The current members of the Needlewriters collective are:
Charlotte Gann – a freelance writer and editor from Lewes, Charlotte’s poems have been published in The Rialto, The North, Smiths Knoll and Magma, among many others. Her pamphlet, The Long Woman (Pighog Press), was shortlisted for the 2012 Michael Marks Pamphlet Award, and her first full collection, Noir, was published by HappenStance Press in 2016.
Robin Houghton’s latest pamphlet All the Relevant Gods (2018) was a winner in the Cinnamon Press Pamphlet Competition. Her work appears in many in magazines and anthologies. Her first poetry pamphlet The Great Vowel Shift (2015) was published by Telltale Press, the poets’ publishing collective she co-founded. A former Nike marketer, for the last nineteen years Robin has worked in online communications and she’s written three commissioned books on blogging, including ‘Blogging for Writers’ (Ilex/Writers’ Digest, 2014).
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 Paperssince 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 Stepping Back: Resubmission for the Ordinary Level Examination in Psychogeography (Frogmore, 2016). 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. Jeremy Page lives in Lewes and works in the Centre for Language Studies at the University of Sussex.
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.
Kay Syrad is a poet, novelist and editor. Her recent publications include two volumes of poetry, Inland (Cinnamon Press, 2018) and Double Edge (Pighog, 2012); also prose and poetry in Exchange, a collaborative art-text work with Chris Drury and Cape Farewell (Little Toller, 2015). She also has two novels, The Milliner and the Phrenologist (2009/reprinted 2012) and Send (2015, both Cinnamon Press). Kay is Poetry Editor of the long-standing poetry journal ENVOI, and co-founder of Vert Institute for art events and writing. She is currently collaborating with Clare Whistler and ONCA Environmental Art Gallery on a series of eco-poetics workshops.
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.