As of July 2010, this site is no longer being maintained. For current writLOUD information, please see the Writers' Hub.
Niki Aguirre has lived and travelled widely in the US, Latin America and Europe. She studied English Literature at the University of Illinois and holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of London. 'The Shed' is taken from her debut collection of short fiction, 29 Ways to Drown, which was published in 2007 by lubin & kleyner. She is the recipient of the Birkbeck Oustanding Achievement Award (2006) and a grant from the Arts Council of England (2007). Her stories have been featured in Tell Tales, The Mechanics' Institute Review and LITRO. She is currently working on a novel.
Rosie Allabarton is currently a postgraduate student in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London, and has had her poetry published in Popshot Magazine, Poetry Monthly and Cadaverine. Rosie enjoys the poetry of ee cummings, the short stories of Lorrie Moore and dancing with gay abandon.
Chloe Aridjis was born in New York, and grew up in the Netherlands and Mexico City. She studied for a BA at Harvard, and gained her DPhil on poetry and magic in nineteenth-century France from Oxford University. She then spent five years in Berlin and now lives in London. Book of Clouds is her first novel.
Alan Baban is currently taking a year out from medical school to study for an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck. He writes regularly for the music e-zine Cokemachineglow and has poems published in the online literary magazine nthposition.
Anna Baggaley gained a BA in English and Drama from Bristol University. Following a brief stint of globetrotting, including a short time living in Berlin, Anna began her career in publishing. She now works in the editorial department of a world-famous romance publisher. Currently living in the messiest house in all of South London, Anna enjoys reading, drinking red wine, eating cake and being right. She is studying for her MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck; her story ‘The Motherfucking Paperback Queen of Anadarko’ will appear in The Mechanics’ Institute Review Issue 6 (September 2009).
Tara Basi had a long career in IT that ended abruptly in 2005. Around the start of 2007 she began writing Battery Boy, partly because she discovered Mervyn Peake in 2006. With no background in writing, academic or otherwise, and nothing published, she started the Creative Writing Certificate course at Birkbeck in October 2009. Battery Boy has grown into a hundred-year epic that she hopes to finally finish this spring. Apart from working on Battery Boy, her homage to Gormenghast, Tara has also been developing a comic novel, Playground Conversations.
Julia Bell is a novelist and lecturer on Birkbeck’s Creative Writing MA. She has written two novels for young adults – Massive (Young Picador, 2002) and Dirty Work (Young Picador, 2007) – and has just completed her third novel – Wise Up! – which is for ‘adults’. Julia was a member of the Tindal Street Fiction Group and is the co-editor of the bestselling Creative Writing Coursebook (Macmillan).
Thea Bennett is an actress who grew up in South London before it became a desirable place to live. She has appeared in many roles on TV and in the theatre, and has written novelisations of two children’s TV serials: The Gemini Factor and A Little Silver Trumpet. Thea lives with two parrots, eight orchids and several hundred books, and is currently taking the MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck.
Danny Birchall grew up in N9 and now lives in W9, where he does his shopping at the Chippenham. His work has appeared in nthposition and Right Hand Pointing, and at Tales of the Decongested and Liars’ League. This is his third time reading at writLOUD and he sometimes blogs at squaresofwheat.wordpress.com.
In addition to her first novel, The Silver Bumblebee, Gabriela has written a collection of short stories, one of which won the Royal Society of Literature V. S. Pritchett award in 2007. Gabriela's short stories have been published in The London Magazine, Libbon, The Mechanics’ Institute Review and numerous online journals. Gabriela has received two other awards for short fiction (the First Writer International and the Dame Lisbet Throckmorton) and has just been awarded a distinction for her MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London.
Barbara Bleiman is Deputy Director of the English and Media Centre, an educational publisher and teachers’ centre. She writes and edits publications for her work, including emagazine, a print magazine for A-level students, and she has had two short stories for children published in English and Media Centre anthologies. She has a children’s novel lying in a cupboard and is currently working on an adult novel based loosely on the early life of her father in South Africa. Its working title is Little Jackie. She has a degree in English from Oxford and started the part-time Creative Writing MA at Birkbeck in September 2009.
Daniel Bourke is a man of Farnham, although he now lives in North London after a time in East London and before that South Wales. He was born in 1977 and is a sub-editor on the Daily Mirror.
John Braime lives in Walthamstow. He is currently working on a novel that attempts to combine particle physics, the occult, toasted sandwiches, and old age.
Jonathan Briggs is a curmudgeonly old fogey, more than a little frayed around the edges, who came to writing poetry in his mid-fifties as a by-product of coming up with a facial description that needed its proper place. He is now retired from designing in industry, and has just finished a Graduate Certificate course in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, which, if he can overcome incorrgible laziness, should stand him in good stead.
Nicole has always wanted to be a writer, but was repeatedly told that she needed to find a proper job (and that writing was something she should do ‘on the side’). So in her 26 years she has managed to be a gallery attendant at the Natural History Museum, the voice of the travel news on numerous London radio stations, a toy demonstrator at Hamleys, a broadcast assistant on the Classic FM Request Show, an audience researcher on The X Factor (series 2) and a queue manager on the London Eye, as well as doing a spot of radio PR work (she is most proud of her efforts to raise the profile of an over-60s sexual lubricant). Last year she decided there really wasn’t anything for her other than writing, so signed up for the Creative Writing MA at Birkbeck. Nicole is currently earning her keep by working as a children’s bookseller at the big Waterstone’s in Piccadilly.
Emily Cleaver has had work published in Smoke and One Eye Grey magazines, performed at the live fiction events Liars’ League and Tales of the DeCongested, and is working on a collection of stories set in Victorian London. She works in a second-hand bookshop on Charing Cross Road.
Martha has taught and travelled in Europe, North America and South East Asia. She has now settled in London and is close to completing the MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck. Extraordinary Chambers is her first novel.
Jonathan Coe is an award-winning novelist, biographer and critic. His books include The Accidental Woman, A Touch of Love, The Dwarves of Death, What a Carve Up!, The House of Sleep, The Rotters’ Club, The Closed Circle, Humphrey Bogart, James Stewart and Like a Fiery Elephant: The Story of B. S. Johnson. His latest novel, The Rain Before It Falls, was published in September 2007 by Viking.
Serena Colchester is a GP and medical educator who is escaping burnout by plunging into poetry and other refreshing genres in the Creative Writing Certificate course at Birkbeck. She is massively supported by her husband, six children and the dog, as well as her loyal patients, who trust her with their stories.
Beth studied English and Drama at Birmingham University before training as an actor at Webber Douglas in London. She is an established television and theatre actress, and following her three years as PC Kerry Young in The Bill she has appeared in shows such as Merlin, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Material Girl and as Veronica in Charlie Brooker’s zombie drama Deadset. Currently halfway through Birkbeck’s MA in Creative Writing Beth was published last year in Dancing with Mr Darcy, an anthology of short stories selected by Sarah Waters (Honno Press). She is working on a novel, How Not To Do It, which follows struggling actress Megan Blinkett’s rise to soap stardom and celebrity, facing everything from red carpets to kissing heartthrobs on screen. Beth is an ambassador for Childline and an indebted member of Nomads, the writing group that keeps her writing.
Amanda Craig was born in South Africa in 1959, and brought up in Italy and Britain. After reading English at Clare College Cambridge, she became an award-winning young journalist in the 1980s. She is the author of six novels: Foreign Bodies (1990), A Private Place (1991), A Vicious Circle (1996), In a Dark Wood (2000), Love In Idleness (2003) and, most recently, Hearts and Minds (2009). Her novels and short stories carry characters on from one book to the next, and Hearts and Minds is a sequel to both A Vicious Circle and Love in Idleness. She lives in London, is a reviewer and broadcaster, and is also the children’s book critic for The Times.
Nadia Crandall holds an MA in English Literature from Oxford, an MBA from Harvard, and pursues diverse literary interests while working as a director of an investment fund. She has published articles on William Blake and contemporary illustrators, Gothic intertextuality in cyberfiction, the ideology of fairy-tale adaptations and the UK children’s book business, as well as some short fiction. She is currently writing a novel.
Dorothy Crossan dipped her toe into the creative-writing pond in summer 2005, and promptly fell in. What began with a spur-of-the-moment writing holiday on the Greek island of Skyros has developed into a determined rival to her career as a police officer. She graduated from Birkbeck's MA Creative Writing in 2007, has a children's book looking for an agent and is working on her first novel. She enjoys writing in many different voices and gets particular satisfaction from making people laugh.
Joe Cullen is a displaced Scouser living for some years in Dalston, East London, where he regularly shares a table at the Mangal kebab restaurant with the blissfully unaware Gilbert and George. Underwhelmed by a career writing sociological reports and other academic texts, he is currently enjoying the benefits of the Birkbeck Creative Writing Programme and a Poetry course at London’s City Lit.
[biography not available]
Gul Y. Davis was brought up in London and has just returned after spending some years in Birmingham with serious health problems. A number of his short stories and poems have been placed in competitions and published in anthologies. His novella, A Lone Walk, published by Tindal Street Press in 2001, won the J. B. Priestley Award for Young Writers, and one of his short stories was bought by the BBC and adapted in a radio play broadcast in 2006 on Radio 4. He is currently doing a Creative Writing MA at Birkbeck College, University of London.
Emmanuella has been writing poems since she was six years old. In 1992 she was shortlisted in a Virago poetry competition for her poem ‘My Sister’. Another poem, ‘Why colour your judgement?’, was published in an anthology titled Aspects of Love (Poetry Now) in 1995. Emmanuella is seeking representation for her first novel, How to Make Sticky Finger Soup, whilst working on the second, provisionally titled Zubu. She writes a blog called Kenkey and Fish (www.kenkeyandfish.blogspot.com/).
Melissa de Villiers grew up in South Africa. She now lives in London, where she works as a freelance journalist and editor.
Currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, Emma Dunton is also a producer and consultant in the performing arts. Being brought up in the snowy climes of Norway and swimming in the cold lakes have undoubtedly influenced her writing with a penchant for the magical fairy-tale side of life as opposed to the gritty. She originally studied European literature at the University of East Anglia. She also enjoys baking spelt bread for the people she loves.
Susan Elderkin was born in 1968 and grew up in Leatherhead, Surrey. She studied English at Cambridge University
and later, Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where she was awarded that year's Curtis Brown scholarship.
She works as a freelance journalist, teaches Creative Writing at Goldsmiths and City University, and has just completed a
six-month fellowship at Birkbeck.
Her first novel, Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains (2000), won a Betty Trask Award and was published in nine countries. The following year Susan was listed as one of twenty-one 'Orange Futures' women writers for the twenty-first century.
Her second novel, The Voices (2003), was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Ondaatje Prize, in 2005.
In 2003, Susan Elderkin was named by Granta magazine as one of twenty 'Best of Young British Novelists'. She currently lives in London, but escapes to remote regions of the world whenever she can.
Zoë Fairbairns’ stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and have been published in Quality Women’s Fiction, Cosmopolitan and anthologies including Tales I Tell My Mother, By the Light of the Silvery Moon and Tales of Psychotherapy. Her collection How Do You Pronounce Nulliparous? is published by Five Leaves. She teaches short-story writing at the City Lit in London. www.zoefairbairns.co.uk
Cordelia Feldman wrote her first novel aged 14, a 900-page Jilly Cooper-style romp entitled Players. Then teenage life, partying, exams and university took over. She left Oxford wanting to write for money, ended up getting a job as Lesley Pollinger’s assistant and realised that she wanted to write fiction specifically for young adults. She enrolled on an evening class at City Lit, a term later got a place on Birkbeck’s Creative Writing MA (from which she has now graduated), and hammered out the first draft of In Bloom in six weeks for a competition. She works part time at an authors’ and actors’ agency, does media work for mental health charities, follows Formula 1 assiduously, watches her garden birds and enjoys herself as much as possible. She’s happy to have the time and space in which to write.
Charlie Fish was born in New York in 1980, and now lives in sunny England. He has never won the Booker Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature or an Oscar. However, he has been writing short stories and screenplays ever since he could hold a pen. Find more of his work on his website, www.fictionontheweb.co.uk - the longest-running short-story site on the Internet.
Tracey works in sustainability where she’s developed a love of bees and green roofs that's nearly a match for her love of cinema, music and friendly monsters. She joined the Creative Writing Certificate course to challenge herself and do something different. Here she is falling in love with poetry.
Liz Fremantle's ambition, to be a Bunny Girl, was thwarted due to her tender age, so she embarked on a career in fashion journalism instead, becoming, eventually, fashion editor at Vogue in London and Paris. She has written for The Erotic Review amongst other titles and currently lives in London where she teaches yoga and is writing her second novel.
Formerly a Drama teacher, Sue Gedge now writes full time and has recently enrolled on the Certificate course in Creative Writing at Birkbeck. ‘Tozza Ascendant’ was written for her first assignment; ‘Fifty Ways to Haunt Your Lover’ is an extract from the opening chapter of a novel in progress of the same name. As a member of the Dracula Society, she edited their journal Voices from the Vaults for several years, and her stories have appeared in All Hallows, Supernatural Tales and The Silent Companion. Her dream is to find a publisher for her ‘divorce lit with vampires’ novel, The Practical Woman’s Guide to Living with the Undead.
Anupama Kumari Gohel was brought up and educated in Hampstead, London, but subsequently travelled extensively and has also lived abroad. Those experiences with people and places have shaped her life and are the basis of the stories that she writes. From childhood she has had a passion for storytelling, which both drives and dictates the tempo of her life. One of her main projects has been a book of short stories, all of which have a central connecting theme. Anupama has completed the Certificate in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, and in 2007 she undertook the Master’s degree, also at Birkbeck.
Gaylene Gould spends a lot of time finding the time to write. Writing is her favourite thing. Currently a student of Birkbeck’s Creative Writing MA, her first published story appeared in X-24: Unclassified (Lubin & Kleyner, 2007) and she has had critical essays published in a few other places. A lot of her stories start with a feeling and then she works hard to find a beginning, middle and end to clothe it in. She likes reading and dreams of growing up to be Toni Morrison’s and Kurt Vonnegut’s love-child.
Glenys Grant completed the Autobiography and Fiction course at Birkbeck in 2009, and has subsequently embarked on the Graduate Certificate. She has enjoyed poetry since she was a small child but this is the first time she has tried to write any herself. She finds childhood experiences a rich source and is beginning to acknowledge through writing how much of that past she has brought to adult life! Glenys is very interested in the form of poetry, and is struggling at present with blank verse. She enjoys the constraints of a given form – the discipline makes her search harder for the right words – but she likes free verse too.
Jules Grant was born in Scotland and has spent most of her life in Manchester, where she eventually studied Law. She practised as a barrister in Manchester and Brighton, where she now lives with her partner and writes full time.
Pippa discovered the joy of the short on the long commute between Bedford and London, before moving to the capital 14 years ago. She juggles her love of reading and writing short stories with freelance ‘thinking and doing’. She was longlisted for the 2006 Fish Short Story Prize and her story ‘Next Door’ is being published by Route in their latest anthology Bonne Route. She is working on a collection of short stories loosely themed around the idea of ‘the self and other’, which sounds brainier than she really feels.
Rich Hall quit his job as a hurricane namer for the United States Meteorological Service eighteen years ago and hasn't looked back since. He has won the Perrier Comedy Award, Time Out Comedy Award, and two Emmys. He's appeared on QI, Have I Got News for You, and The David Letterman Show, and made the documentary How the West Was Lost in 2008. His books include Things Snowball, Otis Lee Crenshaw: I Blame Society and Self Help for the Bleak. Magnificent Bastards, a collection of short stories, will be published in May 2009.
Chris Hartley misspent fifteen years working in the City before taking up writing in 2006. He apologises for any inconvenience he, or any of his employers, may have caused during this time, but is unable to offer any refunds. He has partially atoned for past sins by going through purgatory writing an unpublishable first novel about Heavy Rock music, called Does Anybody Remember Laughter? The MA at Birkbeck represents a serious attempt to learn to write properly. He loves Arsenal FC and Charles Dickens in broadly equal measure.
Jacqui Haskell began writing poetry, prose and drama in her early teens. She turned down a place at Oxford for a career in the theatre and in 1991 she won an Arts Council Best Director award. Jacqui graduates from the full-time MA on Birkbeck’s Creative Writing Programme in September 2009. She hopes to go on to do a PhD in the literature of myth and memory. Meanwhile, she’s returning to her native Dorset and delivering courses in Creative Writing for the WEA. Her fiction has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies.
Thaddeus has just been released onto the world from the two-year Certificate in Creative Writing at Birkbeck. Believing that short-story writing has an enormous amount to offer the writer and reader, he feels he is close to scratching the surface, his enthusiasm driven by what might lie beneath.
Sally Hinchcliffe was born in London and grew up all over the world as her father served the Foreign Office in New York, Kuwait, Tanzania, Dubai, Zambia and Jordan. She was among the first students to take Birkbeck’s Creative Writing MA, and helped set up and edit the first issue of The Mechanics’ Institute Review. She worked for many years in the IT department at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, developing databases to support its scientific work, but this year gave up her job to move to Scotland and write full time. Out of a Clear Sky (Macmillan, 2008) is her first novel.
Peter Hobbs was born in 1973, and grew up in Cornwall and Yorkshire. His first novel, The Short Day Dying (Faber and Faber), won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Award. It was followed in 2006 by a collection of short stories: I Could Ride All Day in My Cool Blue Train (Faber and Faber). Stories from the collection have been anthologised in Zembla, New Writing 13, and X-24 Unclassified. He lives in London.
Graham Hodge has written various articles for the Guardian, Observer, Vertigo, Broadcast, Music Week, Media Week, Five Eight and LBiQ. He has also written and produced a number of short films, the most recent of which, Exit Strategy, has been selected for the Bradford and Palm Springs film festivals. He is currently finishing an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. You’re Listening To Paul Power is his first book.
Matthew Hooton grew up on Vancouver Island, Canada, and obtained a BA in Writing from the University of Victoria. He went on to publish non-fiction in several Canadian newspapers and magazines before moving to England and completing an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, where Deloume Road was awarded the inaugural Greene & Heaton Prize for the best novel to emerge from the Bath Spa MA in Creative Writing. Matthew has worked as an editor and teacher in several cities in South Korea. He now lives with his wife in Victoria, British Columbia.
Robert Hudson was born in Harare, Zimbabwe and raised in Essex. He has a PhD in intellectual history from Cambridge University. He has recently been commissioned by the Gershwin estate to write a musical based on Gershwin’s songs. He plays sport all the time, including hockey for Spencer in South London. Robert lives in Kilburn and works as a freelance journalist.
Catherine Humble is a journalist for the Telegraph. She is a book reviewer for the TLS and has written for the Observer. ‘Death Knock’ is the opening chapter from work in progress.
Alison Huntington grew up in South Wales, lives in London and writes about both. She has just completed the Birkbeck Creative Writing MA and is polishing her dissertation. ‘Tidings’ is an extract from a novel in progress. A different extract became a short story called ‘All or Nothing’, published in Issue 5 of The Mechanics’ Institute Review.
Joanna Ingham works primarily in arts and heritage education, with a particular interest in poetry, scriptwriting and women's history. She is co-writing a site-specific play for a community space in North Cornwall. In 2007 she collaborated with a group of young women in Kent to write a libretto, which went on to be performed by a choir of 200. Joanna is currently based at The Women's Library and has a background in new writing theatre.
Ilona Jesnick, a Londoner, has written since schooldays, but diverged onto the equally alluring path of the visual arts; she has a Goldsmiths’ MA in Fine Art, has exhibited, taught drawing, painting and History of Art, and published a monograph on ancient Roman mosaics. All the while the pages of fiction kept piling up. Now on the MA Creative Writing at Birkbeck, she has written short stories and embarked on a first novel.
Kavita Jindal is a poet and fiction writer whose work has appeared in literary journals, newspapers and anthologies. Her poetry collection, Raincheck Renewed, was published by Chameleon Press in 2004 and received critical and popular acclaim. Kavita was born in India. Since 1985 she has divided her time between India, Hong Kong and England. Currently she is completing her first novel and working on a new poetry collection. Some of her work can be read on her website: www.kavitajindal.com
Derek Johns has been a bookseller, editor and publisher and now works as a literary agent in London.
Russell Celyn Jones is the author of Soldiers and Innocents, which won the David Higham Prize, Small Times, An Interference of Light, The Eros Hunter, Surface Tension and Ten Seconds from the Sun. He has taught at the universities of Iowa, East Anglia, and the Western Cape, South Africa, and currently runs the Creative Writing Programme at Birkbeck, University of London. The Ninth Wave, a retelling of one of the stories in the Welsh folktale collection The Mabinogion, from which ‘Lord of Dyfed’ is an extract, was published by Seren in October 2009.
John Kalmus has worked in pure mathematics research, IT project management, management consultancy, Portuguese-English translation and is now a tutor at the Open University Business School. His short story ‘The Dance’ and his prose-poem ‘there’ are both based on coursework he presented during Birkbeck’s Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing (2008-09). In fiction writing, John is fascinated by the idea of ‘unreliable narration’, the non-linear use of time, and the way in which narratives construct meaning. When writing poetry, John likes to experiment with enjambement, half-rhymes and non-traditional rhyme schemes to ‘subvert’ traditional verse forms like the sonnet, villanelle and tanka.
J. D. Keith is a full-time MA Creative Writing student at Birkbeck. He writes both poetry and short fiction and has performed poetry in English and Spanish, winning Farrago's London Slam in 2006 and reaching the finals of BBC Radio 4's Poetry Slam in 2007. 'The Drum' is part of a collection of interconnected short stories that he is currently writing. Two other stories in the collection will be published later this year in The Mechanics' Institute Review Issue 5 and Tell Tales IV.
Richard T. Kelly was born in 1970. He is the author of Alan Clarke (1998), The Name of This Book is Dogme95 (2000), and the highly acclaimed biography Sean Penn: His Life and Times (2004). He also edited Ten Bad Dates with De Niro: A Book of Alternative Film Lists (2007). Crusaders is his first novel.
A. L. Kennedy is the author of 5 novels, 4 collections of short stories – the most recent, What Becomes, was published in August 2009 (Jonathan Cape) - and two non-fiction works. She also writes for the stage, radio, film and TV and a number of national and international newspapers. She has a blog in the New Statesman under the heading Obsessive Compulsive. She has won a number of awards including the Costa Prize, a Lannan Award and the Austrian State Prize for International Literature. She has twice been included in the Granta list of Best of Young British Novelists.
Rosamond Kindersley grew up in Wales and now lives in Stockwell and works in Soho. She has written several short stories, a few feature articles and is currently working on the second draft of a novel.
Olja Knezevic was born and raised in a country called Yugoslavia that doesn’t exist any more. Now she has to say she’s from Montenegro. She has been living in London for three years and is working on her first novel. She has two kids who sit on her shoulders while she writes.
Nik Korpon grew up in and around Baltimore, Maryland. He is finishing an MA Creative Writing degree at Birkbeck, University of London, and has lived in London and Portugal. He has had several short stories published, in The Mechanics’ Institute Review #4 as well as several journals and magazines in the US. Stay God is his first novel. He currently lives in Western Massachusetts.
Hari Kunzru is the author of The Impressionist, Transmission and the short-story collection Noise, and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, 2003. He is a contributing editor of Mute magazine and sits on the executive council of English PEN. He lives in East London. www.harikunzru.com
Cynthia Medford Langley is a student in Birkbeck’s MA Creative Writing programme. Her stories and essays have appeared in Puerto del Sol, Beacon Street Review, Pangolin Papers, The Sun Magazine, Downtown Brooklyn Review, American Agriculturist, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society and The Mechanics’ Institute Review. ‘Buckshot and the Blonde Coyote’ is the first chapter from her novel-in-progress, Magic America.
Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone was born in Kenya and now lives and works in London. A graduate of the Birkbeck MA in Creative Writing, she is co-founder of Tales of the DeCongested, a monthly short-story reading event held at Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road; partner of the independent publishing company Apis Books; and teaches creative writing at City University. Rebekah was awarded an Arts Council Grant in 2007 to complete her first novel, Home, about a corrupt care home.
As the former Artistic Director and founder of the award winning KAOS Theatre, Xavier Leret’s writing credits include Renaissance (a Millennium Award winner), The Fantastical Adventures of Leonardo Da Vinci (a commission for the International Festival of Perth, Western Australia), an adaptation of The Master and Margarita (nominated for the best production on the Dublin Fringe and an Edinburgh Fringe First), Thirst, Alice, Mine and Swing. Directing credits include The Importance of Being Earnest (Winner of The Stage Award – Best Ensemble, Time Out Critics Choice), Volpone (nominated for The Stage Award – Best Ensemble), Titus Andronicus and Richard III (nominated for a Manchester Evening News Award). Xavier’s first feature film, MINE, was selected as a breakthrough movie for LUFF 2007 and his second, Unarmed But Dangerous, was released on DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment in 2009. He regularly contributes stories for the iPhone through Feedbooks and is currently working on two novels.
K. K. Lilith currently lives in London having escaped the bellybutton of Britain and the fluff that gathers there. Her work has featured in the Serpent’s Tail 2003 anthology Kin. She can survive on 4 hours’ sleep a night but prefers 12 where possible.
Chris Lilly was born in Dartford, Kent, round the corner from Mick Jagger's mum. He got a degree from Hull University in 1976, and moved to East London, where he has lived and worked ever since. He teaches in Tower Hamlets, lives on the Isle of Dogs, and has recently acquired a Creative Writing Certificate from Birkbeck. He is working on a novel about British Blues, drinking Polish beer and trying to play electric bass. Research, obviously.
Toby Litt was born in 1968 and grew up in Ampthill, Bedfordshire. He is the author of eleven alphabetically titled books: Adventures in Capitalism, Beatniks, Corpsing, deadkidsongs, Exhibitionism, Finding Myself, Ghost Story, Hospital, I play the drums in a band called okay, Journey into Space and King Death. In 2003, Toby was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, and he was the winner of the 2009 Manchester Fiction Prize. He is a regular on Radio 3’s The Verb. A film adaptation of King Death, co-written by Toby, is being produced by Alexandra Stone; it will be directed and co-written by Gerald McMorrow.
Karen Livingstone is from Glasgow and lives in London. Having studied Law and then Russian language, she is due to complete her MA in Creative Writing this year. Karen works in Investment Banking and is currently writing her first novel.
Matthew Loukes graduated from the inaugural Birkbeck Creative Writing MA in 2005. Aged 44, he lives in North London. Estrella Damn, a London crime novel featuring investigator Slim Gunter, was published by Soul Bay Press in 2008. His second novel, Goose Flesh – another Slim Gunter story – was published in November 2009.
Laurel Mackie is a graduate of the University of Alberta, currently studying for a Certificate in Creative Writing at Birkbeck. Her work has been broadcast nationally in Canada on CBC Radio. She lives and teaches in South London and is an active member of the Headless Writers’ Group.
Philip Makatrewicz is a Londoner born of Polish parents. He is currently editing his novel and working on a documentary about Emanuel Swedenborg.
Anthony Malone is 34 and has lived and travelled widely in South London. His fiction has appeared on the Guardian Online website, performed at the London events writLOUD, Tales of the Decongested and Liars’ League, and recorded for London Link Radio. He once appeared on Jim'll Fix It but, sadly, wasn't fixed.
Benjamin Markovits grew up in Texas, London and Berlin. He left an unpromising career as a professional basketball player to study the Romantics. Since then he has taught high-school English, edited a left-wing cultural magazine and written essays, stories and reviews for, among other publications, the New York Times, the Guardian, the London Review of Books and The Times Literary Supplement. His first novel, The Syme Papers, was published by Faber in 2004; it described a man who thought he could prove the earth was hollow. His second, Either Side of Winter, was set at a New York high school. He is currently at work on a trilogy of novels about Lord Byron. Markovits has lived in London since 2000 and is married with one daughter. He teaches creative writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. A Quiet Adjustment is his fourth novel.
Emer Martin is a Dubliner who has lived in Paris, London, the Middle East, and various places in the US. Her first novel, Breakfast in Babylon, won Book of the Year 1996 in her native Ireland at the prestigious Listowel Writers’ Week. More Bread Or I’ll Appear, her second novel, was published in 1999; Baby Zero, her third, was published in 2007. Emer studied painting in New York and has had a sell-out solo show of her paintings at the Origin Gallery in Dublin. She is also a film-maker, and produced Irvine Welsh’s directorial debut NUTS in 2007. Emer was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000. She now lives in the jungles of Co. Meath, Ireland.
Jaidyn Martin hails from Minneapolis, the same city as Prince, and likes to think that she assists him in making that small metropolis surrounded by cornfields just a little bit more interesting. Despite being one of the coolest things about the Midwest, Jaidyn decided to pack her bags for London to continue her education in life and pleasure. She holds an undergrad degree in poetry, is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing, and writing her first novel.
Jean McNeil is originally from Nova Scotia, Canada. She has published four books of fiction, a travel book and two books of literary essays, one on the work and personal library of Graham Greene. After spending a decade working in Latin America and the UK, recently she has been spending time in the polar regions: in 2005/06 she was a British Antarctic Survey/Arts Council fellow, and will spend the summer of 2009 at sea in Greenland. She teaches on the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Cambridge University. A novel set in the Antarctic, The Ice Lovers, will be published in 2009.
Fiona Melrose writes both poetry and fiction. She is currently working on a cycle of poems using animal totems and familiars to explore natural archetypes as manifestations of the collective unconscious. She was born in South Africa; after a spell in London she now lives in rural Suffolk.
Frances Merivale is working on her second novel, The Exercise Man, about a failed 1960s’ experimental musician, forced to experiment with a new life after his house burns down. Her first novel is on the shelf, but the main character is a stalker and unlikely to remain ignored for too much longer. Frances works as a fundraiser for UNICEF and is part of Liars’ Cramp, a ‘live fiction’ group that performs story readings in London. She has published four short stories and is working intermittently on a collection called Audio Clive and the Misfits. Next year she hopes to join a banana cargo boat to start research for her next novel.
Magnus Mills’ first novel, The Restraint of Beasts, was shortlisted for the 1998 Booker Prize, the 1998 Whitbread First Novel Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and won the 1999 McKitterick Prize. His other work includes All Quiet on the Orient Express, Only When the Sun Shines Brightly, Three to See the King, The Scheme for Full Employment, Once in a Blue Moon and Explorers of the New Century. He currently drives a bus and is learning to play the piano. His work has appeared in over twenty languages.
Richard Milward submitted his first novel to Faber when he was just 16. Apples, his first published novel, came out in 2007 when he was 22, and received huge critical acclaim. In 2007 Richard was shortlisted for the South Bank Show Times Breakthrough Award and he has recently graduated from Central St Martin’s Art College with a Fine Art degree. He lives in Middlesbrough, where he grew up.
Blake Morrison was born in Skipton, Yorkshire. He is the author of the bestselling memoirs When Did You Last See Your Father? and Things My Mother Never Told Me, two novels – most recently, South of the River (2007) – and a study of the Bulger case, As If. He is also a critic, journalist, librettist and poet. Since 2003, Blake has been Professor of Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College. He lives in south London, with his family.
Niall O’Sullivan has released two collections of poetry – you’re not singing anymore and Ventriloquism for Monkeys – with Flipped Eye. He has performed poetry all over the UK and Europe for more than ten years. In 2009, Niall featured on BBC radio and television during his residency at the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championships. He runs London’s biggest open-mic poetry night, Poetry Unplugged, every Tuesday at the Poetry Café.
Nii Ayikwei Parkes is a poet, writer, performer, socio-cultural commentator and editor. Former Poet-In-Residence at the Poetry Café, he is the author of three poetry chapbooks – eyes of a boy, lips of a man (1999), M is for Madrigal (2004) and Shorter (2005) – and has performed his work all over the world. As a socio-cultural commentator and advocate for African writing, Nii has led forums internationally, has featured in BBC radio programmes, runs the African Writers’ Evening series at the Poetry Café and has set up the Writers’ Fund, an initiative aimed at providing opportunities and finance for young writers in Ghana. He is Senior Editor at flipped eye publishing, regularly edits x magazine and, with Courttia Newland, co-edited the groundbreaking Tell Tales Volume I short-story anthology. Tail of the Blue Bird was published in June 2009 by Jonathan Cape.
Marie Phillips was born in London in 1976 and has lived there all her life. She studied Social Anthropology and Visual Anthropology and worked in TV for several years. She left TV to become a writer in 2003, and worked in bookshops while she was writing Gods Behaving Badly. She now writes full time. As well as writing fiction Marie has a blog on all things popular culture which is at www.womanwhotalkedtoomuch.blogspot.com
Esther is a fiction writer, poet and creative life coach, with a BA (Hons) in Film, Video and Photographic Arts from the University of Westminster. Both independently and as a member of the writing collective, Malika’s Poetry Ktichen, she has performed her work at venues that include the Barbican, Foyles Gallery and the Albany Theatre. Esther is currently working on the second draft of her novel, Pieces of a Dream and a poetry collection, Memory of a Middle Child. She is an MA Creative Writing student at Birkbeck and lives in London with her son, where she also enjoys pottering in her garden, complete with vegetable patch.
Alex Preston was born in 1979 and lives in London. He was educated at Bishop Luffa Comprehensive and then read English at Hertford College, Oxford under Tom Paulin. He is Global Head of Trading at a leading City firm and is a regular commentator on the loan and credit markets, including appearances at industry conferences in Europe, Japan and the US. He previously worked on the trading floor of an investment bank. Alex is currently training for a triathlon, studying for an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck, and working on his second novel.
Kate Pullinger works both in print and new media. Her most recent novels include A Little Stranger (2006), Weird Sister (1999) and The Last Time I Saw Jane (1996), and the short-story collections My Life as a Girl in a Men’s Prison (1997) and Tiny Lies (1989). Her current digital fiction projects include her multiple-award-winning collaboration with Chris Joseph on ‘Inanimate Alice’, a multimedia episodic digital fiction – www.inanimatealice.com – and ‘Flight Paths’ – www.flightpaths.net – a networked novel, created on and through the Internet. She’s also involved in developing a fiction for mobile phones. Kate Pullinger is Reader in Creative Writing and New Media at De Montfort University where she teaches on the online MA in Creative Writing and New Media – www.dmu.ac.uk/faculties/humanities/pg/ma/cwnm.jsp. Her next novel, The Mistress of Nothing, will come out in 2009. www.katepullinger.com
Linda Quinn worked as an actress and director for 15 years, and currently works as a Creative Writing and English tutor at City Lit. The Toffee Man is her first novel, and is told through the eyes of April, a ten-year-old girl. It is set in 1969, the summer of the first moon landings, in a small countryside village. The book follows April’s friendship with the Toffee Man, and the wisdom of innocence. The Toffee Man was first conceived as a film, and original plans to make a pilot have now developed into the making of a feature-length film to be directed by Linda Marlowe, with Marc Warren and Tanya Franks. Linda Quinn is currently redrafting both the novel and the script. She was inspired by, and has met, the man on the moon!
T. Rawson has just completed the two-year Certificate in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, and is working on a novel about the social and political effects of the Industrial Revolution and how they affect one family. Her entry into Issue 4 of The Mechanics’ Institute Review is the first time she has been published. One of her ambitions is to have a radio play accepted for production.
Josh Raymond is a rowing coach. His short stories have appeard in The Mechanics’ Institute Review and Tales of the DeCongested, and he sometimes writes book reviews for the TLS. ‘Cherry Blossoms’ will appear in a chapbook collection, to be published by Apis Books in 2011, in collaboration with the artist Katherine Jones.
Nina Robertson lives on the Norfolk Broads. After a chequered career as a carpenter, a library manager, a school teacher and a teacher of Ecstatic dance, she finally got round to doing what she’d wanted to do all along and started writing. She has written several short stories and been published in The Mechanics’ Institute Review and Tales of the Decongested. She is currently working on her first novel.
Lucy Roeber gave up her job as assistant editor of Prospect magazine five years ago, moved to Paris and wrote her first novel. She’s now based back in London and engaged in writing historical fiction. She is married with two children.
Monique Roffey was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and educated in the UK. After studying English at UEA she worked as a journalist, then travelled to the Middle East, mostly living in Jerusalem, teaching English for the British Council. On her return, she worked for Amnesty International before doing an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. Her highly acclaimed début novel, Sun Dog, was published in 2002. Since then she has worked as a Centre Director for the Arvon Foundation and has held the post of Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Sussex and Chichester universities. She currently teaches Creative Writing, edits occasionally, and lives in Harlesden, North London, where she spends most of the day in her pyjamas, writing. The White Woman on the Green Bicycle was shortlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize.
Rosie Rogers teaches Drama and Film Studies. She is currently redrafting her first novel, In a Place Like This. She lives in Brighton with her two daughters, who provide her with inspiration as well as occasional forays into cake baking. She is spending the summer writing in fitful bouts, having forsaken a ‘proper’ summer holiday to work on her dissertation/novel. When inclined, she also writes poetry and short stories, and has a story in Birkbeck’s forthcoming Mechanics’ Institute Review Issue 4, (published September 2007).
Michael Rosen was born in 1946 in North London. One of the best-known figures in the children's book world, he is renowned for his work as a poet, performer, broadcaster and scriptwriter. As an author and by selecting other writers’ works for anthologies he has been involved with over 140 books. He lectures and teaches in universities on children’s literature, reading and writing. Michael is a familiar voice to BBC listeners and is currently presenting Word of Mouth, the magazine programme that looks at the English language and the way we use it. He visits schools with his one-man show to enthuse children with his passion for books and poetry. He was one of the first poets to make visits to schools throughout the UK and has also visited schools throughout the world.
Lydia Hartland-Rowe came to London 30 years ago to learn to play the double bass. She recently realised that in order to write she would actually have to write things down as well as think them up, and has taken modules in the Creative Writing Certificate at Birkbeck to help her get better at the thinking up and the writing down, and worse at the putting off. Lydia works as a child psychotherapist in the NHS.
Paul Ryan is a first-year student on the Certificate in Creative Writing course at Birkbeck. ‘When Your Mother Dies’, in Issue 4 of The Mechanics' Institute Review), is his first published story . He is an assistant editor on a consumer magazine and previously worked on local newspapers and as a teacher of English as a foreign language.
Sarah Salway is the author of two novels, Something Beginning With and Tell Me Everything (Bloomsbury), and the short-story collection Leading the Dance (bluechrome). An Internet collaboration with Lynne Rees resulted in Messages (bluechrome). She currently teaches Creative Writing at the University of Sussex.
Elizabeth Sarkany worked as an NHS doctor between 1983 and 2002. She began writing fiction in 2000, since when she’s had several stories published in magazines such as Quality Women’s Fiction and Tears in the Fence, and in anthologies from Loki and Earlyworks Press. She has been shortlisted for ‘Speakeasy’ and for ‘Coast-to-Coast’ and has had a story broadcast on BBC Radio 4 as part of ‘Opening Lines’ – a showcase for emerging writers of the short-story form. She has also published non-fiction in peer-review journals, as well as in Bereavement Care and the Guardian.
Lesley Saunders quit newspaper journalism to write fiction five years ago. She has written one novel and is currently working on a collection of short stories.
Amanda Schiff is a film producer and lecturer in screenwriting. She was one of the first MA Creative Writing graduates from Birkbeck in 2004, and one of the seven editors who set up The Mechanics' Institute Review. Her short story ‘Anamorphic Breakup’ was published in Issue 1. In 2001 she was shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger awards. Apart from developing feature-film projects, she is currently co-writing screenplays . . . and still has hopes of finishing the novel.
Moira Sharpe grew up in York, but is now firmly settled in Hackney and works as a careers adviser in an adult college. She has just completed the Certificate in Creative Writing at Birkbeck and is working on a collection of short stories.
Jeremy Sheldon is the author of the novel The Smiling Affair (2005) and the short-story collection The Comfort Zone (2002), and is currently working on his third book as well as a series of commissioned short stories. He teaches Creative Writing at Birkbeck, at Imperial College, and for the Arvon Foundation. He has also worked as a reader for a number of respected literary agencies and as a script consultant, specialising in adaptations, for several major film production companies.
Michelle lives and works in North London. She is a registered homeopath, practising in the private sector and the author of the text book What About the Potency? (Food for Thought Publications, 2004). She enjoys reading, yoga, growing her own vegetables and watching Jean-Paul Belmondo, and is currently studying for her MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck.
Liz Simpson has lived in Islington since before it became, briefly, home to the Blairs. A lifelong scribbler in various formats, including poetry and scientific papers, she recently took the plunge into the two-year Certificate in Creative Writing course at Birkbeck, and got hooked on the joys and demands of the short story. This is her first reading at writLOUD.
Helen Simpson is the author of four highly acclaimed short-story collections: Four Bare Legs in a Bed (1990), Dear George (1995), Hey Yeah Right Get a Life (2000) and Constitutional (2005). In 1991 she was chosen as the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and won the Somerset Maugham Award. In 1993 she was named as one of Granta’s twenty Best of Young British Novelists. She lives in North London.
Steve Smithson completed Birkbeck’s Certificate in Creative Writing last year and is now halfway through a part-time MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths. He is a mature student, at least in terms of age count. His day job is a senior lecturer in information systems at the London School of Economics. Somewhat bored with the delights of computers, he turned to writing. He is currently writing mostly short stories as he tries to find a voice to attempt a longer work. He has always lived in London but travels extensively.
Amanda Smyth is Irish/Trinidadian. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at UEA in 2000. Her short stories have been published in New Writing, London Magazine, and broadcast on Radio 4 as part of a series called Love and Loss. Amanda was awarded an Arts Council Grant for her first novel, Black Rock.
Originally from Western Australia, Margot Stedman has lived in London for many years. Her works have been published in Tales of the Decongested Volume 1, Litro, and Desperate Remedies – an anthology of new fiction published by Apis Books in April 2008. She is currently working on a short-story collection.
Laura grew up in Ham and after travelling, working in advertising and studying English Literature at Queen Mary, University of London, has now settled in Nunhead. She is currently studying towards her MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, writing short stories and screenplays.
Judith Taylor has been writing most of her life, on and off, but more on than off since she completed the Birkbeck Certificate in Creative Writing, and became a member of the Writers Block group of Birkbeck graduates. She has just completed a novel and is becoming familiar with the various ways in which publishers and agents can say ‘no’. However, she has had a number of books on careers and training published by Kogan Page Ltd. Paid employment has been in universities, and she is currently interested in issues related to mid-life and mid-career transitions.
Georgia Ijeoma Ugwu lives in London and works as an IT consultant. She has a BSc in Economics and MSc in Business Information Technology. She is currently studying Data Mining and Data Warehousing. Her major distraction is writing; it keeps her sane and insane. She is taking a course in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London, which is definitely helping to refine her stories, one of which has recently been selected for honourable mention in the African Diaspora Short Story Competition.
James Vincent was born in South London, where he still lives. He has worked in education and financial research, and received his MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck in September 2007. He is currently a freelance editor and business writer. He is redrafting his first novel, which is set in Deptford and features a seamstress who believes she is immortal.
Stephen Vowles was born in 1955 in Hanover, Germany whilst his father was serving with the British Army. Until recently he worked in the City, trading in European Equities. Currently studying on the Graduate Certificate at Birkbeck, he has had a short story, ‘The Long Way Home’, accepted for the forthcoming MIR7, and is currently working on a body of short and flash fiction. Also a photographer, his images have been extensively published worldwide.
Erica Wagner was born in New York City. She is the author of Gravity: Stories (Granta) and Ariel’s Gift: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and the Story of ‘Birthday Letters’ (Faber). She lives in London where she is the literary editor of The Times. www.ericawagner.co.uk
Amy was born in Florida to parents from the edge of Brooklyn, but she has called London her home for several years now. Amy teaches Year 4 at the American School in London; her favourite subject to teach eight-year-olds is poetry.
Matthew Weait is a legal academic working in the field of criminal law, health care and human rights. His monograph Intimacy and Responsibility was published by Routledge in 2007. Matthew’s short stories have appeared in the 2001 Fish anthology Asylum 1928, and in Issue 5 of The Mechanics’ Institute Review. He is interested in the potential for using creative writing in the teaching and learning of law, and is working on his first novel.
Alice considers writing to be an obsessive-compulsive disorder and has been writing stories ever since she first learned to scrawl her name on the settee. She’s had some short stories published in various independent magazines, and a screenplay shortlisted for Channel 4. In the 1990s she was the publisher and editor of New London Writers, a magazine for up-and-coming new writers with an emphasis on multi-culturalism and diversity. As a writer, Alice is always intrigued by the elasticity of the English language and the various ways in which ‘that lady has gone a roving’. She’s currently working on a teenage novel, set in the lyrical landscape of 1970s Dublin.
Sarah Wilson loves her family, friends, mountains, London and interesting strangers. She has been writing half-decent poetry for the last five years and hopes one day to be really good at it. She hates obvious rhyme and does everything she can to screw about with it. But she loves rhythm (ask the people who stand a safe distance from her frenzied dancing at Glastonbury) and the feel of words in her mouth. She’s married with a 14-year-old daughter and is now edging towards becoming a Quaker. Sarah’s poetry centres on her experience, her family and her friends.
Rachael Withers was inspired to start writing after accidentally kicking her host family’s dog on a French exchange. She began her writing career with a short article in her school newspaper detailing all the embarrassing things she did while in France. Since then she has travelled further afield, but has always retained a remarkable aptitude for faux pas. After university Rachael lived in Japan for six years. She spent this time teaching English and writing various articles and short stories. She also learnt how to swear comprehensively in Japanese. Rachael is currently studying for the MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck and is on the editorial team of the 2010 issue of The Mechanics’ Institute Review. Over the last year [to April 2010] she has written a series of articles for the travel guide 100 Journeys for the Spirit. She continues to explore the short story.
Maggie Womersley completed the Birkbeck MA in Creative Writing in 2007. Her first novel, Eddie Bain’s House of Horrors, tells the story of a young family who discover a human skeleton under their garden shed. Maggie lives in London with her husband and son.
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