems for the stage as well as the page”, and Williams as “a poet to watch and listen out for”.

Merrie Joy Williams features in the Poetry Wales Party.

Samantha Rhydderch sat at her desk, turning back to smile at the camera.

Samantha
Wynne-Rhydderch

Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch is a poet whose publications have been shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year (Not in These Shoes, Picador 2008), the Roland Mathias Prize (Banjo, Picador 2012) and the Michael Marks Award (Lime & Winter, Rack 2014). In 2015 Samantha won an Arts Council Creative Wales Award to write the performance piece Tango in Stanzas. In 2019 she was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Samantha runs a writers’ retreat on the Wales Coastal Path (writebythecoast.co.uk) and is currently working on a new collection.

Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch features in the Poetry Wales Party.

Saturday April 17th

Alex Wharton smiling at the camera, arms folded.

Alex Wharton

Alex Wharton is an award-winning writer and performer of poetry. In 2020, he won The Wales Rising Stars Award launched by Literature Wales and Firefly Press. He has been published in The CaterpillarNational Literacy trustThe Outposted ProjectWales Haiku JournalHedgerow and The Reading Realm. Alex has tutored for Ty Newydd Writing Centre and wrote a commissioned poem for the Future Leaders of Wales Graduation Ceremony. His debut collection of children’s poems  Daydreams and Jellybeans  was published in January 2021.  Alex presents writing workshops and enjoys visiting schools nationwide to perform and create poetry. Image: Jake Cox

Alex Wharton features in Daydreams and Jellybeans.

Christina Thatcher smiling at the camera, blue background.

Christina Thatcher

Christina Thatcher trained as a secondary school teacher in America and now works as a Creative Writing Lecturer in Wales at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She keeps busy off campus as Poetry Editor for  The Cardiff Review, a tutor for The Poetry School, a member of the Literature Wales Management Board and as a freelance workshop facilitator across the UK. She has published two poetry collections with Parthian Books: More than you were (2017) and How to Carry Fire (2020).

Christina Thatcher features in How to teach Poetry.

Cyril Jones smiling at the camera, trees behind him.

Cyril Jones

Cyril Jones is a Welsh language poet who writes strict and free metre poems. Since moving to work in south Wales in 2001 he has collaborated with artists, an archaeologist, and other poets. During recent collaborations with artists and an archaeologist – and the present project with Philip Gross and Valerie Price – he has also adapted and composed poems in English. The early influence of Welsh language strict metre poetry has also inspired him to experiment with poetic metres and forms. 

Hud Afon Arth and Ysbryd Ystrad Fflur – his recent artist/archaeologist collaborations on the river Arth and Strata Florida – are available from Gwasg Gwynfil, Tregaron. He has also written Dysgu Trwy Lenyddiaeth (WJEC) a book on Welsh language literature suitable for learners of the Welsh language.

Mae Cyril Jonesyn ysgrifennu yn Gymraeg yn bennaf trwy gyfrwng y mesurau caeth a rhydd. Ers symud i dde Cymru yn 2001 cydweithiodd ag arlunwyr, archaeolegydd a beirdd eraill. Yn ystod y cyfnod hwnnw o gydweithio a’r cyfnod presennol gyda Philip Gross a Valerie Price bu hefyd yn addasu a chyfansoddi cerddi Saesneg. 

Mae’r ddwy gyfrol ar y cyd ag arlunydd ac archaeolegydd – Hud Afon Arth ac Ysbryd Ystrad Fflur – wedi’u cyhoeddi gan Wasg Gwynfil, Tregaron. Ef hefyd yw awdur Dysgu Trwy Lenyddiaeth (CBAC), llyfr i gyflwyno llenyddiaeth Gymraeg i ddysgwyr yr iaith.

Cyril Jones features in TROEON : TURNINGS.

Philip Gross

Philip Gross  lives in South Wales and has published some twenty collections of poetry,  including  The Water Table which won  the T.S. Eliot Prize and, most recently, Between the Islands (both Bloodaxe).  He received  a Cholmondeley Award in 2017, and his science-based collection for young people,  Dark Sky Park  (Otter-Barry Books) was shortlisted for the CLiPPA award, 2019.  He is a keen collaborator – e.g. with artist Valerie Coffin Price on  A Fold In The River(Seren) and with poet Lesley Saunders on  A Part of the Main  (Mulfran).  

At the Cardiff Poetry festival he will help present Troeon : Turnings a collaborative book/project: a creative conversation with the Welsh poet Cyril Jones and fine artist Valerie Coffin Price. (Seren) 

Mae Philip Gross yn fardd, libretydd ac yn ysgrifennu ar 
gyfer pobl ifanc.  Bu’n byw yn ne Cymru ers 2004 ac mae’n 
gydweithredwr brwd â beirdd eraill ac ar draws gwahanol  ffurfiau celfyddydol. 

Philip Gross features in TROEON : TURNINGS.

Valerie Coffin Price

Valerie Coffin Price is a Welsh artist-letterer, whose work responds creatively to the language of poetry and place.  She trained at Chelsea School of Art and the City & Guilds Art School in London.  Her work has been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally, recent solo exhibitions include  Berlin Water  (2020),  The River Next Door  (2015),  Intimate Cartographies  (2011),  Distant Voices  (2007) and  Territories  (2003).  Her work responding to wild and remote landscapes has taken her as far afield as Russia (1990), Québec (1998, 2002, 2003) and Cambodia (2005), but always comes back to a close and intimate relationship to river and border landscapes in Wales and along the English border.  She collaborated with poet Philip Gross to produce  A Fold in the River  and with Gross and the English poet Lesley Saunders, has created the book design for  A Part of  the Main,  Mulfran Press (2018). 

Valerie Coffin Price features in TROEON : TURNINGS.

Angela Graham

Angela Graham is a BAFTA  Cymru-winning film-maker and journalist. She has produced programmes for BBC, ITV, S4C and Channel 4  and was Development Producer of  The Story of Wales.  She produced and co-wrote the Oscar entrant cinema feature  Branwen  (6 BAFTA Cymru nominations and Best Film at the Celtic Media Festival), and was a screenwriter on drama projects set in Italy, Romania and Ireland. She began her career in ITV, and spent eight years as a producer at one of Britain’s rare production co-operatives, Teliesyn. She turned to writing full time in 2017. Her poetry has appeared in  The North,  The Honest Ulsterman,  Poetry Wales,  The Ogham Stone,  The Open Ear,  The Interpreter’s House  and other journals. An award-winning short story writer, she was nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2019. She is currently finishing a novel and engaged in a prose/poetry project on Place and Displacement in the context of urban violence. Her debut collection of short stories  A City Burning (Seren)  is available now. Image: Natasha Hirst

Angela Graham features in Wild Swimming.

Elizabeth-Jane Burnett smiling at the camera, a blurred hillside behind her.

Elizabeth-Jane Burnett

Elizabeth-Jane Burnett is an author, academic and founder of Grow Your Own Creativity. A writer of English and Kenyan heritage, she was born in Devon and her work is inspired by the natural world. Publications include the poetry collections  Of Sea  (Penned, 2021) and  Swims  (Penned, 2017), monograph  A Social Biography of Contemporary Innovative Poetry Communities: The Gift, the Wager and Poethics(Palgrave, 2017)  and nature writing memoir  The Grassling  (Penguin, 2019). She leads the BA/Leverhulme project,  Creative Writing and Climate Change: Moss, Wetlands and Women, is a nature diarist for  Oh  magazine and  The Guardian  and Associate Professor in Creative Writing at Northumbria University. 
Image: Graham Shackleton

Elizabeth-Jane Burnett features in Wild Swimming.

Katrina Naomi smiling at the camera.

Katrina Naomi

Katrina Naomi received an Authors’ Foundation award from the Society of Authors for her third full collection, 
Wild Persistence, (Seren, 2020). Her poetry has appeared on Radio 4’s Front Row and Poetry Please, and on Poems on the Underground. Katrina has published four pamphlets of poetry, including the Japan-themed Typhoon Etiquette 
(Verve Poetry Press, 2019). She was the first poet-in-residence at the Brontë Parsonage Museum and was highly commended in the 2017 Forward Prize for Poetry. Katrina has a PhD in creative writing (Goldsmiths) and tutors for Arvon, Tŷ Newydd and the Poetry School. She lives in Cornwall. Image: Tim Ridley

Katrina Naomi features in Wild Swimming and is teaching the workshop Rewilding Poetry.

Polly Atkin

Polly Atkin lives in Cumbria. Her first collection Basic Nest Architecture  (Seren: 2017) is followed by a third pamphlet,  With Invisible Rain  (New Walk: 2018).  Her second collection  Much With Body, will be published by Seren in Autumn 2021, supported by a 2020 Northern Writers Award.  She is working on  a memoir exploring place, belonging and disability, and a biography focusing on Dorothy Wordsworth’s later life (forthcoming in late 2021).  With Kate Davis and Anita Sethi she co-founded the  Open Mountain  initiative at Kendal Mountain Festival, which seeks to centre voices that are currently at the margins of outdoor, mountain and nature writing. 

Polly Atkin features in Wild Swimming.

Mereid Hopwood

Enillodd Mererid Gadair, Coron a Medal Ryddiaith yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol. Enillodd ei chasgliad o gerddi, Nes Draw, wobr barddoniaeth Llyfr y Flwyddyn (2016). Bu’n fardd plant Cymru ac enillodd wobr Tir na n’Og am ysgrifennu i blant yn 2018. Mae Mererid wedi cyfansoddi geiriau ar gyfer cerddorion, artistiaid gweledol a dawnswyr, ac wedi cymryd rhan mewn gwyliau llenyddol yn Ewrop, Asia a De America. Mae’n Gymrawd y Gymdeithas Ddysgedig, yn ysgrifennydd Academi Heddwch Cymru ac yn llywydd anrhydeddus Cymdeithas Waldo Williams. Hi yw Cymrawd Rhyngwladol Gŵyl y Gelli eleni.

Mererid has won the Chair and Crown for poetry at the National Eisteddfod and the national Prose Medal. Her collection of poems, Nes Draw, won the Welsh language Book of the Year award for poetry in 2016. She has been Children Laureate for Wales and is winner of the Tir na 
n’Og prize for children’s writing, 2018. Mererid has written for collaborations with musicians, visual artists and dancers and has taken part in literature festivals in Europe, Asia and South America. She is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, secretary of Academi Heddwch Cymru and honorary president of the Waldo Williams Society. She is this year’s Hay Festival International Fellow. 

Mereid Hopwood features in Ceisio’r Neuadd Fawr:
Seeking the Large Hall
.

Menna Elfyn

Menna Elfyn – mae’n fardd arobryn sydd wedi cyhoeddi 
pedair ar ddeg cyfrol o farddoniaeth gyda Gwasg Gomer a Bloodaxe Books. Cyfieithwyd ei gwaith i ddeunaw iaith  ac yn 2021, bydd Bondo (Bloodaxe Books, 2017) yn 
ymddangos yn Sbaeneg ac Eidaleg. Dewiswyd Murmur  (Bloodaxe Books, 2012) fel y cyfieithiad a 
gymeradwyodd y Poetry Book Society a’r cyntaf yn 
Gymraeg a Saesneg i gael ei ddewis. Ysgrifennodd libretti ar gyfer cyfansoddwyr yng ngwledydd Prydain ac yn yr 
Unol Daleithiau, a pherfformiwyd Garden of Light
symffoni gorawl gan Gerddorfa Ffilharmonig Efrog  Newydd yn 1999 fel rhan o ddathliadau y Mileniwm a  gomisiynwyd gan  Gorfforaeth Disney. Cyhoeddodd  Cennad (Barddas, 2017) gan olrhain ei siwrne llenyddol i  
Wyliau  a phreswylfeydd ar draws y byd. Ysgrifennodd 
nifer o ddramâu llwyfan, radio a theledu yn ogystal 
â rhai dogfennol.  

Mae’n Athro Emerita ym Mhrifysgol Cymru, y Drindod 
Dewi Sant; yn Gymrawd y Gymdeithas Lenyddol Frenhinol; Y Gronfa Lenyddol Frenhinol, a’r Gymdeithas Ddysgedig  yng Nghymru. Bu’n Fardd Plant Cymru, ac mae’n Llywydd  Wales PEN Cymru. Mae’n golofnydd gyda’r Western Mail ers 1995. 

Menna Elfyn is an award winning poet and has published fourteen collections of poetry with Gomer Press and 
Bloodaxe Books. Her work has been translated into eighteen languages and in 2021, Bondo (Bloodaxe Books, 2017) will appear in Spanish and Italian. Murmur 
(Bloodaxe Books, 2012) was selected as Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation, the first book in Welsh/ English to be chosen. She has written libretti for UK and US composers, and a Choral Symphony, Garden of Light was performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Millennium celebrations in 1999 commissioned by Disney Corporation. Her literary memoir Cennad (Barddas, 2017) traces her literary journey to festivals and residences across the globe. She has also written numerous plays for stage, radio and television as well as documentaries. 

She is Professor Emeritus at University of Wales, Trinity Saint David; a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature; 
Royal Literary Fund Fellow and Learned Society of Wales Fellow. A former Children Laureate for Wales, she is Honorary President of Wales PEN Cymru and columnist with the Western Mail since 1995. 

Menna Elfyn features in Ceisio’r Neuadd Fawr:
Seeking the Large Hall
.

Christopher Harris

Gwneuthurwr theatr o ardal Cwmbrân yn ne Cymru yw  Chris Harris. Mae’n gweithio trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg 
a’r Saesneg ac mae wedi gweithio gyda’r cwmnïau  canlynol yn y gorffennol: Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Dutch National Opera, Ensemble Modern, Theatr y Sherman, National Theatre Wales, Cwmni Theatr 
Arad Goch, Opera’r Ddraig ac Canolfan y Celfyddydau  Aberystwyth. Ar hyn o bryd, mae’n gweithio ar nifer o  brosiectau annibynnol ar ledled Cymru, gyda’r obaith mae coesau ganddyn nhw. 

Chris is a Welsh theatre-maker and has worked with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Theatrau Sir Gar, Cwmni Theatr Arad Goch, Dutch National Opera, Ensemble Modern, Sherman Theatre, National Theatre Wales, Opera’r Ddraig and Aberystwyth Arts Centre. He is currently working on many new ideas with artists and companies across Wales in the hope they have some legs.

Christopher Harris features in Ceisio’r Neuadd Fawr:
Seeking the Large Hall
.

Lynwen Davies (Simultaneous interpreter)

Mae gan Lynwen ugain mlynedd a mwy o brofiad yn cyfieithu ar y pryd, a hynny mewn amrywiaeth o feysydd yn cynnwys addysg, amaeth, llywodraeth leol, y celfyddydau a’r gwasanaeth llysoedd, i enwi rai. Mae hefyd yn Ddarlithydd Cysylltiol gyda Phrifysgol Cymru y Drindod Dewi Sant ac yn cyfrannu i’w Cwrs Ôl-radd mewn Cyfieithu ar y pryd, a hefyd yn ddiweddar bu’n gyfrifol am greu Llwyfan Cyfieithu ar y pryd i’r proffesiwn trwy nawdd Llywodraeth Cymru.

Mae’n byw ar fferm yn Sir Gâr, gyda’i gŵr a dau o blant Cai a Miri. 

Lynwen has more than twenty years experience of simultaneous interpretation, in a variety of areas including education, agriculture, local government, the arts and courts service, to name a few. She is also Associate Lecturer with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David teaching on their Postgraduate Course in Simultaneous Interpretation, and also more recently was responsible for creating a training Platform for Interpreters funded by Welsh Government. She lives on a farm in Carmarthenshire, with her husband and children Cai and Miri.

Lynwen Davies features in Ceisio’r Neuadd Fawr:
Seeking the Large Hall
.

Dai George

Dai George is a poet, novelist and critic from Cardiff, now living in London. His first poetry collection was The Claims Office (Seren, 2013), and his next one, titled Karaoke King, will be published by Seren in June 2021. His work has appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, including Poetry Review, Poetry Wales and Islands Are But Mountains: New Poetry from the United Kingdom. He works as reviews editor for Poetry London, and his first novel, The Counterplot, is available as an Audible Original. Image: Peter Keeble 

Dai George features in Letters To America.

Fred D’Aguiar

In Letters to America the Guyanese-British poet, novelist and playwright Fred D’Aguiar has some difficult things to say. The twenty-two poems are full of lived tales and memories – of Britain, the Caribbean and the United States -and of specific and shared memory. He supplies some of the difficult detail he has omitted from earlier poems. The modern mid-city Los Angeles sun-rise we experience is a cacophony, violent and memorable music rendered in prose. The poems weave in and out of familiar forms, including terza rima, casting and breaking spells. There is peril at every turn, and opportunity.

Fred D’Aguiar is now Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles, a wry perspective from which to survey a nation enduring a dismal present, and also the years that shaped him. It is the variety of lives, his own among them, that provide the changing illumination of his writing, and he has developed a mimetic language that takes its bearings from Derek Walcott and from Kamau Brathwaite whose ‘Barbados shines/Back at Africa’. Like his chosen forebears, he risks longer forms as well as lyrics, most notably in the fragmented Burning Paradise, in Call & Response, an impassioned exchange with Martin Luther King, and in the extended title poem. Image: Debbie Dalton 

Fred D’Aguiar features in Letters To America.

Cerys Matthews

Best-selling author, award winning DJ and multi-million selling musician Cerys Matthews  presented  BBC 2’s My Life in Verse  in 2007  and  regularly reads poems and excerpts on her 6 music show, mixing them  with contemporary music live on air. Cerys released the official National Poetry Day anthology Tell Me The Truth About Life with Michael  O’Mara books in 2019, was a judge for the Forward Prizes for Poetry and the Dylan Thomas Prize,   is Vice President for Hay Festival of Literature and Art, an artistic advisor for MIF (Manchester International Festival), and patron of the Dylan Thomas Society and Ballet Cymru. She supports the work of Poet in the City, Foyle Young Poet of the Year Award and other literary organisations.   Cerys founded a culture and food festival, The Good Life Experience, in 2013. 

At the 2021 Cardiff Poetry Festival, she presents her new project We Come From the Sun: an album of original music with Joe Acheson’s Hidden Orchestra, featuring poems from some of the UK’s best poets.
Image: Rhys Frampton 

Cerys Matthews features in We Come From The Sun.

Belinda Zhawi

Belinda Zhawi is a Zimbabwean literary & sound artist. She is the author of Small Inheritances (ignition press, 2018), co-founder of literary arts platform BORN::FREE & experiments with sound as MA.MOYO. Belinda’s work has been broadcast & published on various platforms including The White Review, NTS Live, Boiler Room & BBC Radio.  Image: Sylvia Suli

Belinda Zhawi features in We Come From The Sun.

Kim Moore

Kim Moore  lives and works in Cumbria. Her first full length collection  ‘The Art of Falling  was published by Seren in April 2015 and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. She won a New Writing North Award in 2014, an Eric Gregory Award in 2011 and the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2012. Kim will be judging the 2018 National Poetry Competition, along with Kei Miller and Mark Waldron. Her first pamphlet  ‘If We Could Speak Like Wolves’ was a winner in The Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition, judged by Carol Ann Duffy.  ‘If We Could Speak Like Wolves’  was chosen as an Independent Book of the Year in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Pamphlet Award and the Lakeland Book of the Year Award. Her forthcoming (Oct 2021) title is All the Men I Never Married (Seren).

Kim Moore features in We Come From The Sun and the Seren Showcase & Open Mic.

Raymond Antrobus

Raymond Antrobus was born in London to an English mother and Jamaican father. He is author of poetry collections, ‘To Sweeten Bitter‘ (Out-Spoken Press), ‘The Perseverance  (Penned In The Margins) and ‘All The Names Given‘ (Picador) as well as children’s picturebook  ’Can Bears Ski?‘. In 2019 he was a recipient of the Ted Hughes Award and won the Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award, and became the first poet to be awarded the  Rathbone Folio Prize. 

Raymond Antrobus features in We Come From The Sun.

Adnan al-Sayegh 

Adnan al-Sayegh, born in Al-Kufa in 1955, is one of the most original voices from the generation of Iraqi poets known as the Eighties Movement. His poetry carries an intense passion for freedom, love and beauty. Adnan uses his words as a weapon to denounce the devastation of war and the horrors of dictatorship. He left his homeland in 1993, lived in Amman and Beirut then took refuge in Sweden in 1996. Since 2004 he has been living in exile in London. His work has been described as politically charged, hard-hitting, thought-provoking, passionate, outspoken and incredibly moving, all of which qualities can be found in his magnum opus, the 550- page epic poem, Uruk’s Anthem. Adnan is a member of the Iraqi and  Arab Writers Unions, the Iraqi and Arab Journalists Unions, the International Journalist Organization, the Swedish Writers Union, the Swedish Pen Club, and English PEN and Exiled Writers Ink. He has received several international awards; among them, the Hellman-Hammet International Poetry Award (New York 1996), the Rotterdam International Poetry Award (1997) and the Swedish Writers Association Award (2005), and has  been invited to read  his poems in many festivals across the world. He has published 11 books of poetry in Arabic and had 13 books of his work published in translation. As well as English, his work has been translated into French, Italian, Swedish, Spanish, Norwegian, Romanian, German, Danish, Persian, Chinese and Kurdish. Image: Sufyan Al-Khazraji 

Adnan al-Sayegh features in Let Me Tell You What I Saw.

Jenny Lewis 

Jenny Lewis is a poet, playwright, translator and songwriter who teaches poetry at Oxford University. Her father was born in Blaenclyddach and she comes from a long line of Welsh miners who worked at Trehafod colliery in the Rhondda. She has published four full collections of poetry and two chapbooks in English and Arabic with Adnan al-Sayegh (Mulfran Press, 2013/14) as part of the award-winning, Arts Council-funded ‘Writing Mesopotamia’ project which aims to build bridges and foster friendships between English and Arabic-speaking communities.  Her re-imagining of the Gilgamesh epic, Gilgamesh Retold, published by Carcanet in October 2018, was a New Statesman Book of the Year, a Carcanet Book of the Year and a London Review of Books ‘Book of the Week’ on publication. She is currently completing a PhD on Gilgamesh at Goldsmiths, London University.

Jenny Lewis features in Let Me Tell You What I Saw.

Christopher Meredith smiling, looking downwards.

Christopher Meredith

Widely acknowledged as one of the best writers of his generation in Wales, Christopher Meredith is the award-winning author of five novels and four collections of poetry and also translates Welsh to English. Prizes include an Eric Gregory Award, the Arts Council of Wales Young Writer Prize and the Fiction Prize for his first novel, Shifts. His second novel,  Griffri, was shortlisted for the Book of the Year Award.  His collection of poems,  The Meaning of Flight, was longlisted for The Book of the Year Award in 2006. His other novels are Sidereal Time (1998) and  The Book of Idiots  (2012). His collection of short fictions, Brief Lives, appeared in 2018. Other poetry collections include and Snaring Heaven (1990) and Air Histories (2013). His newest works are a poetry collection, Still and a novel, Please, both to be released simultaneously in April, 2021. He has given readings all over Britain and Europe as well as in Egypt, Israel/Palestine and the USA.  Born and brought up in Tredegar, he has been a steelworker, a schoolteacher and a professor of creative writing at the University of South Wales and now writes full time. He lives in Brecon.  

Christopher Meredith features in Please and Still.

Jon Gower smiling at the camera.

Jon Gower

Jon Gower is a prize-winning author with over thirty books to his name. These include The Story of Wales,  which accompanied the landmark BBC TV series and  Y Storïwr,  which won the Wales Book of the Year.  His volume  An Island Called Smith,  about a disappearing island in Chesapeake Bay was awarded the John Morgan Travel Writing Prize. Recent publications include studies of the radical film-maker Karl Francis and the visual artist John Selway as well as  Gwalia Patagonia, being an account of the Welsh settlement in Patagonia and  Wales: At Water’s Edge  about the country’s coastal path. Jon has also published five novels and five collections of short stories.  He was an inaugural Hay Festival International Fellow and has been awarded an Arts Council of Wales Prize, a Creative Wales award and won both The National Eisteddfod Short Story Prize and the Allen Raine Short Story Competition. He also writes regularly for a range of publications and presents and makes TV and radio programmes for a variety of outlets, most recently a series of essays for BBC Radio 3 about Welsh mountains. 

Jon Gower features in Please and Still.

Cath Drake smiling looking away form the camera, dark blacked out background.

Cath Drake

Australian Cath Drake’s poetry collection The Shaking City (Seren Books, 2020, highly commended in the 2020 Forward Prizes) was described by Philip Gross as ‘a guide to staying clear-eyed, combative and caring in unsettling times’. It follows Sleeping with Rivers which won the Seren/Mslexia poetry pamphlet prize and was a Poetry Book Society choice. Published in anthologies and literary journals in Ireland, US and Australia, she’s been short-listed for Manchester Poetry Prize and second in the Poetry School eco-poetry prize (now called Ginkgo).  She was an environmental writer in Australia for decade, winning journalism and communications awards and holds a post-graduate qualification in Environmental Science.

Pascale Petit smiling at the camera, trees in the background.

Pascale Petit

Pascale Petit’s eighth collection,  Tiger Girl, published by Bloodaxe in 2020, was shortlisted for the 2020  Forward Prize for Best Collection. A poem from the book, Indian Paradise Flycatcher, won the Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize. Her seventh collection  Mama Amazonica,  published in 2017, won the inaugural Laurel Prize 2020, and the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize 2018 – the first time a poetry book won this prize for a work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry best evoking the spirit of a place. Four of Pascale’s earlier collections (Seren) were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. 

‘I think this might be her best book so far because of this complexity of a family in crisis against a planet in crisis – she’s very much a poet of the environment… She has a powerful, imagistic authority over the landscape. It’s a very moving, powerful book.’ – Daljit Nagra, reviewing Tiger Girl on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row 
Image: Brian Fraser 

Pascale Petit features in Poetry Friends with Patience Agbabi.

Patience Agbabi

One of the UK’s foremost writers, Patience Agbabi has spent over 20 years celebrating the written and spoken word. Her work has appeared in anthologies, on TV and radio, The London Underground and human skin.  In 2004 she was nominated one of the UK’s ‘Next Generation Poets’. She studied English Language and Literature at Oxford University, and is a former Poet Laureate of Canterbury (2009 to 2010). The author of five books, her latest book is the novel (for middle graders) The Infinite (Canongate, 2020) and the first in the Leap Cycle series which charts the adventures of Elle, a 12 year-old girl born with the gift of travelling through time.  The book covers themes of neurodiversity, ecology and difference and Bernardine Evaristo and Philip Pullman are already fans.  The sequel, The Time-Thief, is fresh off the press in May 2021.  Her fourth poetry book, Telling Tales (Canongate, 2014)is a vivid retelling of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales for the 21st century and was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Prize for New Work in Poetry 2014 and was a Wales Book of the Year (2015).  Following a launch at Southwark Cathedral, Patience toured the book with producers Renaissance One to literary festivals and venues across the UK.  

Patience is inspired by the full spectrum of the arts. Her high-profile multimedia projects include  Metamorphosis: Titian 2012  at the National Gallery. This led to delivering public workshops in the gallery and a PSHE Creative Intervention with Year 8 pupils on the painting  Diana and Callisto.  She has participated in residencies from Eton College to Flamin’ Eight, a tattoo studio; from The Historic Dockyard at Chatham to the stately home Harewood House. There she wrote her poem ‘The Doll’s House’, shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2014. She became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2017. Image: Lyndon Douglas 

Patience Agbabi features in Poetry Friends with Pascale Petit.

Katherine Stansfield

Katherine Stansfield grew up in Cornwall and now lives in Cardiff. Her poems have appeared in  The North,  Magma,  Poetry Wales,  The Interpreter’s House,  And Other Poems,  Butcher’s Dog, and as ‘Poem of the Week’ in The Guardian. Her second collection  We Could Be Anywhere By Now  is available now; the book was supported by a bursary from Literature Wales. She teaches for the Open University and was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow. She also writes novels. Katherine was also Poet in Residence at the original Cardiff Poetry Festival venue: Cornerstones in Cardiff, and produced a pamphlet, All That Was Wood, in 2019. 

Katherine Stansfield features in Poetry Friends with Pascale Petit and Patience Agbabi.

Caroline Smith

Caroline Smith was born in Ilford, Essex and now lives in Wembley where she also works as an immigration and asylum caseworker for a London MP. Her most recent poetry book, ‘The Immigration Handbook’, published by Seren Books, was shortlisted for the 2016 Ted Hughes award. In summer 2020,  ‘The Immigration Handbook’  was translated into Italian and published as ‘Il manual dell’immigrazione’  by Edizioni dell’Asino. Caroline has been a contributor to a number of journals and anthologies including ‘Staying Alive’  published by Bloodaxe and ‘84’, published by Verve Poetry Press. She has twice been a prize winner in the Troubadour poetry competition. 

Bernard O’Donoghue said of her work: 
‘The Immigration Handbook was certainly the most moving and inspiring book of poems I read last year. It really is a major book of political poems; I find it hard to think of a comparably successful achievement in that area’. 

Caroline Smith features in The Persistence of Memory: On Isolation and Creativity.

Moniza Alvi

Moniza Alvi was born in Pakistan and grew up in Hertfordshire. She has published several collections of poetry, including  Homesick for  the  Earth(Bloodaxe 2011), versions of the French poet Jules Supervielle. Three of her books have been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize: her first  The Country at My Shoulder  (OUP 1993),  Europa (Bloodaxe 2008) and  At the Time ofPartition  (Bloodaxe 2013).   Her most recent collection is  Blackbird, Bye Bye  (Bloodaxe 2018) and a collection  Fairoz is in preparation. Moniza now lives in Norfolk where she is researching, at UEA, the life and work of Stevie Smith. Image: Bob Coe

Moniza Alvi features in The Persistence of Memory: On Isolation and Creativity.

Abeer Ameer smiling at the camera, a painting in the background.

Abeer Ameer

Abeer Ameer was born in Sunderland and grew up in Cardiff. She trained as a dentist in London and completed an MSc, developing an interest in treatment of anxious patients and mindfulness. Her poems have appeared widely in journals and anthologies including Acumen, Poetry Wales, Planet, Magma, The RialtoNew Welsh Review and Long Poem Magazine. She is a recipient of the Literature Wales Mentoring Scheme for 2020 and is a member of poetry performance group, The Spoke. She enjoys photography and painting and was the photographer for the Seren Festival 2020. Her debut poetry collection, Inhale/Exile, in which she shares stories of her Iraqi heritagewas published by Seren in February 2021.

Abeer Ameer features in the Seren Showcase & Open Mic.

Rosalind Hudis looking away from the camera.

Rosalind Hudis

Rosalind Hudis lives near Tregaron in West Wales, where she works as a freelance writer, editor, reviewer and tutor, lecturing part-time at UWTSD Lampeter as well as offering writing workshops to community groups and events. She is a former editor of The Lampeter Review. Her work has appeared widely in journals, including Poetry Wales, The Manhattan Review, and Agenda. She has published a pamphlet with Rack Press, Terra Ignota (2013) and a full collection, Tilt, with Cinnamon Press (2014) poetry from which was highly commended in the 2015 Forward prizes. Rosalind has won awards in various competitions, including the National Poetry Competition and the Poetry London Competition. She is a Hawthornden Fellow (2017) and the recipient of a Literature Wales Writers bursary in 2013 and 2018. Seren Books published her most recent collection, Restorations, in February 2021.

Rosalind Hudis features in the Seren Showcase & Open Mic.

Mir Mahfuz Ali 

Mir Mahfuz Ali was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1958. He studied in Essex and Cambridge Universities. He has worked as a model, a tandoori chef and as a dancer and actor. He is renowned for his extraordinary voice: a rich, throaty whisper brought about by a Bangladeshi policeman trying to silence the singing of anthems during an anti-war demonstration. He has given readings and performances at The Royal Opera House, BBC Newsnight Review, Radio 4, and the World Service. His debut poetry collection Midnight, Dhaka was published by Seren in 2014. He is now completing his second book. 

Mir Mahfuz Ali features in the Seren Showcase & Open Mic.

Robert Walton

Cardiff-born and bred but living in Bristol, Robert Walton’s first collection, Workings, was published by Gomer Press decades ago. After his Pighog Press chapbook, Waiting for the Wave (2012), Seren published his second collection, Sax Burglar Blues (2017) which was shortlisted by Wales Arts Review for ‘Best Book from Wales 2018’. He is a member of The Spoke poetry group: in collaboration with electro-jazz duo Eyebrow, their community project/pamphlet/CD, Track Record (Mulfran Press: 2019), won CRN’s 2020 Community Arts Award. Recently Robert has won the North American Festival of Wales Poetry Competition 2020 and been commended in the 2020 Troubadour International Poetry Competition. Currently working on his next collection alongside a non-fiction text, he teaches creative writing at Cardiff University, loves cats, follows the Bluebirds, and plays bad sax.

Robert Walton features in the Seren Showcase & Open Mic.