Room 204 Participants 2014/15
Here are the writers who are part of our Room 204 Writer Development Programme 2014/15.
Adam Craig has been all sorts of things over the years — from photographer to office cog — but writing has cropped up somewhere all along. His short stories have or are due to appear in anthologies from Dog Horn Publishing, Alchemy Press, and Boo Books. At present, he is working on a novel, Vitus Dreams, which combines prose and prose poetry, amongst other things. All being well, it should see the light of day next autumn, thanks to Cinnamon Press.
Alex Townley is from Solihull, works in north Worcestershire and lives in south Staffordshire, just to avoid becoming biased West Midlands-wise. A playwright and local journalist she has a bachelor’s degree in Drama, and a masters in Screenwriting. She has also worked with a number of young drama groups around the Midlands devising and directing work for the stage.
Last year she was one of six playwrights to be chosen for the Birmingham Rep’s Foundry scheme, and she is also one of the Cucumber Writers, a group of emerging West Midlands playwrights, writing and producing rehearsed readings of their work at venues throughout Birmingham.
Not to be pigeonholed she also decorates cakes, occasionally sews quilts, has driven Route 66, ridden the Trans-Siberian railway, walked the Inca Trail, dived the Barrier Reef, run the first Birmingham half-marathon, and is currently attempting to write a novel for young adults.
http://lovebakelearnmakelaugh.wordpress.com / @smalextownley
Anna Bradley writes flash fiction, short stories, poetry and the odd monologue. She has always loved writing but is at the beginning of her career and in the past few years she has been making an effort to hone her skills by networking with other writers, doing courses, taking part in local writers’ meetings and adding to her existing body of work. She is extremely focussed and her ultimate ambition is to write a novel, having drawn inspiration from her travels, studies, her home town, motherhood, living in different countries as well as the interesting people she has met along the way.
She has been a teacher, translator, interpreter, executive PA and artist and is a graduate in Linguistics and Languages. Although ambitious, she has an endless desire to write and write, seeing it as an end in itself as well as a vehicle to achieve real, tangible success.
She loves life and philosophising, is a reflective, observant person and gets her words down on paper whenever she can. She lives in Coventry with her husband Paul and baby daughter Eliza.
Emma George studied English at Exeter College, Oxford, where she gained a first class honours degree. She has recently completed an MA in Writing for Children at Manchester Metropolitan University, and was awarded a distinction. An obsessive reader of young adult fiction, Emma writes primarily for this age group.
She lives and works in Stoke-on-Trent, the city in which her first novel is set. Written for her MA, The Dark Sky, looks at the rise of the British Union of Fascists in the Potteries in 1934. She is currently working on a second novel, also set in the 1930s, which takes capital punishment as its theme. Her short stories have been published in Manchester Writing School anthologies.
Emma is a librarian, and spends her working life encouraging children and adults to enjoy reading. She has devised and delivered writing workshops and courses for adults with learning disabilities, and believes that creative writing should be open to everyone.
Emma Purshouse is a writer, performance poet and workshop leader. She writes for children and adults and has led workshops with all age groups in a variety of locations including schools, libraries, canal festivals, writers groups and art groups.
She regularly performs at poetry and spoken word nights and at literature festivals as a solo perfomer and also as part of a trio called Funny Women for Offa’s Press. In 2011, she won the Wenlock Poetry Festival Slam, she has also lectured on reading and writing poetry at the University of Wolverhampton. Her work is published in a variety of anthologies and small press magazines, her poetry plays and community plays have been performed at various venues across the West Midlands and her first novel Scratters, was shortlisted for the Mslexia Unpublished Novel Prize 2012. She has also worked with well-known photographers including Martin Parr and David Goldblatt on text to accompany exhibitions and photography shoots.
She has worked on Writing West Midlands’ Write On! programme for several years as a writer in schools and she has led the Stoke-on-Trent Young Writers’ group since 2013.
Gulara Vincent comes from Azerbaijan, a country which is a fascinating blend of East meets West, whilst trying to shake off the remnants of the Soviet Union’s legacy. She has been teaching law since 2001 and has a number of academic publications to her name. Her qualifications include two LLMs and a PhD in law. In 2011, she started working on her memoir, provisionally entitled, The Smell of Ganja, (Ganja is the name of her hometown!) which is about her experience of growing up in Soviet Azerbaijan.
In addition to her academic achievements, Gulara enjoys various healing practices, including Reiki, tai-chi, Five Rhythms dance, family constellations, Brandon Bays’ Journey work, and Movement of Being. She loves painting (or rather playing with colours), gardening, walking and singing in a choir. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and young son.
Jacqui Rowe is a poet, publisher (co-editor of Flarestack Poets press), workshop leader, mentor, independent literature producer, a tutor for the Poetry School and Poetry Editor for The Writers’ Workshop. Her published pamphlets are Blue, Apollinaire and Paint. In 2013 she was appointed Writer in Residence at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham. She works extensively as a poet with people with dementia in care settings all over the West Midlands region. Though poetry is at the heart of what she does, she has written in other genres and is keen to develop her work in new directions.
Lisa Blower is an award-winning short story writer and novelist. She won The Guardian’s National Short Story competition in 2009 with Broken Crockery and Barmouth was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2013. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Comma Press, The New Welsh Review, and on Radio 4: her latest story, Pot Luck, written for Radio 4’s State of the Nation series, will be broadcast on May 2nd 2014. She has completed her debut novel, Sitting Ducks, and is currently working on her first short story collection.
She has a PhD in Creative & Critical Writing from Bangor University where she teaches on their Creative Writing programme, and regularly hosts workshops on short fiction in her home town of Shrewsbury. Lisa will be the Guest Curator for the Much Wenlock Poetry Festival 2015. She will also be appearing at London’s Spread the Word short story festival in June 2014.
Liz Kershaw writes short stories and longer length fiction; her current work in progress is a crime fiction novel set around the Midlands canal network, an exploration of the complex circumstances which drive ordinary people to cross a moral and criminal line. Liz won the PanMacmillan/MR Hall competition in 2013 for the best opening of a crime fiction story and is hoping that the rest of the novel will meet with equal enthusiasm when it is completed in the autumn
Liz lives on the Herefordshire/Worcestershire border after thirty years in Shropshire and is a committed member of Bridgnorth Writers’ Group. When not writing, she works on the family smallholding and has volunteered for many years to promote literacy within prisons and with disadvantaged teenagers.
‘My writing is not geographically neutral: I set my stories amongst the hills of Herefordshire, the canals of the Black Country, in orchards, foundries and Severn-side sandstone caves. They often shift in time and within the borderlands of morality and criminality, but they are always rooted in place.’
With a background directing theatre, Nick’s first short films were broadcast as part of the BBC Local TV pilot. Since then she’s written and directed drama and documentary shorts, with work broadcast on Current TV and the Community Channel, screened at film festivals, and on the BBC Big Screen. She won the DepicT! ’11 Award for her short documentary, Wake. Nick is currently developing her first feature film ideas as a writer and director alongside other short film projects.
Her feature project The Unquiet was shortlisted in the BAFTA Rocliffe New writing Forum ’13. It was also selected for the Triangle feature development scheme ’12. Another feature project The Truth was awarded a special commendation in the Euroscript Screen Story Competition ’12. And an excerpt was selected for a table read at London Screenwriters’ Festival ’13.
www.nickfoggdirector.co.uk / @nickfoggfilm
Rivka Fine is creative director and story maker at Rivka Fine Writes. She specialises in contemporary narratives for the ‘lit lite’ market. Her characters range from toothless, geriatric globetrotters to lovelorn, teenage super-geeks and evangelical, bone-thin beekeepers. In 2012, the PINT Contemporary Art Festival commissioned Rivka to create the “Listen” @ Sainsbury’s art installation, an immersive audio experience inspired by her short story, The Day My Dad Was Nelson Mandela. She has also been a finalist in a number of writing competitions, including BBC Radio Four’s Opening Lines and My Telegraph’s monthly short story competition.
She is working on a novel about the scandalous death of a baby (One Fell Out Of The Cuckoo’s Nest), a short story collection (Open Mouth Surgery), and a screenplay adaptation of her story, The Heart of Samantha Wilson.
When she’s not busy with her writing, she makes a living as a freelance landscape architect.
With alternating degrees of luck and judgement, Rob has somehow eked out a living stringing sentences together for a quarter century, or half his life, both of which sound like a frighteningly long time. Currently a freelance copywriter, he has worked in-house for financial institutions and also for advertising agencies. His words have been heard in radio ads and training videos and seen in print in various guises including advertising posters, direct mail packs and even on the packaging for supermarket own label organic tomatoes. He has written many lifestyle, financial and travel articles for a number of magazines in the UK and the Channel Islands.
In an attempt to break free from the shackles of the corporate shilling he has recently turned his hand to writing fiction and has completed his first novel and several short stories, two of which have been published. He continues to write short stories while working on his second novel.
Sallie Tams, born in Yorkshire and now permanently resident in Staffordshire, by way of New York, Massachusetts and Seattle, came to fiction writing from a business background rather a little later in life than she intended. She has a degree in business studies and works in operations management. Her most recent work, a collection of short stories, What We Didn’t Say, was published in April 2013. In 2010 she was the winner of the Whittaker Prize for Fiction. In the same year she had a number of her stories published by Ether Books Ltd on their Ether app for Smartphones and tablets. Her work can also be found in Body Parts & Coal Dust & To The Edge of There and Back anthologies. It also appears in various editions of The Right Eyed Deer Literary Magazine.
www.sallietams.com / @sallietams
S.E. Crowder writes fiction, poetry and nonfiction. Her work has been included in a number of anthologies including The Manchester Anthology & Write on! Stoke-on-Trent. She has studied Creative Writing at Masters Level, at the UEA and the University of Manchester. At the University of Manchester she began work on her first novel. Alongside the novel, she is also working on a collection of short stories. A number of these stories have been short listed for national competitions including the Booktown Writers and the NAWG (National Association of Writers’ Groups). She lives in the Staffordshire Moorlands.
Vim Ayadurai was born in Stafford a long time ago. He is short, balding, paunchy, and three dimensionally aimless. He believes himself to be a writer. He also believes himself to be a yogi, and a street photographer. Though I wouldn’t trust anything he says. He writes fiction and poetry. Having failed degrees in psychology, optometry, mathematics and politics, he eventually graduated the MA writing programme from Keele University, with a distinction. He does not have a mobile phone. He is not on Facebook. He does not write a blog. If you’re in luck, you might find on buses, commuter trains, or on the streets, like a stray dog, with his trusted Sony Rx1. Failing that, you can send him an email.