The current members of the Needlewriters collective are:
James Ellis is a full-time writer. He has written two novels, The Wrong Story and Happy Family, and published a number of short stories. He helps new writers find their voice by providing workshops and a developmental feedback service, and to keep the wolf from the door he designs and writes content for the public sector. He is a member of the Society of Authors and the International Flann O’Brien Society, a contributor to Carers UK and was an ambassador for Shooting Star, a hospice charity caring for children with life-limiting conditions. He is currently editing his third novel.
Charlotte Gann is a freelance editor from Lewes. Her poetry pamphlet, The Long Woman (Pighog Press), was shortlisted for the 2012 Michael Marks Award; and she has two full collections, both from HappenStance: Noir (2016) and The Girl Who Cried (2020). She’s currently developing a project called The Understory Conversation: a hub for creatives.
Robin Houghton‘s fourth poetry pamphlet Why? And other questions was a joint winner of the Live Canon Pamphlet Competition 2019. Her poems have appeared in many magazines. She was awarded the Poetry Society’s Hamish Canham prize in 2013 and was longlisted in the National Poetry Competition in 2020. Robin is the author of A Guide to Getting Published in UK Poetry Magazines and is the co-host, with Peter Kenny, of the Planet Poetry podcast. She is currently working towards an MA in Poetry & Poetics at the University of York.
Alice Owens taught creative writing at Sussex University and has recently completed a novel about her native Alabama. Formerly, she was a civil rights lawyer in D.C and a Malawi human rights advocate in Edinburgh and Cambridge. She was a founder and editor of the monthly publication Malawi Update and co-editor of Human Rights & The Making of Constitutions: Malawi, Kenya, Uganda.
Jeremy Page has edited The Frogmore Papers since 1983. His short stories have been widely published, and he is the author of several collections of poems, most recently Closing Time (Pindrop, 2014) and The Naming (Frogmore, 2021). His translations of the Lesbia poems of Catullus were published as The Cost of All Desire by the Ashley Press in 2011. He has also written two plays: Loving Psyche, which was performed in Bremen in 2010, and Verrall of the White Hart (Lewes, 2014). His novella London Calling was published by Cultured Llama in 2018.
Rachel Playforth is a poet, editor, medical librarian and crossword compiler from Lewes. She is a member of the Frogmore Press editorial committee and one of the Three Voices published by Frogmore in 2004. Her poetry has appeared in magazines including Envoi, Finished Creatures and The High Window, and in anthologies including These Are the Hands: Poems from the Heart of the NHS (Fairacre Press, 2020) and Night Feeds and Morning Songs (Orion, 2021).
Janet Sutherland grew up on a small dairy farm near Salisbury and studied at Cardiff and Essex Universities. She is an award winning poet and has three full collections with Shearsman Books: Burning the Heartwood, 2006, Hangman’s Acre, 2009 and Bone Monkey, 2014 and her fourth collection, Home Farm, will be published by Shearsman in January 2019. Her poetry has appeared in numerous magazines including Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, The New Statesman, The Spectator, Poetry Ireland Review, The Rialto and in many anthologies including The New British Poetry 1968-88,and The Virago Book of Love Poetry. Her work has been translated into Polish, Serbian and Slovenian. She was a Hawthornden fellow in 2018. She lives in Lewes, East Sussex.
The Founding Members of Needlewriters were Clare Best, Janet Sutherland, Alice Owens, Irving Weinman, Judith Kazantzis, Catherine Smith & Liz Bahs.
Clare Best has been a bookbinder, a bookseller and an editor. Excisions, her first full collection, was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize, 2012. Other poetry publications include Treasure Ground (HappenStance 2010), Breastless (Pighog 2011) and CELL (Frogmore Press 2015). Clare’s prose memoir was runner-up for the Mslexia Memoir Competition 2015. Springlines, her collaborative project with the painter Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis, was shown at Glyndebourne last summer. Clare is an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing for the Open University, and in 2016 was one of two Writers in Residence at the University of Brighton.
Irving Weinman was an American author who wrote 6 published books, including character thrillers filled with action large and small. He wrote reviews for major US and British publications, including the NY Times Book Review, and taught/led fiction workshops in English and US universities. He was Chair of the Poets’ Workshop at the British Poetry Society, and he was the founder and Executive Director of the Key West Writers’ Workshop. He died in November 2015.
Judith Kazantzis studied history, and then lived for many years in London and the US, returning to live in East Sussex. Her poems and short stories appeared in many magazines, newspapers and anthologies. Her poetry collections include: Minefield (1977); The Wicked Queen (1980); Touch Papers, with Roberts and Wandor (1982); Let’s Pretend (1984); A Poem for Guatemala (1988); Flame Tree (1988); The Rabbit Magician Plate (1992); Selected Poems 1977-1992 (1995); and Swimming through the Grand Hotel (1997) and Just After Midnight: poems 1997-2003 (2004). She was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Sussex from 2005-06, and in 2007 received the Cholmondeley Award for her poetry. She died in September 2018.
Catherine Smith is a writer of poetry, fiction, Live Literature and radio drama. Jellybelly, a supernatural rom-com, was broadcast May 2005. She is currently working on new prose fiction projects and a radio drama. In 2004, she was selected both as one of Mslexia’s ‘Top Ten New Women Poets’ and as one of the PBS/Arts Council’s ‘Next Generation’ – for the ‘most exhilarating new work published in the last ten years.’ She has been short-listed for The Aldeburgh/Jerwood Prize and for two Forward Prizes, and her poetry is widely anthologised by poetry publishers, including Penguin Books, Granta, Bloodaxe and The Emma Press.She also teaches creative writing and mentors individual poets. She has an MA in Language, The Arts and Education from Sussex University. She is a qualified teacher (post-compulsory education).
Liz Bahs is a Creative Writing PhD candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her poetry has been published in a variety of magazines including, The Rialto, Magma, The North, The Frogmore Papers, Poetry South East Anthology 2010, Iota, Obsessed With Pipework… Her poem, ‘Okapi’ won third prize in the Magma Judge’s competition 2013; other poems have been highly commended for several prizes including the Wasafiri Prize 2013 and the Troubadour International Poetry Prize competition in 2011.