Sonya Smith (poetry), Colin Bell (prose) and Kay Syrad (poetry) – Thursday 10th March 2022

Our next Needlewriters evening will be on Thursday 10th March 2022, featuring Sonya Smith (poetry), Colin Bell (prose) and Kay Syrad (poetry).

This will be a LIVE event at the John Harvey Tavern in Lewes (upstairs room): please note the start time of 6.30pm.

Tickets £5 (£3 students/unwaged and claiming benefit) available on the door. Still cash only please; we hope to have card payments enabled at our APRIL event.

Books will be for sale on the night (cash only please).

Sonya Smith

Sonya Smith’s first collection, every robin I never quite saw, was published in 2021 by tall lighthouse. From this collection, her poem ‘Telharmonium 1906’ was Poem of the Week in The Telegraph. Previously she has taken part in Poetry South East and Needlewriters anthologies and her 2009 pamphlet old panic undressed was also published by tall lighthouse. Sonya has a daughter, partner and dog and currently lives in Sussex.

Colin Bell

Former television producer-director Colin Bell’s debut poetry collection Remembering Blue was published in 2019 by Ward Wood Publishing. His second poetry collection, Brief Encounters – 100 Fibs, featuring the poems first published in the Fib Review, is scheduled to be published by Ward Wood Publishing. His two published novels are Stephen Dearsley’s Summer of Love (Ward Wood Publishing, 2013) longlisted for the Polari Prize 2014 and Blue Notes, Still Frames, (Ward Wood Publishing, 2016). His third novel, Over the Hills is a Long Way Off, will also be published by Ward Wood. A fourth novel is now in its final draft.
Several of his fibs have been set to music as the song cycle, Fibonacci Poems (2017) for tenor voice and piano by American composer Tim Risher. In 2020 he was made Musepie Press’s Featured International Poet and his Fibonacci poetry has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Kay Syrad

Kay Syrad’s publications include two novels and three collections of poetry, of which the latest is What is near (Cinnamon Press, 2021), which has been described as ‘a quiet engagement with moss, air, horizons, […] the human, the non-human and the spaces-between’. Kay was Poetry Editor of the longstanding journal Envoi from 2014-2020, and writes reviews and articles about both poetry and art. Kay has often collaborated with other writers and artists, including the environmental artist Chris Drury (Exchange, Little Toller, 2015), and she is currently half of the composite eco-poet kin’d & kin’d with the artist-performer Clare Whistler. Since 2018, kin’d & kin’d have run a variety of eco-poetry workshops and courses, including at the pioneering rewilded estate in Sussex, Knepp Wildland. Their collaborative work has appeared in journals such as Magma and Finished Creatures,  and their newest publication is Wild Correspondings: an eco-poetry source book (Elephant Press, 2021). 

Kay Syrad, John Usher, Maria Jastrzębska – April 4th

Our next event is on Thursday 4th April 2019, upstairs at the John Harvey Tavern, Bear Yard, Cliffe High St, Lewes BN7 2AN.

Doors open 7pm, readings start 7.45pm.

Tickets £5 (£3 students, and the unwaged and claiming benefit) at the door on the night.

Readers: Kay Syrad (Poetry), John Usher (Prose) and  Maria Jastrzębska (Poetry).

Kay Syrad

Kay Syrad’s 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 at her home near Lewes. She has recently been collaborating with Clare Whistler on a series of eco-poetics workshops at ONCA Gallery, Brighton and Knepp Wildland in East Sussex.

John Usher

John Usher has been writing for his own pleasure since retiring a few years ago. He has completed one novel and is well-advanced with his second, which deals with personal themes concerning the state versus populism.

Maria Jastrzębska

Maria Jastrzębska came to the U.K from Poland as a child. Her most recent collection is The True Story of Cowboy Hat and Ingénue (Cinnamon Press/Liquorice Fish 2018). The Cedars of Walpole Park, her selected, was translated into Polish (SŻP 2015). Dementia Diaries toured nationally with Lewes Live Literature (2011). She co-edited Queer in Brighton (2014) and translated Justyna Bargielska’s The Great Plan B (Smokestack 2017), collaborating on Snow Q (2018). Maria’s blog is at