Sophie Lévy Burton is a sculptor and painter living in Wiltshire. She is the founder and editor of MONK. An organic gardener she lives on ancient chalk soil on a sub-current of the St Michael Ley, next to an old medieval church with echoes of the forgotten long barrow on which it rudely stands. She plants trees for peace of mind, rolls with the seasons and remembers some of her past lives. She read theology at Cambridge.
Nancy Campbell studied an apprenticeship in letterpress printing with Barbarian Press in the remote Canadian Rockies. Since then her curiosity about ink on paper has led her to work as a typefounder in the Brooklyn Navy Yard; as a dealer in artists’ books in Covent Garden, London; and as editor of the quarterly art magazine Printmaking Today. Her books of poetry and nonfiction include How to Say ‘I Love You’ In Greenlandic: An Arctic Alphabet (winner of the Birgit Skiöld Award in 2013), Disko Bay (shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2016) and a cultural history of a melting world, The Library of Ice. During 2019 she is a Fellow at Internationales Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia in Bamberg, Germany.
Susanne Sklar was born in Chicago and is a member of the Cumnor Fellowship in Oxford where she teaches and writes about religion and the arts (including a recently-finished novel about Mary Magdalene). Before returning to Oxford, where she got her doctorate, Susanne taught humanities and theatre in Russia, China and Sweden, as well as at Northwestern University, Carthage College, and Shimer College in the U.S. She’s written many academic publications. Additionally she’s been a peace researcher and activist, an actress, and a cowmaid. Her love of William Blake and Dostoyevksy has inspired her to seek to unleash the beauty that saves the world.
Catherine Coldstream is a poet, essayist, and freelance journalist who studied theology at Oxford, then creative writing at UEA. Daughter of the painter William Coldstream, and a former Carmelite nun, her work on spirituality and the arts has appeared in a range of journals and anthologies. She is working on a collection of interlinked essays, and a memoir. She is the motor behind the newly launched MONK podcast, Airstream, where she intends to indulge her curiosity about what, why, and how people create. Perennial obsessions include music, and humanity’s relationship with the transcendent.
Mbizo Chirasha, born in 1978, is a Zimbabwean poet of international standing, an acclaimed wordsmith and performance poet, and widely published writer. He is currently a 2019 International Fellow at the International Human Rights Arts Festival (ihraf.org), a Brave Voices Poetry Journal Curator and globally certified literary arts and cultural influencer.
Heidi Williamson is Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of East Anglia. She has worked in schools, museums, private companies and as a Writer-in-Residence. She studied poetry and prose at the UEA, and reads and delivers workshops regularly throughout the UK. Her first collection Electric Shadow (Bloodaxe, 2011) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize. The Print Museum (Bloodaxe, 2016) won the East Anglian Book Award for Poetry. She works worldwide by Skype as a poetry surgeon for The Poetry Society – with students in the UK, India, Switzerland, Norway, Hong Kong, Singapore, Russia, Africa and the US. She also teaches for The Poetry School and mentors writers through the National Centre for Writing, The Poetry School and The Writing Coach. She finds it essential to carve out moments of calm in a busy day – making a pot of tea, watching the birds, having a bath, reading and walking are all essential maintenance for her creativity. She finds Tai Chi energising and relaxing. She is very at home with silence, and enjoys that poetry is also a great means of interrogating and curating different textures of silence.
Karen Fitzgerald The Queens Museum of Art, Islip Art Museum, Rahr-West Museum, Madison Art Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, the University of Arizona – Tucson and the United Nations in NYC have featured Fitzgerald’s work in their exhibition schedules. She received funding from the Queens Community Arts Fund, the Greenwall Foundation and the Women’s Studio Workshop. Her work is in many private and public collections, including the Spencer Collection of the New York Public Library, Related Group, The Four Seasons Hotel, the Rienhart Collection of Germany, Montefiore Medical Center, NYU Langone Medical Center, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NYC. She is a master teaching artist, working in a broad spectrum of settings, from community-based to University.
Aleksander Carver is an undergraduate at the University of York, reading English Literature. He was born and raised in the North East. He recently contributed to the Crossed Lines poetry project and is currently working on his first collection of poems. He has yet to put down literary roots, but strongly feels the pull of Woolf and Mauriac. He thinks he prefers to write in a hammock, although he has yet to do so.
Carmen Bugan’s books include four poetry collections, most recently Lilies from America, which won a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation, the memoir Burying the Typewriter: Childhood Under the Eye of the Secret Police, and the critical study, Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile. Her work has been translated into several languages and she is a regular contributor to Harvard Review Online. She was a Creative Arts Fellow in Literature at Wolfson College, Oxford University, was a Hawthornden Fellow, the 2018 Helen DeRoy Professor in Honors at the University of Michigan, and in 2017 was made a George Orwell Prize Fellow. She has a doctorate in English literature from Balliol College, Oxford. Bugan has been a guest on current affairs and history programs on the BBC, ABC, NPR, The Foreign Desk (Monocle, London), and her poems have been featured in various places, including NPR’s The World of Ideas. Her book of essays, Poetry and the Language of Oppression, will be published by Oxford University Press in March 2021.
Andreas Smith lives and works as a freelance editor in County Durham in the north of England. His articles and stories have been published in The Guardian, The Times and Storgy Magazine. Andreas has written several novels and is represented by David Grossman Literary Agency in London. His latest novel was inspired by and finishes in India, a country he frequently visits to write for months at a time, usually in the corner of a café while looking out on to the life of the streets outside. A graduate in mathematics and also in philosophy, he was awarded the C.E.M. Joad prize for philosophy in 1998.
Rachel Kelly is a judge of the Koestler Poetry Awards. Her memoir about how poetry helped her recover from depression ‘Black Rainbow: How words healed me – my journey through depression’ is published by Hodder & Stoughton. She runs ‘Healing Words’ workshops in schools, universities and prisons. Her most recent book is Singing in the Rain: 52 Practical Steps to Happiness published by Short Books, £12.99. Rachel Kelly, Writer, Mental Health Campaigner, Public Speaker.
Himanshu Vyas is chief photographer and columnist with the Hindustan Times, Jaipur, India. His photographs have won numerous awards including WAN IFRA China and at UNEP South Korea; he has exhibited his photographs and art works in India, Karachi and Adelaide. He teaches photography as visual literature and his chapters on photojournalism are taught at Masters degree courses. His haiku was awarded at ‘Autumn 2015 Haiku Contest’ of The Japan Information and Culture Centre (JICC) and the Japan-America Society of Washington. He makes documentaries, abstract poetry films and does Sound Design for plays.
Rory Spowers is Creative Director of the Tyringham Initiative, a world-class think-tank for consciousness studies. He is a writer, filmmaker and ecological campaigner and his books include Three Men on a Bike, A Year in Green Tea and Tuk Tuks and Rising Tides. In 2017 Rory worked on Bruce Parry’s feature length documentary Tawai. He is the co-editor of DMT Dialogues: Encounters with the Spirit Molecule, 2018 Simon and Schuster.
MacGillivray writes from the site of the dream poem, placing a great emphasis on visionary tracts that are situated in the various languages and folkloric images embedded deep within Scottish Gaelic culture. As such, these works are tracks back into a landscape for her which remains lost and always remains tantalising site for excavation.
Richard Martin read English at St John’s College, Cambridge. He is devoted to early modern drama and poetry and spends long summers re-reading Proust. His short stories happily function as homages to the Edwardian ghost story but his poetry is always original. He works a lot in collage due to his interest in accident and order, serendipity and design… and an inability to draw. He has a life-long interest in the occult and would identify himself, if pressed or for the purposes of a census, as a Thelemite. He is a Francophile, felinophile, bibliophile, oenophile, a passionate lover of psychedelia, ‘Krautrock’ and African funk.
James Burnett lives in Dorset and Thailand. He studied Astrophysics at university where he became interested in celestial photography. He taught A level photography at an independent sixth form college in London and has exhibited his work at galleries in London and Bangkok. He is the author of the student guide “Getting into Art and Design Courses” and organises portfolio preparation seminars for students in South East Asia who wish to study art and design at UK art schools.
Jacob Willer studied Fine Art at Oxford and is now a London based painter and art critic. He writes about art for The Spectator, Standpoint Magazine and his book ‘What Happened to the Arts Schools?’ is published by Politeia and available from their website. He is particularly concerned with how the history of art, and the tradition of art, could be made more relevant. He is currently writing a book on how to understand and enjoy painting in the European tradition.
Corinna Ferros is a writer and teacher in north London. Her book ‘Eighteen’ – conversations with eighteen-year-olds – is published by Whyte Tracks in Spring 2019. She studied social and political sciences at Cambridge, European Studies at the LSE and documentary film-making at the Zelig in Bolzano, Italy. A former research assistant for Theodore Zeldin in Oxford, she is now working on an interview-based book ‘Transcendence and other Transgressions’. She lives in London with her husband, three choral singing children and her bedside cabinet. She enjoys listening to sacred music, outdoor swimming and train travel in her spare time.
A.R. Thompson is a British writer, tutor and poetry curator; raised in France and the U.K, now living and writing in Oxford. Thompson teaches online courses for The Oxford School of Poetry, on subjects as varied as American Romanticism, and the relationship between movement and memory in Proust. He is about to begin an MSt in Creative Writing at Oxford University.
Anna Zaranko is a freelance translator and editor living in the North of England. Apart from The Way of the Pilgrim, from Russian, her translations from Polish include: The Memoir of an Antihero by Kornel Filipowicz (forthcoming from Penguin Books), the photo-album Portrait of the Province by Jacenty and Katarzyna Dędek, and several short stories by the poet Julia Fiedorczuk. She is currently hunting for a publisher for a life of the female Argentine Surrealist painter: Leonor Gatti.
David Somerville was born in Wiltshire in 1962 and studied at Salisbury School of Art 1978-80; Bath Academy of Art 1980-83; Chelsea School of Art 1984-85. He has exhibited in galleries and museums in the UK, USA and Europe including an Arts Council touring exhibition shown at such venues as Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle; a Royal Overseas League exhibition in London and Edinburgh; group shows at Blains Fine Art Gallery London; Robert Sandelson Gallery London; and Galerie Enrico Navarra Paris. His solo exhibitions include a show with the British Council in Barcelona; Broadbent Gallery London; Wooster Projects New York; and George Billis Gallery Los Angeles.
A short film biography of David and his work was shown at the Tate Gallery, and his own films have been shown at various venues including Soho House London.
Paul Deaton was born in London and raised in Wales. His Seren collection A Watchful Astronomy was a Poetry Book Society Winter Recommended Book 2017, a Jen Campbell read of 2017 and a National Poetry Book Group selected title (October 2018). Work is included in the Forward Prize Anthology 2019. Following the creative path for me and writing, allows me to be both in touch with people as well as the wider universe, it’s a very felt-sense integral higher thing; avoiding the creative purpose, as I did for many years was a form of self-alienation. Not a place I wish to return to. Twitter @pauldeaton28
Sophie James is a writer and journalist whose articles and fiction and have appeared in Alan Ross’s London Magazine, the Independent, Independent on Sunday and the Times. Along with Cornelius Mattey and Paul Wilkinson she founded the London based arts event, The Tulip Salon. She has lived in India, a place she returns to often, to refill and replenish her mind, body and soul. She currently lives in Lambourn with her son, pussycat and husband.