2019 – THE POETS

NJ Hynes is a writer and poet who has lived in the London borough of Greenwich for over twenty years. Her collection, The Department of Emotional Projections, won the Live Canon first collection award in 2014. She’s been commended and shortlisted in many competitions including Poetry London, Brittle Star, Mslexia and Poetry on the Lake, and received an MA in creative and life writing from Goldsmiths. Her recent work considers people, the Earth and the cosmos — and especially climate change, its perils and losses.

With a background in anthropology, contemporary African art and journalism, she brings an observant and wide-ranging eye to her work, as well as a commitment to research and accessibility. Her poetry has appeared in magazines, newspapers, art exhibitions and rail stations, as part of a project started with Southeastern during her residency at Greenwich Rail Station (see video at njhynes.net/greenwich-station-residency). Recent commissions include the inaugural poem for the launch of Maritime Radio, a new South London community station.

She is writing a memoir in poetry and prose, based on her experiences as a young girl growing up in a racially mixed neighbourhood in Minnesota, then spending a year in apartheid South Africa. She enjoys street markets, playing the piano, dancing flamenco, and every hill in Greenwich Park.

On The Department of Emotional Projections:

‘An intelligence roaming brilliantly across silence and science, music and noise’
Francis Spufford, author of Golden Hill and The Child That Books Built

‘This collection wears its considerable learning very lightly, to magical effect. I love its variety and scope… an impressive debut’
Isabel Rogers, Ink Sweat and Tears

Nicolette has written poetry since the age of seven. She has had poems published in The Interpreter’s House, Poetry London, Poetry Nottingham International, in anthologies and once on a London number 73 bus. After usually winning runner-up prizes, she was delighted to win first prize in Second Light’s 2018 competition’s long poem category. More recently she has had work commended and longlisted.

Surprised to find herself suddenly a pensioner, she is kept busy with elderly parents and grandchildren, so carving out time to write can be difficult. She tends to write early in the mornings, in bed, while still half asleep, finding this a good way to connect with the subconscious. Living in Norwich there is plenty going on for writers but getting to poetry workshops in person isn’t always possible, so she has recently completed online courses with the UEA Writer’s Centre and Live Canon. She finds the feedback and support from tutors and fellow poets invaluable.

Too shy to have been an actor, Nicolette often enjoys writing in the voices of people, animals or objects as a way of having a break from being herself.

Sue Spiers lives in Hampshire and is part of the Loose Muse of Winchester group, she’s treasurer of Winchester Poetry Festival and SIGsec of British Mensa poetry workshop. Sue’s poems have appeared in Acumen, Dream Catcher & South among other print magazines and on-line at Ink, Sweat & Tears, The Lake and Three Drops from a Cauldron. Bloodaxe took a poem for their Raving Beauties anthology, ‘Hallelujah for 50 ft women’. Sue’s first collection is Jiggle Sac. Sue tweets @spiropoetry.


Michael Caines lives in London, and works for the Times Literary Supplement. He has written a book about Shakespeare and the eighteenth century (published by Oxford University Press in 2013) and last year co-founded a free literary quarterly called the Brixton Review of Books. His poems have appeared online via Allegro, Black Bough, Nine Muses and Visual Verse; and this summer he had a poem called ‘Europhilia’ published by the New European.


Christina Thatcher is a Creative Writing Lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She keeps busy off campus too as the Poetry Editor for The Cardiff Review, a tutor for The Poetry School, a member of the Literature Wales Management Board and as a freelance workshop facilitator across the UK. Her poetry and short stories have featured in over 50 publications including The London Magazine, Planet Magazine, And Other Poems, Acumen and The Interpreter’s House and more. Her first collection, More than you were, was published by Parthian Books in 2017. Her second collection, How To Carry Fire, is forthcoming with Parthian Books in 2020. To learn more about Christina’s work please visit her website: christinathatcher.com or follow her on Twitter @writetoempower.


Laura Potts is twenty-three years old and lives in West Yorkshire. Twice-recipient of the Foyle Young Poets Award, her work has been published by Aesthetica, The Moth and The Poetry Business. Having worked at The Dylan Thomas Birthplace in Swansea, Laura was nominated for The Pushcart Prize and became one of the BBC’s New Voices last year. Her first BBC radio drama aired at Christmas. She received a commendation from The Poetry Society in 2018 and a nomination for The Forward Prize in 2019.


Ruth Sharman was born in South India and came to live in England when she was six. She read Modern Languages at Cambridge and now lives in Bath, where she works as a French translator.
Her poems have appeared in a number of anthologies – among them The Faber Book of Murder; Parents (Enitharmon); Everyman’s Killer Verse; Making Worlds: One Hundred Contemporary Women Poets; A Twist of Malice: Uncomfortable Poems by Older Women, and the Staple First Editions series. Birth of the Owl Butterflies, her first full-length collection, was published by Picador.The title poem won second prize in the Arvon International Poetry Competition and also appears on one of the International Baccalaureate’s English exam papers.
Scarlet Tiger, her second collection, won Templar Poetry’s Straid Collection Award for 2016, and Ruth is currently working on a third focusing on two recent trips to India in search of her roots.