Staff, Trustees & Patrons
Jonathan Davidson – Chief Executive
Jonathan Davidson has worked for over twenty-five years in arts management and literature development. He is joint-founder and Associate Director of the Birmingham Literature Festival, Chief Executive of Writing West Midlands and Director of Midland Creative Projects Limited. He produces theatre-poetry performances, mostly recently The Hundred Years’ War with The Belgrade Theatre and Bloodaxe Books. His radio plays are regularly broadcast on BBC Radios 3 and 4. His stage adaptation of Mary Webb’s novel, Precious Bane, toured with Interplay Theatre. His second collection of poetry, Early Train, was published by Smith | Doorstop in 2011 and his most recent pamphlet was Humfrey Coningsby: Poems, Complaints, Explanations and Demands for Satisfaction (Valley Press, 2015). His most recent publication is a poetry memoir On Poetry (Smith/Doorstop, 2018.)
Antonia Beck – Festival Director
Alongside her role at Writing West Midlands, Antonia is an award-wining theatre maker, independent creative producer and researcher, with extensive experience working in both practical and strategic roles across the creative sector.
Antonia has worked with a range of organisations, including the Birmingham Hippodrome, mac Birmingham, Birmingham City University, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Heritage and Culture Warwickshire, Activate Performing Arts and Inside Out Festival Dorset. She has also supported a number of independent artists to make, develop and tour their work.
Antonia’s portfolio includes creating, developing and managing literature and interdisciplinary arts festivals, national touring productions, artist development programmes, digital arts projects, site-specific and outdoor / street theatre performances, community-led projects and socially-engaged regeneration programmes and consultations. Her latest production ‘The Death Show‘ will be touring the UK in 2019.
Antonia is a board member of theatre in education company The Playhouse, and a committee member for BrumYODO. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an alumni of the Clore Leadership Programme.
Emma Boniwell – Learning & Participation Manager
Emma has worked in arts administration since graduating from the Royal Welsh College of Music in 1998 with a degree in music. Following a circuitous route, she worked at the Society of Authors for over ten years where, amongst other roles, she was Membership Secretary for seven years. Following a house move and now working part-time, she lives in Solihull with her husband and two energetic small children. Occasionally she is allowed to play the piano.
Olivia Chapman – PR & Communications Manager
Olivia previously worked at New Writing North, based in Newcastle, as Communications Manager for seven years. Prior to that, Olivia worked at Blake Friedmann Literary Agency and Puffin Children’s Books. She is from London, where she did a BSc in International Relations at LSE before moving to North East England to do post-graduate studies in marketing and PR. Olivia was part of the 2015 AMEX Leadership Academy.
Heddwen Creaney – Operations Assistant
Heddwen graduated from Bangor University with a Masters in English Literature and Creative Writing. Prior to joining the team at Writing West Midlands, she was a Medical Administrator. While at university, Heddwen was President of the Literature Society and worked as an editor and secretary for the student paper. She has also been a facilitator and mentor for young people.
Peggy Long – Finance Manager
Peggy works with us as a freelance bookkeeper. She supplies accounting, VAT, credit control and payroll services to a wide variety of clients from a cross section of business sectors of all sizes. Her clients range from ‘one-man-bands’ to corporate enterprises with an extensive selection of business sectors including charities, retail, consultancy and the arts. She looks after the accounts of a number of literary organisations and has recently become the treasurer for West Midlands Readers’ Network.
Board of Trustees:
Brian Gambles (Chair)
Brian Gambles is Chief Executive at the Library of Birmingham Development Trust. He was previously Project Director and Assistant Director of the Library of Birmingham. Born and educated in Liverpool, he graduated in History from Oxford University in 1976. He joined Birmingham Library Services in 1987 after spending several years in university libraries in London, Plymouth and Sunderland. In 2014, received an MBE for services to libraries in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Gregory Leadbetter’s poetry collections include The Fetch (Nine Arches Press, 2016) and The Body in the Well (HappenStance Press, 2007). He is a regular contributor to The Poetry Review, and his poems have also appeared in Poetry London, The North, Magma, The Rialto, on BBC Radio 4, and in CAST: The Poetry Business Book of New Contemporary Poets (Smith/Doorstop, 2014), as well as other journals and anthologies. His book of literary criticism, Coleridge and the Daemonic Imagination (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) won the University English (formerly CCUE) Book Prize 2012, and he has published essays on Wordsworth, Keats, Charles Lamb, and Ted Hughes. He wrote for the BBC radio drama Silver Street, and was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2013. He is Reader in Literature and Creative Writing at Birmingham City University.
Femi Oyebode was born in Lagos, Nigeria. He graduated with distinction in medicine from University of Ibadan in 1977. He later trained in psychiatry in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and has been consultant psychiatrist in Birmingham since 1986. He is also Professor of Psychiatry, University of Birmingham. His research interests include psychopathology, medical humanities, and the neurological basis of psychiatric phenomena. His book Sims’ Symptoms in the Mind-textbook of descriptive psychopathology (4th and 5th editions) is the leading English language on the subject and has been translated into several European languages. He is also author of Mindreadings- literature and psychiatry and Madness at the Theatre. He received the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. He is a published poet.
Carol Phillips is Principal at Erdington Hall Primary School. She has previously worked for Sandwell Borough Council as an EMA Consultant and has been on the Board of Trustees since 2013.
Hannah Clifford is an Associate Solicitor at law firm Irwin Mitchell LLP specialising in employment law; with a particular focus on providing commercial and pragmatic advice to employers. Hannah has a degree in English Literature obtained from Sheffield University and is, like all the best people, an abashed bibliophile.
Helen Cross is a writer of novels, stories and screenplays. She is based in Birmingham.
Information coming soon
Information coming soon
Stuart is a TV and radio presenter, author, columnist and journalist. He co-hosts the Radcliffe and Maconie Show on BBC Radio 6Music and has written and presents dozens of other shows on BBC Radio. His books include The Pie at Night, The People’s Songs, Hope and Glory, Adventures on the High Teas, Pies and Prejudice and Cider with Roadies. www.stuartmaconie.com.
David is a playwright and has had over sixty plays published and performed on stage, radio and television around the world. He has won several awards, including a Tony and a Laurence Olivier/BBC Award for his play The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. David is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and lives in Birmingham. http://literature.britishcouncil.org/david-edgar