Mona Arshi (mentor to Ian Humphreys) – see TCW 2 bios
Liz Berry (mentor to Degna Stone)
Liz Berry was born in the Black Country and now lives in Birmingham. Her debut collection, Black Country (Chatto & Windus, 2014), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, received a Somerset Maugham Award, won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2014. Black Country was chosen as a poetry book of the year by The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Mail, The Big Issue and The Morning Star. Liz works as a tutor for the Arvon Foundation, Writers’ Centre Norwich and Writing West Midlands. She has been a judge for awards including The Forward Prizes for Poetry and Foyle Young Poets.
Bill Herbert (mentor to Yomi Sode)
W.N. Herbert was born in Dundee, and educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, where he published his DPhil thesis (To Circumjack MacDiarmid, OUP, 1992). He has published seven volumes of poetry and four pamphlets, and he is widely anthologised. He has published broadly in the field of Creative Writing, and is a regular reviewer of contemporary poetry. His last six collections, with Bloodaxe Books, have won numerous accolades. He has been shortlisted twice for the T.S. Eliot prize and twice for the Saltire. He has gained four Poetry Book Society Recommendations, and won three Scottish Arts Council Awards. In 2013 he was appointed Dundee’s Makar, or city laureate. In 2014 he was awarded a Cholmondeley Prize for his poetry, and an honorary doctorate from Dundee University. In 2015 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Sarah Howe (mentor to Will Harris) – see TCW 2 bios
Mimi Khalvati (mentor to Jennifer Tsai)
Mimi Khalvati was born in Tehran, Iran. She grew up on the Isle of Wight, where she attended boarding school from the age of six, and has lived most of her life in England. She trained at Drama Centre London and has worked as an actor and director in the UK and Iran. She has published eight collections of poetry with Carcanet Press, including The Weather Wheel, The Meanest Flower, a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, a Financial Times Book of the Year, and shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize and, most recently, Child: New and Selected Poems 1991-2011, a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. Her work has been translated into nine languages and she received a Cholmondeley Award in 2006. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Mimi is the founder of The Poetry School and was the Coordinator from 1997–2004. She is a core tutor for the School and has co-edited its three anthologies of new writing published by Enitharmon Press.
She is also a freelance poetry tutor and has worked with arts organisations such as the Arvon Foundation and the South Bank Centre and has taught at universities in the UK, Europe and America.
Hannah Lowe (mentor to Ray Antrobus)
Hannah Lowe’s first poetry collection Chick won the Michael Murphy Memorial Award for Best First Collection and was short-listed for the Forward, Aldeburgh and Seamus Heaney Best First Collection Prizes. In September 2014, she was named as one of 20 Next Generation poets. She has also published three chapbooks, and a memoir Long Time No See. Her latest poetry collection is Chan.
Catherine Smith (mentor to Victoria-Ann Bulley)
Catherine Smith’s first short poetry collection, The New Bride (Smith/Doorstop) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, 2001. Her first full-length collection, The Butcher’s Hands, (Smith/Doorstop) was a PBS Recommendation and was short-listed for the Aldeburgh/Jerwood Prize, 2004. In 2004 she was voted one of Mslexia’s ‘Top Ten UK Women Poets’ and one of ‘the twenty most exhilarating poets of her generation’ in the PBS/Arts Council ‘Next Generation’ promotion. Lip, (Smith/Doorstop) was short-listed for the Forward Prize for Best Collection, 2008. Her latest full length poetry collection is Otherwhere(Smith/Doorstop). Her poetry is widely anthologized – Being Alive (Bloodaxe), Identity Parade (Bloodaxe) and The Poetry of Sex ed. Sophie Hannah (Penguin). She also writes short fiction and radio drama and teaches for The Creative Writing Programme in Brighton, The Poetry School, and the Arvon Foundation.
Her first short fiction collection, The Biting Point, was published by Speechbubble Books in November 2010. Her radio drama, short fiction and poetry have been broadcast by BBC Radio. In 2009 she was commissioned by the BBC to write 15 ‘micro-fictions’ set in Oxford, for ‘Made in England.’ She has twice worked with Lewes Live Literature. In 2010/11 three of her short stories were adapted for a Live Literature stage performance, Weight, performed to critical acclaim in Brighton, Reading and Lewes. The New Cockaigne, a pamphlet length supernatural, satirical poem, imagining the medieval fantasy land of Cockaigne imposed by law on 21st Century Britain, (The Frogmore Press), and adapted performed as a Live Literature show in 2014. Both productions were generously supported by Arts Council England. She is currently working on some new poems, a novel and a radio drama script.
Pascale Petit (mentor to Natacha Bryan and Momtaza Mehri)
Pascale Petit was born in Paris and lives in Cornwall. She is of French/Welsh/Pakistani heritage. Bloodaxe Books publishes her seventh collection Mama Amazonica in September 2017. She has published six previous collections. Her sixth, Fauverie (Seren, 2014), was her fourth book to be shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. A portfolio of poems from it won the Manchester Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of a Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors. Her books have been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Serbian and French.
Her fifth collection, What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo (from Seren), was shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot Prize, Wales Book of the Year, and was Jackie Kay’s Book of the Year in the Observer. Her collections have also been Books of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement and Independent. In 2004 the Poetry Book Society selected Petit as one of the Next Generation Poets. Her second collection The Zoo Father was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and a poem from the book was shortlisted for a Forward Prize. Petit has worked as Poetry Editor of Poetry London and is a co-founding tutor of The Poetry School. She taught popular poetry courses in the galleries at Tate Modern for nine years, and currently tutors for the Arvon Foundation and Ty Newydd. She has translated poems by many contemporary Chinese poets and is widely travelled, in the Peruvian and Venezuelan Amazon, China, Nepal, and Mexico. She spent the first part of her life as a sculptor and trained at the Royal College of Art.
Michael Schmidt (mentor to Leo Boix)
Michael Schmidt OBE FRSL is a Mexican-British poet, author, scholar and publisher. Born in Mexico City, Mexico, Schmidt studied at Harvard and at Wadham College, Oxford University. He was Professor of Poetry at Glasgow University until 2014, and from 2012 to 2015 he was Writer in Residence at St. John’s College, Cambridge. He is founder and editorial and managing director of Carcanet Press and a founder and general editor of PN Review. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he received an OBE in 2006 for services to poetry. His literary career has been described as having “a strong sense of internationalism and cultural ‘connectedness’”. Schmidt refers to himself in his book Lives of the Poets as “an Anglophone Mexican publisher”.