Our Authors (in alphabetical order)
Co-author of Handfast
Ruth Aylett lives in Edinburgh where she teaches and researches university-level computing. Joint author with Beth McDonough of the pamphlet Handfast, published by Mother’s Milk in 2016, she has been published by The North, Prole, Antiphon, The Lake, New Writing Scotland, South Bank Poetry, Envoi, Bloodaxe Books, Red Squirrel Press, and others. See www.macs.hw.ac.uk/~ruth/writing.html for more.
Author of Look At All The Women
Cathy Bryant was born in 1967 in Hampshire, but moved around a lot as a child. At the age of nine she moved to Lancashire and loved it; at the age of eighteen she moved to Manchester and settled there. Among the many jobs she has done are: civil servant, nursery assistant and life model.
She submitted her first pieces of work to magazines only because her best friend blackmailed her into it, seven years ago. She did it to prove to him that no one would want to publish them — and she was delighted to be wrong.
Cathy has won ten literary awards, including the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Prize in 2012 and a Creative Literary Futures Gold Award, and has also blogged for the Huffington Post. Her work has been published all over the world in such publications as Third Wednesday, The Rialto website and Popshot. She co-edited the anthologies Best of Manchester Poets Vols. 1, 2 and 3 and her first book, Contains Strong Language and Scenes of a Sexual Nature was published in 2010.
Working around her disabilities and health problems, Cathy writes whenever she can. Her current projects include a Jane Austen themed comedy novel, and a possible e-book about how to win writing competitions. The oddest thing that ever happened to Cathy was being struck by lightning and bitten by a poisonous spider on the same day, at a wedding in a field in Tennessee.
More about Cathy can be found here: http://cathybryant.co.uk
Author of Echolocation
Becky Cherriman is a writer, workshop leader, mentor and performer based in Yorkshire.
Her work has featured as libretto, in film, on umbrellas and on the walls of a recording studio. Poetry publications have included Seren, Mslexia, The North, Envoi, New Walk, Bloodaxe, Well Versed, Internazionale and Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings. Her short fiction has been published in anthologies including The Forgotten and The Fantastical 1 and 5, shortlisted for The Fish Short Story Prize and displayed on umbrellas in Grassington market square. Competition successes include The Fish Short Story Prize (shortlisted), Ilkley Literature Festival Open Mic (2nd Prize), Speakeasy Open (1st prize) and the Wirral Open Poetry Competition (Runner Up). Her poem ‘Jesus Lives’ was highly commended for the Forward Prizes 2017.
For the last sixteen years, Becky’s main occupation has been connecting communities with creative writing and performance. Her work is informed by the belief that not only do writing and the spoken word help us to make sense of the world and our place in it but they provide us with the tools to transform our lives. She has led workshops with a huge number of community groups and schools and works part-time for the University of Leeds in creative writing community development. Her writing and performance has been commissioned by The Hepworth Wakefield, The Rotunda Museum, Humbermouth Literature Festival, Grassington Festival, Imove, Morley Literature Festival and by Beam. Much of this work has enabled her to write with and for specific communities including in theatre contexts. She also writes novels. www.beckycherriman.com
The image of Becky is by Layla Legard.
Author of Milestones of Motherhood
Part of my personal philosophy is the understanding that we humans are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual beings living within, and supported by, the natural world. My writing explores the interactions between these various aspects of ourselves. The central passions of my work are transformation, connection, nurture and inspiration.
I hope my writing will inspire and empower others to explore and connect with the strength, peace and wisdom we all hold within ourselves.
Becoming a mother has, for myself, been a deeply transformative process. Experiencing pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and conscious mothering has inspired me to explore these ordinary, everyday miracles through my writing.
Through learning to love and meet the needs of my babies and children I have learned so much about myself, as well as having the blessed privilege of watching my children grow and unfold a little more each day.
It is this transformation of women as we become mothers which is the subject of my first book Milestones of Motherhood. I explore the ways in which having, loving and nurturing children leads to change and growth within mothers themselves.
More about Clare can be found here: http://www.beautifulbeginnings.org.uk/clareswriting/
Author of Spools of Thread
Angi Holden is a freelance teacher of creative writing. Her poetry has appeared in Keele University, Cheshire Prize for Literature and Mother’s Milk Books competition anthologies; in themed projects from OWF and Beautiful Dragons Presses, Poetry Atlas, Cheshire’s Lines on a Map, Sharon Larkin’s Good Dadhood,, Worcestershire’s Poems of Remembrance and, NHS-NW’s Poems about Dementia and in magazines including Fat Damsel, International Times, Keep Poems Alive, Mülk, Nutshells and Nuggets, Poetry Shed, Rat’s Ass Review, and Visual Verse. A selection of these poems is included in her debut pamphlet. Her children’s poetry has been commissioned by Macmillan, OUP and CUP, and translated into Braille for RNIB. Her flash fictions have been published in Flash, Gumbo, Flash Flood and National Flash Fiction Day anthologies; in 2015 she co-edited the NFFD anthology Landmarks.
A passionate advocate of life-long learning, Angi brings a wide range of personal experience to her writing, from a nomadic Forces childhood, through university and subsequent qualification as an accountant, to later study of 3D design and creative writing. Her doctoral research explored her writing process through fiction, poetry, non-fiction and memoir. Her family are central to her life and her research into her family history has been a significant influence on her writing.
Co-author of Hearth
Sarah James is a prize-winning journalist, fiction writer and poet, who also enjoys creative collaboration and poetry film. Hearth is her first poetry duet but she has three solo poetry collections (with Circaidy Gregory Press and Knives, Forks and Spoons Press). Her debut, Into the Yell, won third prize in the multi-genre International Rubery Book Awards 2011.
A regular guest poet at spoken word events and festivals, Sarah read alongside Bernard O’Donoghue at the 2013 Cheltenham Poetry Festival and was a guest poet in Cork and Limerick in July 2013, after being selected for that year’s Coventry-Cork twin city poets exchange. She also performed at Ledbury Poetry Festival 2013 and read in the Carol Ann Duffy and Friends series at the Royal Exchange in Manchester in 2014.
Currently based in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, UK, Sarah runs the Poetry Society’s Worcestershire Stanza and she is secretary of Droitwich Arts Network. In 2013, she set up a small poetry press: V. Press.
Inspiration keeps her awake, her battered laptop keeps her company and her two sons keep her smiling.
More about Sarah can be found here: www.sarah-james.co.uk
Author of Maysun and the Wingfish
Alison Lock’s poetry and short stories have appeared in anthologies and journals in the UK and internationally. Her work has won prizes in The London Magazine, The Sentinel Literary Quarterly Review, and was semi-finalist in the Carve Esoteric Prize 2014. Her stories have been published in reviews, journals, and anthologies, including: The London Magazine, Firewords, The Copperfield Review, Deep Water Literary Journal, Momaya Annual Review.
Her first poetry collection, A Slither of Air, was winner of the 2011 Indigo Dreams Poetry Collection Competition. She was Poet-in-residence at Holmfirth Arts Festival 2012 and her poem ‘Eye of the Heron’ was performed at the launch the following year. Her poetry has also featured in anthologies including: Virginia Warbey (2010), Soul Feathers Macmillan Anthology (2012), Musings on Mothering (2012), and Hildegard: visions and inspiration (2014), amongst others. Her second poetry collection Beyond Wings (IDP 2015) connects an inner world with an exploration of the land and a love of nature, through poetry, prose, and haibun.
She has also published a short story collection, Above the Parapet (IDP 2013). She has an MA in Literature Studies and facilitates Transformative Life Writing courses.
More about Alison can be found here: http://www.alisonlock.com/
Co-author of Handfast
Beth McDonough’s work connects strongly with place, particularly to the Tay, where she swims, foraging nearby. She trained in Silversmithing at Glasgow School of Art, teaching Art in several sectors for many years. Later, she took an M.Litt in Writing Study and Practice at Dundee University. She continues to work intermedially, and was Writer in Residence at Dundee Contemporary Arts. Her poetry is published in Gutter, Stand, Causeway and elsewhere, and is widely anthologised. Her reviews are published by DURA. McDonough’s first solo pamphlet will be published in autumn 2019.
I love all things wild. I forage and grow anything that will survive the wild haven that is my allotment. Wild air is underrated as nourishment. I’m agitated in the absence of books and drained by the presence of TV. I’m a hoarder and I dress out of charity shops. I run a meditation group.
I left school at 16. I have worked as a waitress, a hospital technician and a tutor. While my children were small I did an arts degree with the OU. A family business pays the bills - just. I gave up on surplus some years ago to do what I love, roam the Mendips and write.
My father was a Tongan heavyweight boxer. He sparred with Rocky Marciano, mixed with the Krays, trained a ladies’ football team, got shot in the stomach and had countless children. My mother was an innocent. (There’s a book in there.)
More about Ana can be found here: http://anasalote.blogspot.co.uk/
Rebecca Ann Smith
Author of Baby X
I have been writing stories and poems my whole life, but working on it seriously for the last ten years. I write novels for adults, teenagers and children. My first novel, Baby X was published in 2016.
I’m interested in creativity, feminism and social justice; I blog about swimming, parenting, writing and random stuff I like…
I am a keen swimmer, though my technique leaves much to be desired.
More about Rebecca can be found here: http://www.rebeccaannsmith.co.uk/
Co-author of Inheritance
Ruth Stacey’s poetry collection Queen, Jewel, Mistress was published by Eyewear Publishing 2015. Alison Weir wrote that, ‘Ruth Stacey’s poems are exceptional. They evoke voices long silenced, and the very essence of these past lives and the ages in which they were lived.’ Her recent pamphlet, Inheritance, was published by Mother’s Milk Books 2017. A duet with another poet, Katy Wareham Morris, it explored the 19th-century experience of motherhood, contrasted with a 21st-century mother's voice. Inheritance won Best Collaborative Work at the 2018 Saboteur Awards. Forthcoming poetry collection, How to Wear Grunge, will be available from Knives, Forks & Spoons press Autumn 2018. Stacey works as a lecturer in Creative Writing at Worcester University and designs the poetry book covers for V.Press.
Author of Letting Go and co-author of Hearth
Angela Topping writes for both adults and children and her work is family-friendly. She has run workshops and given readings for many years and performed at festivals including StAnza, Ledbury, Cheltenham Poetry, Wenlock Poetry, Sefton Arts and others. She has headlined at many poetry nights including at The Poetry Cafe in London, Word Soup in Preston, Zest! in Chester, The Bluecoat Chambers in Liverpool and many others. She loves doing library events, and led several for Time to Read, a North West reading development initiative. Among her ten solo publications with reputable publishers, two are for children.
Angela is a poetry expert, with a background in education (teaching English and Drama from 1992 – 2009). She has co-authored textbooks on poetry for Oxford University Press and written several critical books for Greenwich Exchange. She has carried about many poets in schools all over the country. Angela collaborated with artist Maria Walker and their work has toured Cheshire and appeared in Scotland. Some of the poems from The Lightfoot Letters exhibition are included in Letting Go. In 2013, she won first prize in Buzzwords competition and in 2012 was highly commended in the Cheshire High Sherriff’s prize for Children’s Literature. Her work has appeared in over 60 anthologies published by Macmillan, OUP, Red Squirrel, Collins and many others. She has edited and co-edited several anthologies, for example Sculpted, Poems of The North West (2013) and The Robin Hood Book (2012), which was a book of protest poems against the austerity cuts. In 2013, she was awarded a prestigious residency at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden, where she led a workshop and led two evening events, as well as developing new poems.
More about Angela can be found here: http://angelatopping.wordpress.com
Katy Wareham Morris
Co-Author of Inheritance
Katy Wareham Morris is a writer and lecturer in media and culture. She is particularly interested in identity politics and digital humanities. Her debut pamphlet, Inheritance was a poetry duet with Ruth Stacey, and was published by Mother’s Milk Press in 2017. In 2018 it won the 2018 Saboteur Award for Best Collaborative Work. Stacey and Wareham Morris have also more recently collaborated on a project for Sidekick Books’, No, Robot No! anthology. Wareham Morris’ most recent collection, Cutting the Green Ribbon is an experimental feminist work and was published by Hesterglock Press in May 2018. Her poems have also featured in webzines including I am not a silent poet and Ink, Sweat and Tears. She was a founding member of the Women’s Equality Party and created the Birmingham branch. She lives in Stourbridge, West Midlands with her family. Her website can be found at katywarehammorris.com or on Twitter @katy_wm.