The current members of the Needlewriters collective are:

Judith Kazantzis – Honorary President

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 last year was one of two Writers in Residence at the University of Brighton.

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 poems have been published in The Rialto, Poetry News, Prole, Obsessed with Pipework, Iota, Agenda and other literary magazines. Prizes/awards include the 2012 New Writer Poetry Competition, the 2013 Hamish Canham Prize and the 2014 Stanza Poetry Competition. She writes a popular poetry blog and is a member of the Hastings Poetry Stanza. In 2014 she helped found Telltale Press, a poets’ publishing collective. Her first pamphlet The Great Vowel Shift was published in 2014 and her second is forthcoming from Cinnamon Press in 2018.

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 In and Out of the Dark Wood (HappenStance, 2010) and Closing Time (Pindrop, 2014). 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). In 2015 he co-edited an anthology of life writing, True Tales from the Old Hill. 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 has three full collections with Shearsman Books: Burning the Heartwood, 2006, Hangman’s Acre, 2009 and Bone Monkey, 2014. Her poetry has appeared in numerous magazines including Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, 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 and Slovenian. She lives in Lewes, East Sussex.

Kay Syrad is a poet, novelist and editor. Her most recent publications include Exchange (Little Toller, 2015),a collaborative art/text work wth Chris Drury and Cape Farewell; two novels, both published by Cinnamon Press, The Milliner and the Phrenologist (2009/2012) and Send (2015), and a volume of poetry, Double Edge (Pighog, 2012).


The Founding Members of Needlewriters were Clare Best, Janet Sutherland, Alice Owens, Irving Weinman, Judith Kazantzis, Catherine Smith & Liz Bahs.

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 have 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.

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.