Meet our team

Everyone at Writing Room writes, so we all know exactly how it feels both to start writing and to work out how to keep going.

Everything we do together as a team and individually on our courses revolves around three things: a passionate belief that the practice of writing enriches lives; a love of teaching and facilitating new writing; and an ambition to ensure Writing Room is always a welcoming online home for all creative writers.

Liz Berry


Liz Berry is an award-winning poet and author of the critically acclaimed collections Black Country (Chatto, 2014); The Republic of Motherhood (Chatto, 2018); The Dereliction (Hercules Editions, 2021) a collaboration with artist Tom Hicks; and most recently The Home Child (Chatto, 2023), a novel in verse.

Liz’s work, described as “a sooty soaring hymn to her native West Midlands” (Guardian), celebrates the landscape, history and dialect of the region.

Liz has received the Somerset Maugham Award, Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, The Writers' Prize and Forward Prizes. Her poem ‘Homing’, a love poem for the language of the Black Country, is part of the GCSE English syllabus.

Liz is a patron of Writing West Midlands and lives in Birmingham with her family.

Joanna Brown/J.T. Williams


Joanna Brown - aka J.T. Williams - is a writer with a passion for hidden histories. She writes to shine a light on the Black British past, blending archival research with creative storytelling to reimagine and recover lost life stories. A lifelong Londoner, she walks the city to uncover its secrets.

Joanna has worked as a primary school teacher and a creative writing facilitator for budding writers of all ages. She spearheaded the Black literature education
programme Africa Writes: Young Voices and has led writing sessions for school groups at the British Library, showcasing their unique collections for research and

In 2020, Joanna’s short memoir, Birds can be heard singing through open windows, was Highly Commended for the Spread the Word Life Writing Prize. She is currently a PhD researcher at Royal Holloway, London, developing fiction exploring the Black British past.

Joanna also writes for children with inclusive fiction studio Storymix as J.T. Williams. Her debut novel The Lizzie and Belle Mysteries: Drama and Danger was published by Farshore Books in June 2022. The follow-up, Portraits and Poison will be published in April 2023.

Twitter: @OjiBrown73
Facebook: Joanna Brown

Sita Bramachari


Sita Brahmachari has an MA in Arts Education (Central School of Speech and Drama, 2019)  and a background in Theatre and Education. In 2011 Sita won the Waterstones Children's Book Prize with her debut novel Artichoke Hearts named among the top fifty novels with diverse representation since the 1950s by the Guardian. In the interim years Sita has written many highly acclaimed, Carnegie and United Kingdom Literary Award nominated novels and short stories. In 2018 she was awarded an Honour for the writing of Tender Earth by the International Board of Books for Young People, and her novels Where The River Runs Gold (2019) and When Secrets Set Sail (2020) have received great acclaim. She was the 2015 Booktrust Writer in Residence and is the current Writer in Residence at Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants. In March 2021 Sita's novella The River Whale was a World Book Day Story. Swallow’s Kiss launched at the British Library in June 2021. Sita’s latest novel is When Shadows Fall (2021). She is a Royal Literary Fellow and an Amnesty International ambassador. Sita has recently been made a Fellow of the Socitey of Authors.

Alison Chandler


Alison is a co-director of Writing Room. She has been working with creative writers since 2010. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck and a Level 3 Award in Education and Training from WM College in Camden, and believes passionately that everyone should have access to lifelong learning. Alison arrived at Writing Room working on her own creative development as a poetry student in 2014 and immediately felt she’d come home. She designed and developed our Prioritise Your Writing and Introduction to Creative Writing courses to support writers at all stages of their own creative journey. Alison has published poems, short stories and creative non-fiction, and that novel project will eventually see the light of day too! She lives in Kentish Town with her two nearly grown up boys and a grumpy cat. In her spare time you’ll find her back home in South Wales, walking the Gower and Pembrokeshire coast paths and trying to write how that feels. You can find out more at

Emily Devane


Emily Devane is a writer, editor, teacher and bookseller based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire. Now specialising in short stories and flash fiction, Emily first came to Writing Room as a student back when it was Haringey Literature Live. This experience played an important part in her early writing career. Her short fiction has since been widely published in journals and anthologies including Smokelong Quarterly (third place, Grand Micro Contest 2021), Best Microfictions Anthology (2021), New Flash Fiction Review, Lost Balloon, Ellipsis, New Flash Fiction Review, Janus Literary, Ambit and others. Emily is a founding editor at FlashBack Fiction, a journal dedicated to historical flash fiction. In 2022 she was shortlisted for The Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing, and she won second place in the Bath Short Story Award the same year. Emily has won the Bath Flash Fiction Award, a Northern Writers' Award and a Word Factory Apprenticeship. She also judged the October 2022 round of the Bath Flash Fiction Award.

Emily has over twenty years' teaching experience, and holds a PGCE in teaching from The University of Nottingham School of Education. She has taught workshops and courses for Comma Press, Dahlia Press, London Writers' Café, Writers HQ, Flash Fiction Festival, Tracks Darlington, Northern Writers' Studio and Sheffield Hallam University. Emily runs her own creative writing courses and workshops through Moor Words. She also facilitates The Grove Bookshop Writing Group in Ilkley and organises regular spoken word nights.

Travis Elborough


Described by The Guardian as “one of Britain’s finest pop culture historians”, Travis Elborough has been a freelance writer, author, broadcaster and cultural commentator for two decades now.

Travis’s books include Wish You Were Here: England on Sea, The Long-Player Goodbye, a hymn to vinyl records that inspired the BBC4 documentary When Albums Ruled the World, in which he also appeared, and A Walk in the Park, a loving exploration of public parks and green space. His latest, Through the Looking Glasses: The Spectacular Life of Spectacles, was published in July 2021 to immediate acclaim, saluted as ‘fascinating’ by The Observer, while New Statesman stated, ‘It will make you look at specs with fresh eyes.’

He has also collaborated on the popular and award-winning series of ‘Unexpected’ Atlases with the cartographers Alan Horsfield and Martin Brown, the most recent of which, Atlas of Forgotten Places, appeared in November.

Nazrene Hanif


Nazrene Hanif is a writer and editor. She is interested in all forms of storytelling, working in and between essay, criticism, fiction, memoir, poetry, sound and visual art, and seeks to uncover archival silences. She graduated from the MA Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2023.

As a tutor, Nazrene empowers others to imagine new possibilities for their writing and creative practice. She has participated in the Centre for Language, Culture and Learning’s ‘Decolonising Creative Writing’ conference, and read alongside writers including Nick Makoha, Isabel Waidner and Jessica Andrews.

Her creative non-fiction has been published by Ache magazine and received special mention in the Spread The Word Life Writing Prize 2021. She is currently developing her first novel, a “meditative and emotive” exploration of belonging, many-gendered motherhood and the conditions needed to create.

Nazrene is based in London, often found elsewhere and sometimes on Instagram: @nazrenehanif.

Giovanna Iozzi


Giovanna Iozzi has taught creative writing for a wide range of adult learning spaces, including Goldsmiths University and City University as well as Writing Room. An associate lecturer at Goldsmiths, Giovanna runs a successful course on the Short Story and teaches for the Creative Writing MA, while completing a PhD on Elena Ferrante’s fiction. A winner of Goldsmith’s Pat Kavanagh Prize, she writes in the short fiction, novel and memoir form. Her first novel is Black Figs, a simmering narrative of maternal disintegration. She’s currently working on a memoir inspired by her childhood growing up in East London. You can find her published stories at and find her on twitter: bristlingnarratives@gioiozzi

Kiare Ladner


Kiare's debut novel Nightshift was recently published by Picador in the UK and Mariner Books (Harper Collins) in the US. Her short stories have been anthologised, commissioned for the radio and shortlisted in competitions, including the BBC National Short Story Award. She wrote Nightshift while studying for a Creative Writing PhD. Prior to that she did a Prose Writing MA at the University of East Anglia. She teaches on the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia, at City, University of Londonand privately mentors writers on a one-to-one basis. In reading, writing and life, she's naturally drawn to nonconformism and dichotomies. Having grown up in South Africa, she loves spending time in big cities as much as out in middle of nowhere. In the cyber world, you can find her

Hannah Lowe


Hannah Lowe is a poet, memoirist and academic. Her latest book, The Kids, a Poetry Book Society ‘Choice’ for Autumn, won the Costa Poetry Award and the Costa Book of the Year, 2021, and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. Her first poetry collection Chick (Bloodaxe, 2013) won the Michael Murphy Memorial Award for Best First Collection. In September 2014, she was named as one of 20 Next Generation poets. Her family memoirLong Time, No See(Periscope, 2015) featured as Radio 4’s Book of the Week.Hannah undertook her AHRC-funded PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and is now Reader in Creative Writing at Brunel University. Hannah has recently been made recipient of the Eccle's Centre and Hay Festival Writer's Award.

Paul Lyalls


Paul Lyalls was poet in residence for the Roald Dahl Museum 2013/2014 and star of BBC2’s/CBBC’s ‘Big Slam Poetry House’. His poetry is funny and moving and his poetry workshops produce extraordinary poems from people of all ages. Paul has been poet in residence at ten secondary schools and over twenty primary schools. His new poetry collection for adults, Catching the Cascade (Flipped Eye), was shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize. His children’s collection A Funny Thing Happened (2014), with an intro by Michael Rosen, is loved by kids and people with inner kids of all ages. In 2008, Paul was Poet for the London Borough of Brent (London’s fifth coolest Borough) and he has performed at Wembley stadium. He has two poems in Michael Rosen’s A-Z: The Best Children’s Poetry from Agard to Zephaniah (Penguin). Paul has also performed at ten Edinburgh festivals, one Eton College, five Glastonburys and on a 73 Bus, which made the ‘and finally…’ bit of the 6pm national news. Paul was Poet for the London Borough of Islington’s Word Festival 2012-16, working regularly with Arsenal football club performing his poetry in their dressing room and on their pitch!

Gwen MacKeith


Gwen MacKeith is a writer and a literary translator. Her short stories have appeared in the arts quarterly, Ambit Magazine and her flash fiction was short-listed for the Ambit Magazine flash fiction competition. She was awarded a PhD in 2007 from University College London in Hispanic studies in which she examined the work of the Argentine fiction writer, Antonio Dal Masetto (1938 – 2015).

She held the position of post-doctoral research fellow between 2008 and 2011 at King’s College London for the theatre in translation project, “Out of the Wings”, an AHRC collaboration between King's College London, Queen's University Belfast and the University of Oxford which created a resource to make the theatres of Spain and Spanish America accessible to English-speaking researchers and theatre professionals.

Gwen's anthology of translations by the internationally-acclaimed Argentine dramatist, Griselda Gambaro, was published by Methuen/Bloomsbury in May 2022.

She is currently completing her first novel and is represented by the David Higham agency.   

Jehane Markham


Jehane Markham is a poet, librettist and dramatist. She has published five collections of poetry, the most recent Forty Poems (Dreams, Dances & Disappointments, May 2022).

She has written for radio, stage and TV. Jehane has written the libretto for several fringe musicals and a children’s opera for the Royal Opera House, On the Rim of the World, 2009/10/11. Her last community opera was performed at Leiston House.

She has given workshops in primary schools, worked with ex-prisoners in a creative writing workshop in Camden and lectured on the craft of editing poetry at The London Metropolitan University. For several years she ran Writing Room's first full poetry course.

Jehane wrote the book and lyrics for The Six Swans, a musical adaptation of two fairy tales by The Brothers Grimm, for the Wonderful Beast Theatre Company, performed at Leiston Abbey, 2014.

Jenny Parrott


A former news journalist and crime reporter, Jenny joined Bloomsbury in 1987 just as it opened its doors. After buying fiction and non-fiction there, she went on to acquire for Virgin, Little, Brown and Borough Press at HarperCollins.

For the last decade Jenny has worked at Women’s Prize and Booker-winning independent Oneworld – currently Independent Publisher of the Year, as well as publisher of the 2023 Booker prize-winner Paul Lynch – where she is now Editor at Large for Oneworld’s book club imprint Magpie and the literary crime imprint Point Blank.

Jenny is a regular tutor in creative writing and editing for Arvon, and is the author of eleven commercial novels, five at Orion (as Kitty Danton), three at HQ atHarperCollins (as Katie King), one each at Hodder (as Ava Pierce), Bonnier(as Anna Cliffe), Wildfire at Headline (as S. J. Brook), plus a novel ghosted for a best-selling thriller author at Mountain Lion (Hodder). She has another four novels under contract.

Photo by Mark Rusher

Kate Pemberton


Kate is a co-director of Writing Room. She facilitates Monday Start Your Week and Thursday Writing Hour, and she co-ordinates the busy programme day to day. Kate founded Writing Room in 2013 (at that time known as Haringey Literature Live) with the help of Collage Arts, and was later awarded Arts Council England funding to develop it further. Kate has worked with writers for 30 years, as editor, literary consultant and mentor. From 2013 to 2022 she was Lead Fiction Editor of the international quarterly literary journal Ambit. She has put on more than 200 literary events in London and further afield. Kate wrote short fiction in her 20s, with stories and translations appearing in The Time Out Book of London Short Stories Volume 2, Ambit and Litro. She has recently returned to writing with a novel. She loves hosting our Monday Start Your Week group as it's a chance to keep in touch with where our writers are with their individual projects, and support them to achieve their goals. You can find her literary consultancy at

Steve Thompson


Steve joined Giovanna’s Journalism course in November 2014 while looking after his young son. He wanted to develop his writing skills and meet people outside of the new parent bubble. He found Gio’s enthusiasm and expertise inspiring. Studying with Writing Room and developing his writing at that time had a positive impact on his self-confidence. He joined an internet start up and had less time for his writing but more recently has been delighted to re-engage with Writing Room and become our Patron, supporting our drop-ins and events, our administrative operations and our bursary scheme. Steve's academic roots are in economics and mathematics, and his professional roots are in financial analysis, with a sideline in property renovation.

April Yee


April Yee is a writer and translator published in Salon, Newsweek, The Times Literary Supplement, and Ploughshares online. A Harvard and Tin House alumna, she reported in more than a dozen countries at sites ranging from Chernobyl to Iraqi oil fields before moving to London, where she is a National Book Critics Circle Fellow and the University of East Anglia’s Malcolm Bradbury Memorial Scholar. She also serves as a reader for Liminal Transit Review, trustee for SeeBeyondBorders UK, and mentor for University of the Arts London’s Refugee Journalism Project.

In 2022, she was shortlisted for the Manchester Poetry Prize and won the Ivan Juritz Prize and the Jeannine Cooney Scholar for Excellence in Fiction. In 2021, she was editor-in-residence at The Georgia Review, and her fiction and essays won or were listed for the Fitzcarraldo Essay Prize, the Alpine Fellowship, the Women’s Prize Trust’s Discoveries, the Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference Contest, the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award, and the University of East Anglia’s David T. K. Wong Fellowship.

She has presented at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Bath Spa University, and the Oxford Centre for Life Writing, and has received support from Ledbury Poetry Critics, Faber Academy, the Community of Writers, the Society of Environmental Journalists, and (with multidisciplinary collaborators) the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum.

She tweets at @aprilyee.

Writing Room is a registered Community Interest Company: a non-profit arts organisation committed to serving the interests of our diverse community of creative writers.

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