Biography

Stratford-on-Avon Poetry Festival, July 2015 Poet in Residence for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Ruskin in Sheffield 2014 – 15 Commission to write Boots, Fresh Air and Ginger Beer, a promenade performance about St George’s Farm in Totley – a communal agricultural venture funded by John Ruskin – and its legacy. Performed with local people at midsummer 2015.

Hallelujah for the 50ft Women Poem included in this anthology about the body published by Bloodaxe.

Tree Stories 2014-5 Commission with visual artist Tansy Moir for South Yorkshire Biodiversity Research Group. To involve writing poems and songs out of collected stories about tree carvings. To culminate in exhibition, publication and performance in 2015.

Happy Birthday Dylan Thomas 2014 – with writer Rony Robinson, a playful celebration of Dylan performed at his birthplace, Cwmdonkin Drive in Swansea and afterwards for Sheffield’s Off the Shelf Festival.

A Better Life 2013 Four songs commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and  performed by older people’s choirs  at the launch of their book, A Better Life. The songs were composed out of the real words and experiences of older people.

Are We There Yet 2013 First full poetry collection published by Smith/Doorstop

National Poetry Competition, 2013 – my poem Thaw was highly commended – in the top 10 out of over 13,000 entries. Another, What the Oak Tree Taught Me, was shortlisted.

97, 2013 – short play in verse about the a Sheffield bus journey, written for Twenty Tiny Plays About Sheffield, performed at the Crucible Theatre.

Big Sky, 2012 – script piece in verse and song performed by mix of professionals and local people from Skye Edge in Sheffield. Commissioned by Freedom Studios.

The Sheffield Anthology: Poems from the City Imagined, 2012 – Four poems published.

Mslexia Poetry Competition 2012 runner up with poem Are We There Yet? judged by Gillian Clarke and published in the magazine.

Basil Bunting Poetry Competition 2012 – runner up with poem Lunch Hour with Gramps judged by August Kleinzhaler

Rialto/RSPB Poetry Competition 2012 – two poems longlisted by Andrew Motion and Mark Cocker

MA in Writing – with distinction – from Sheffield Hallam University

Hawthornden Fellowship 2011 – to work on completion of first collection of poetry

Magma Poetry Competition 2011 – poem Yew and Birds longlisted by judge George Szirtes.

Threads 2010 Poems commissioned by Fleet Arts in Belper out of oral history interviews with ex mill workers in the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site.

Now Wash Your Hands, BBC Radio 4 feature 2009 This won a Bronze Sony Radio Award in 2010 for myself, producer Frances Byrnes and Loftus Audio. 

Bridport Prize 2009 Poem shortlisted by judge Jackie Kay.

Singer, 2009 Pamphlet Singer published by Smith Doorstop.

Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition 2008/9 One of four winners of this competition judged by Michael Longley.

Bridport Prize 2008 two poems shortlisted by judge David Harsent.

Women of an Uncertain Age, BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play 2008 Third play of a trilogy with Rony Robinson. I Wrote poems for the play, performed by actor Deborah Findlay.

Edale Audio Trail 2007 – downloadable audio trail for a short walk out of Edale – featuring new script, song and interview. Commissioned by Moors for the Future.

Matter 2008 and 2007 poems in both collections of the best writing from the MA in writing at Sheffield Hallam University.

Arvon International Poetry Competition 2007 Runner up and published in their 2007 anthology.

Guardian online poetry workshop 2007 Featured poet.

Voices from the Hospital 2007 Long poem commissioned by Eventus, for their booklet Our Weston Park. It was written out of research with staff, patients and parents at Childrens’ Hospital, Sheffield.

Mummies and Daddies, BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play 2006 Second play of a trilogy with Rony Robinsonabout the lives of teenage parents. Featured songs written by me and sung by local young people.

Last Loves, BBC Radio 4 Friday Play 2005 With writer Rony Robinson, a play about love among older people with dementia in care – and starring Richard Wilson. I made songs out of real stories of older people in Yorkshire, sung by older Sheffield voices. It won or was shortlisted for six awards – 1st prize for radio drama at Mental Health Media Awards 2005, won a Bronze Sony radio award  for Radio Drama 2006, 1st  prize radio drama in BBC Radio and Music awards 2006, 4th place in Prix Italia international awards for radio drama 2005, won a Clarion award 2006 and was a runner up in the Tinniswood Awards 2006.

Plotters 2003 – 5 I wrote and performed this intimate show (which toured nationally through rural touring) and CD of new songs and stories, researched with allotment gardeners, including many older people, in Sheffield. Featured on Woman’s Hour, Discovery Channel, national, regional and local press and in a book about allotments published by New Holland. Funded by Arts Council.

70th Anniversary of Kinder Mass Trespass 2002  Song commissioned by Ramblers Association and performed at Anniversary celebration at Hayfield and again at 75th anniversary in New Mills before audience of VIPs from RA, Natural England and MPs.

As We Walked Out 2000 – 1 Written and performed by me, a touring show and CD of new songs and stories resulting from walks and research with older ramblers. Featured on BBC TV, Yorkshire TV , Woman’s Hour as well as national arts press. Funded through Year of the Artist/Arts Council.

I have also played and sung in many bands over the years – folk, soul, a street band –  the most longterm being in Airs and Graces, an all women ceilidh band. I play accordion, melodeon and some woodwind. Add sing of course.

I have also worked as a writer in the community for many years, specialising in work with older people and those with dementia and learning difficulties. But also lots lots more. Please see Projects.

Please note: I have had poems published in magazines including Poetry Review, Poetry News, Magma, MsLexia and The North.