Advisory Group

Bernardine Evaristo MBE
 – Founder of TCW

Bernardine Evaristo is an English-Nigerian writer. She is the award-winning author of seven books of fiction and verse fiction that explore aspects of the African diaspora, including her most recent novel, Mr Loverman, about a septuagenarian Caribbean-Londoner who is closet homosexual (Penguin UK 2013/Akashic USA, 2014). Her other books include Lara, Blonde Roots and The Emperor’s Babe. She has also had numerous other writings produced that span the genres of short stories, essays, stage and BBC radio writing, and literary criticism. Two of her novels have been adapted into Radio 4 plays since 2012. She has edited several publications including the centenary winter issue of Poetry Review of the Poetry Society of Great Britain. She has initiated many diversity projects. Awards include the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize (UK) and the Ferro-Grumley Award (USA) both for Mr Loverman. She has held several international fellowships and was The Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College, USA, in 2015. She is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2004 and joined its governing Council in 2016. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2006 and she was appointed an MBE in 2009

Mona Arshi – see bios for TCW 2

Kayo Chingonyi – see bios for TCW 2

Rishi Dastidar- see bios for TCW 2

Karen McCarthy Woolf – See bios for TCW 1

Daljit Nagra

Daljit Nagra is a British poet whose debut collection, Look We Have Coming to Dover! — a title alluding to W. H. Auden’s Look, Stranger!, D. H. Lawrence’s Look! We have come through! and by epigraph also to Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach” — was published by Faber in February 2007. His poems relate to the experience of Indians born in the UK, and often employ language that imitates the English spoken by Indian immigrants whose first language is Punjabi, which some have termed “Punglish”. He currently works part-time at JFS School in Kenton and visits schools, universities and festivals where he performs his work.

Roger Robinson – see bios for TCW 1

Fiona Sampson

Born in London, Sampson grew up in the West Country, on the west coast of Wales and in Gloucestershire. She was educated at the Royal Academy of Music, and following a brief career as a concert violinist, studied at Oxford University, where she won the Newdigate Prize. She gained a PhD in the philosophy of language from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands and currently lives in Coleshill, Oxfordshire.
Sampson has published twenty books, including works of poetry, volumes on the philosophy of language and on the writing process. Her poetry has been published and broadcast in more than thirty languages and her many translations include the work of Jaan Kaplinski. She contributes to The Guardian, The Irish Times, The Independent, The Times Literary Supplement and The Sunday Times. She advises internationally on creative writing in healthcare. She was the founder-director of Poetryfest – the Aberystwyth International Poetry Festival and the founding editor of Orient Express, a journal of contemporary writing from Europe. Sampson’s work is held online, in text and audio, at The Poetry Archive.

Sampson was the editor of Poetry Review (2005–2012), the oldest and most widely read poetry journal in the UK. She was the first woman editor of the journal since Muriel Spark (1947–49). In January 2013 she founded Poem, a quarterly international review. Poem is published by the University of Roehampton, where Sampson is Professor of Poetry.

Her fifth full poetry collection was Rough Music (Carcanet, 2010). It followed A Century of Poetry Review (Carcanet, 2009), a PBS Special Commendation and Poetry Writing: The Expert Guide (Robert Hale, 2009). Her volume of Newcastle/Bloodaxe Poetry Lectures on the formal links between music and poetry, Music Lessons, was published in 2011, and Percy Bysshe Shelley in the Faber and Faber Poet to Poet series, appeared in the same year (it was the PBS on-line Book Club Choice), reissued in 2012. Beyond the Lyric: a Map of Contemporary British poetry (Chatto, 2012) is the first study of the poetry mainstream to identify the range of contemporary British poetics without being partisan, and to recognise the contribution of women across that range; not surprisingly, it was treated as controversial. Coleshill (Chatto, 2013), a PBS Recommendation, is a portrait of place and feeling. Her most recent collection, The Catch ( Chatto and Windus) was recently published.

Sampson was a judge for the International Foreign Fiction Prize, the Irish Times IMPAC Awards, the 2011 Forward Poetry Prizes and the 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize.
The poem “Trumpeldor Beach” was shortlisted for the 2006 Forward single poem prize and her volume Common Prayer was shortlisted for the 2007 T.S. Eliot Prize. Rough Music was shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize 2010 for best collection. She has won the Cholmondeley Award (2009), the 2003 Zlaten Prsten for international writing (Macedonian Foundation for Culture and Sciences), a Hawthornden Fellowship, the Newdigate Prize; and awards from the Arts Councils of England and Wales and the Society of Authors. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Fellow of the English Association and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and was elected to the Council of the Royal Society of Literature in 2011.

Jacob Sam-La Rose

Jacob Sam-La Rose’s poetry has been characterised as vivid, masterly and carefully structured. His collection ‘Breaking Silence‘ was shortlisted for both a Forward Poetry prize and the Aldeburgh Fenton award, and is a set text for the OCR English Language and Literature A Level (EMC). He is widely recognised as an indefatigable facilitator, mentor and supporter of young and emerging poets. He lives in London, England.

Michael Schmidt
 – see bios for Mentors