I am an award-winning poet, journalist and memoirist. Bloodaxe Books praised and encouraged my early work which led to the publication of my first pamphlet, Bed and Breakfast with Lydia Lunch in 1986 aged 16.
I won Newcastle Evening Chronicle’s poetry competitions (1985, 1987) and Time Out’s Write up your Street in 2008. In 1988 Zenith North made a half hour programme about me called Out of Our Heads and I appeared at London’s South Bank Centre as part of their New Voices Series.
I can’t pretend that I am a shy, retiring writer. From an early age I loved getting on stage at school, in local Amateur Dramatics and in the female chorus of various Gilbert and Sullivan societies.
Of course I ditched Pirates of Penzance for poetry gigs in North East pubs and then forgot about performing when I went to Hull University. I’d go and see bands play in the town’s venues but I wasn’t thinking of reading poetry in front of an audience or of being in a band.
By accident and design I’ve worked with a range of musicians, artists, photographers and writers over the years. I’m going to namecheck a few of them now…
David O’Connell gets a mention in the “Performing” section of this website. We spent a decade writing songs and had the most fun with Robert Bassett and John Jones in pop rock quartet Micklewhite. You can download tracks here and buy Princess Rocks But Gently CD here
I fell into out of print bookselling back in 1995. I was living in Sarf London and used to have singing lessons with Sophie who lived nearby. She was married to Nigel Williams and he had just moved his postal book business into Cecil Court, off central London’s Charing Cross Road.
The shop was called Nigel Williams Rare Books and specialised in Modern First Editions, including Crime Fiction plus Sherlock Holmes and P.G. Wodehouse. I’d always loved bookshops but this was my first taste of the rare book world and I was entranced. I loved the language of antiquarian book cataloguing and the thrill of handling scarce titles.
If I was a stick of rock there’d be two words running through the middle of me: Poetry and Community. I love writing, performing and reading poetry and a commitment to my local community is at the heart of the voluntary work that’s run alongside school, university and work for almost 40 years. I’ve volunteered in a hospice, a homeless shelter and taken on management and committee roles for community radio stations in London and Cambridge and Cruse Bereavement Care.
I offer a bespoke mentoring service for writers. I can help with kick-starting creativity, reading through and offering advice on work in progress and honing performance skills.
I also run creative writing and performance improvement workshops. Past clients include U3A, Linskill Centre, Age UK North Tyneside, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, Bowes Railway Museum and North Tyneside Council.