In his own words, ‘JS Adams is amazing and writes stuff all the time’, though what he writes is usually science fiction. Inspired by his father’s interest in astronomy, he is a direct descendant of John Couch Adams, who single-handedly discovered the location of the planet Neptune in 1845 using only one calculation. Born in Portsmouth, and having failed miserably at school, the latest Mr Adams has ping-ponged in and out of colleges and universities for the last twenty odd years, studying computer programming, physics and more predominantly the creative arts. While earning a degree from South Bank (second lowest-ranked university in England), he lived in London and toured in a rock band to Manchester, Dublin and Austin, Texas.

While in London he experienced a creative spark which set him on to writing. He has penned several short stories and two science fiction novels, The Revolt of the Machines and The Recession Creatures, plus a treatment for a third novel called The Bulge. His other interests include campaigning for ecological sustainability, economic stability and  radical alternatives to the status quo such as a resource-based economy and unconditional basic income for all. His illustrations of a derelict Portsmouth, were part of an exhibition called Keeping Up with the Gardening, which took place in Portsmouth in 2013. Currently Mr Adams is working on props, sets and scripts for a self-funded TV series called Thundermaus. Find JS Adams here.

Vin Adams writes a variety of live performance material including plays, sketches, poetry and short prose. His poem ‘Rail (verb)’ was written for a T’Articulation event with the theme of ‘Gathering’. He is currently collaborating with the Southsea Shakespeare Actors on a new play about Portsmouth in 1642 called Besieged!; it follows the extraordinary but true machinations of Colonel Goring at the start of the English Civil War, and will be performed at the Square Tower in March 2019.

Dr Matthew Alford teaches film, media, and politics at the University of Bath and creative writing at the University of Portsmouth. In 2018, his first book Reel Power: Hollywood Cinema and American Supremacy (2010) was translated into French with a new introduction based on his latest research trip to Washington, DC. Matthew produced and presented a documentary feature film, The Writer with No Hands (2014; 2017), which premiered at Hot Docs, Toronto, and won three prizes at festivals worldwide. Matthew also writes and performs comedy.

Paris Ali-Pilling works as Star & Crescent’s Social Media Manager, is a Contributing Editor and also reports for S&C. Paris started volunteering for S&C when the website first started, doing some of the Administration. Paris then went on to the University of Winchester to study a BA in Early Childhood, Youth and Community Studies and Education Studies (Early Childhood) being awarded Upper Second Class Honours. Paris taught in nurseries for about 3 years (specialising in babies), before leaving education to start freelancing for S&C.

Dr Dave Allen was born and raised in Portsmouth and has spent most of his working life in the city. He was briefly a professional ‘pop’ musician and ever since an active semi-pro. He spent ten years as an art teacher in and around Portsmouth and after a period in arts education research in London, came home to work at the Poly/University. He retired in 2010 and divides his time between home, music and Hampshire Cricket, where he is the Archivist.

Jane Andreoli has had a varied career in the public sector always observing the human condition, and fascinated by it. She loves her garden which keeps her sane and reminds her that humanity is only the comic relief in a much larger universe.

Robert Angus is a writer and former student at the University of Portsmouth.

Barney Arathoon specialises in writing autobiography and has had several travelogues published in the London Magazine. In 2014, he published a full-length non-fiction book about playing the drums. Arathoon also enjoys screenwriting and hopes to direct a self-written short film in the coming months. He is a consulting writer in a Portsmouth-based film company that is currently in the early stages of its first feature, in which he is also eager to star. Arathoon eats to live and hopes to bring a youthful, hungry element to his gastronomic writing.

Patricia Arnold was born in 1926 and lives in Old Portsmouth. She writes poetry.

Diana Ashman worked within the NHS mental health/addiction service, taking early retirement with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in 2007, aged 54. She loves a challenge and a purpose in life. She wrote her first poem in 2009 and self-published two poetry books in 2016, using her own artwork on the covers. Her motto is PMA – Positive, Motivated Attitude.

Janet Ayers works as a freelance Community Artist. The main focus of her work is community singing having trained with the Natural Voice network in 2007 and founded Southsea Community choir in the same year. She uses singing, music making and dance /movement in a variety of different settings, encouraging participants of all ages to find their voice and realise their creative potential. Her work takes her across Portsmouth, Hampshire, West Sussex and London and has worked with the Alzheimer’s Society, BLF, Solent NHS, PARCS and Portsmouth Self-Advocacy. Since 2012 she has been singing and playing violin with various local bands including performances at Victorious, CarFest South, Winchester Hat Fair, Wickham, Brighton Swing Fest, Southsea Food Festival and lots of local festivals and events. When she’s not singing she’s drawing and printmaking at Omega Art Centre.

Joseph Aylmer is a Hampshire based writer. His interests include ecology, politics and systems theory.

Tim Backhouse was a tireless chronicler of Portsmouth history who researched and wrote about everything from local cricket in the nineteenth century to the city’s role in World War I. His websites include History in Portsmouth and Memorials and Monuments in Portsmouth.

Keith Baker has lived in Portsmouth since 1971. Since his retirement six years ago, he has taken up writing as a hobby. Keith belongs to the writers group The Writers at Lovedean and regard himself as a novice writer whose aim is to publish a series of children’s stories.

Victoria Baker, or ‘CiCi’ as she is known by her toddler niece, is a Portsmouth girl born and a Havant girl bred. Although now living in London, she lived in Southsea for a number of years, boxing for Portsmouth ABC and working in the dockyard.

Carolyn Barber works with a range of social care organisations as a researcher, project manager and practice supervisor. She is an experienced social worker, registered with the HCPC. As a serial social entrepreneur, Carolyn has been promoting good mental health and wellbeing in community settings for several years, and manages many of the projects developed by the Good Mental Health Cooperative in Hampshire. She is author of The Layperson’s Guide to Good Mental Health: Your A-Z for a Happier Life, and regularly delivers workshops related to good mental health and recovery.

Trudy Barber studied graphics and illustration at Salisbury College of Art in the 1970s and went on to study Fine Art at Central Saint Martin’s College in London during the 1990s. She has worked in traditional arts practice and also virtual reality. She has had several artist residencies including at National Power and Hampshire Health Authority in the 1980s. Her work has been shown in several exhibitions including the Millais Gallery in Southampton and the Lethaby Gallery in London. She was a semi-finalist for the Sky Arts Portrait artist of the year 2013. Since gaining her PhD at the university of Kent in 2005, Trudy has taught media and digital practice at the University of Portsmouth where she is now a course leader and senior lecturer.

John Oke Bartlett trained as an actor at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama and worked extensively in the professional theatre for ten years, performing principally in the West End and in repertory theatre. He subsequently lectured at Highbury and South Downs Colleges. During his teaching career, John published a number of plays with Stagescripts, which can be viewed here. John has directed many classic plays including Romeo and Juliet and Larkrise, one of the first productions to be staged at the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth after the fire that nearly destroyed the theatre. More recently, he wrote and directed Hess, a play about the conspiracy theories on Rudolph Hess and his flight to Britain during World War II. As a folk singer-songwriter, John was a founder member of Ramskyte and currently performs as part of the duo Wholehearted. His book of songs, Patterns in the Sand, is available from his personal website. John has also been working with The Portsmouth Shanty Men on a CD entitled The Tin Bath Sailor.

Anna Barzotti is a local writer. Since 2000, Anna has embarked on a number of freelance roles as an arts coordinator, creative writing facilitator, theatre performer and researcher. In 2011, Anna gained a Masters degree in Creative Writing and following this was commissioned to develop and deliver a range of writing workshops with Creative Future, an arts organisation in Brighton aimed at marginalised people. In 2016, Anna went to New York where she completed a certificate in screenwriting and since that time has written a draft for a 3 part comedy thriller and is working on a Portsmouth based screenplay that she plans to pitch at the London Screenwriting Festival in September 2018. In addition, Anna joined Autism Hampshire in November 2017 as a specialist mentor for Portsmouth University students on the Autism spectrum.

Denise Bennett, MA in creative writing, runs poetry workshops in community settings in Portsmouth. Her collections Planting the Snow Queen and Parachute Silk  are published by Oversteps Books. A pamphlet collection, Water Chits is to be published by Indigo Dreams. Read more of Denise’ work at Poetry PF.

Oriana Bevan is a student at the University of Portsmouth studying International Relations and Politics with a particular interest in Middle Eastern Studies, in particular Palestine. In her spare time she writes her blog, reads, runs and enjoys travelling.

James Bicheno is a writer of historical fiction and poetry and has dabbled in microfiction, short stories and scriptwriting. He holds a BA (Hons) in History, an Undergraduate Diploma in Literature and Creative Writing and an MA in Creative Writing. James has written two novels, one is the beginning of a series set during the Viking Age and the second is a standalone book set shortly after the Russian Revolution. He is currently seeking representation while writing his third novel, set in an alternative history. James keeps a blog called Read Through History.

Isabelle Bilton is a poet, musician, aspiring journalist and third year Creative & Media Writing student at the University of Portsmouth. She is the deputy editor of the opinion section of the student newspaper The Galleon. She has also been published in Pugwash Magazine, The Tab, Trash Arts and The Randwick Runner. She has written for the University of Portsmouth official blog since the beginning of her second year and has also kept her own blog since December 2014 in which she writes mostly about sexual health and education, mental health, university life and travel. She is heavily involved with local organisation Trash Arts who organise music, film and poetry events in and around the city.

Rachel Birchley has lived in Portsmouth for 25 years and is currently working on a hybrid of memoir, nature and urban landscape writing and social commentary. After a 15-year career in the public housing and homelessness sectors, she took time out to do a Creative Writing MA at Portsmouth University, passing with a Distinction and is now studying for a research PhD. She is passionate about finding and celebrating the nature that flourishes on our doorsteps – and in the places we least expect: abandoned, derelict buildings, alleys, wasteland and at the edges of the urban spaces where we live. Rachel also writes poetry and short fiction, which has been published in Body & Soul anthology (United Press Ltd), The Portsmouth News and City of stories 2020: Shortlisted entries from the Portsmouth Short Story Competition 2016-2019 respectively. In addition, she has also written music reviews for Louder Than War ( and written both individually and collaboratively with local and ecologically-focused writing groups Pens of the Earth, Tongues and Grooves and T’Tarticulation.

Sophie Bramley is in her third year at the University of Portsmouth, studying English and Creative Writing. This is her first publication and she hopes to have a career in writing fiction.

Rosy Bremer is 43 years old. She was born near Palmerston Road and now lives near the pitch at Fratton Park.  In between, she lived in Liverpool and in various temporary structures on Greenham Common.  Rosy is implacably opposed to war as a means of communication and nuclear weapons as a means of world domination.  She likes people from all over the world and spent seven years non-stop freeing people from arbitrary detention in Gosport.  She is now working in the University Library after having tried and failed to halt the decline and fall of the Public Library Service in Portsmouth.

Richard Brooks is a freelance author living in Southsea. His latest book The Knight Who Saved England is a biography of William Marshal (c.1147-1219), Earl of Pembroke, Regent of England, and a frequent visitor to Portsmouth.

Jerry Brown was born in Leigh Park, raised in London, and has lived in Southsea for a very long time. He worked in technology and management consulting, much of that outside the UK. He is the Chairman of the East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum, and helps to run a busy local Facebook page on Politics. He has founded and run a number of small businesses. A dedicated non-lycra cyclist, sometime musician. Jerry attends more public Council meetings than any other member of the public, and frequently streams them live on Facebook. His particular areas of interest with the Council are Transparency, Health, Governance and Transport. Jerry volunteers at a local church that provides a sit-down hot meal every week for those who want that, and helped organise and deliver indoor accommodation and meals for rough sleepers for the coldest eight weeks of the winter.

A published author, academic coach and former editor of The New Criminologist, Tony Brown is a practising hedonist who spends his days in constant pursuit of a sybaritic lifestyle. He is the current chairman of the Southsea Association , striving to raise people’s awareness of the town’s unique identity and its manifold needs. Follow the Southsea Association on Facebook.

Alan Burgess is a Portsmouth resident and activist, and works as the media officer for Unite the Community.

Sally Callow is a Portsmouth resident, M.E patient advocate with ME Foggy Dog and Managing Director of Stripy Lightbulb CIC, the only company to offer accessible e-training on M.E/C.F.S to professionals and their organisations.

Chris Campbell is a retired driver who now spends much of his time writing.

Andrew Carter is a 44-year-old Portsmouth resident, former pupil at St John’s College and graduate in History and Politics from Portsmouth University. Married with a young son, he gave up working for money in 2009 to become a “househusband” (the wife earned so much more than he did!) Two things he heartily recommends are cycling (with lights!) and leaving Facebook. He has been playing in the Portsmouth snooker league since 1990 and am ashamed to say have never had a century break. He also loves non-fiction (things which have actually happened are so much more interesting), and follows West Ham United and National Hunt racing avidly. Oh, and he is blocked from Donna Jones’ Twitter account. 🙂

Nick Cabuy is the Gaming and Technology Editor for The Galleon and has recently taken up Japanese in order to gain greater insight into the industry he loves. Born and raised in Germany, his passion for the English language has led to an early flight from the confines of his home country. He now enjoys life in Portsea whilst studying for a degree in Creative Writing and Film at the University of Portsmouth.

John Callaway has lived in Portsmouth since 1980. He has worked in the social care field throughout most of that time, having trained as a social worker when Portsmouth still had a Polytechnic. Photographer of sorts, interested mostly in landscape, place, derelict buildings, doors…and live music. Posts some of the better photographs on his blog ‘Ideas & Images from Portsmouth and beyond‘, and may occasionally write something to accompany them….usually informed by whatever is going on in the world around him at the time.

Dale M Chatwin is a writer of bizarre fiction, poetry, and short stories. His literary repertoire includes two novels, one poetry collection, and two short stories. He lives in Portsmouth and is currently working on his third novel and a new short story.

Sarah Cheverton is a freelance writer and researcher born and bred on Portsea Island. Her research work is based in arts and culture and women’s rights, and she works predominantly in the public and voluntary sector. Sarah is the Writer in Residence for Aurora New Dawn, a Hampshire charity working with victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence. She occasionally blogs for the Huffington Post and has contributed over 400 articles to feminist news site, Women’s Views on News.

Esti Chivite is a volunteer Contributing Editor on Star and Crescent, helping with social media management and also reports for S&C. Esti is currently doing her placement year with us, she studies at the University of Portsmouth doing her degree in BA Creative Writing.

Reg Chrettyn‘ is the pen name of Professor Sir Willoughby ‘Willy’ Montague ‘Ginger’ Featheringstone-Howe (Baron Featheringstone-Howe of Glumley), a man so upper-class that he has two nicknames. Featheringstone-Howe was educated at Eton College, where he won the Strafford and Bowman Shakespeare Prize, and at All Soul’s College, Oxford, where he completed a DPhil in late Victorian Decadent aesthetics. He was elected the youngest fellow of that college since 1527. He currently holds professorial chairs in English Literature at Oxford, Cambridge, Yale and Harvard Universities. He was made a life peer by the British government in 2011.

Lisa Churchyard is originally from Southampton and recently completed her second year of Media Studies at the University of Portsmouth. This is her first publication, which has inspired her to continue with creative and journalistic writing.

Barbara Claridge is now retired after a long career as a Hampshire Primary Headteacher, where outdoor learning was a passion. Wider experience includes short-term voluntary work in Ghana and Namibia (Primary Education Adviser) and with the British Council in Beijing and Pittsburg (International Headteacher Programme). In the UK, she is involved in voluntary community and environmental work and part of her year is now spent in Brittany gardening. She recently completed an MA in Wild Writing, Landscape and Environment (University of Essex).

Jordan Clarke is a local resident and Head Barista at Southsea Coffee Co. A regular cyclist, Jordan aspires to be a professional road racer. Follow him on Twitter and read his blog, I Ride Road.

Born and raised in Manchester, Siobhan Coleman has now left the north and is studying English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth. She loves writing satirically on topics such as religion, politics and gender inequality. This is her first publication and she intends to pursue a career in journalism.

Siobhan Coleman is a prose writer, critic and Creative Writing master’s student at the University of Portsmouth. When she isn’t reading nineteenth century literature, she spends her time writing scorching reviews. By her own admission, her ambition in life is to ‘criticise people for a living’. Her biting review of Fifty Shades of Grey is to be published in the first S&C anthology, Pompey Writes: The Best of Star & Crescent So Far. This distaste for erotic fiction will be reflected on in her master’s dissertation, How To Write Erotica, a feminist parody of the genre. You can follow her on Instagram.

TJ Coles is Director of the Plymouth Institute for Peace Research and the author of several books, including Human Wrongs and Union Jackboot.

Mick Collins is a published author and collector who, along with his wife, has published several books on collectable ceramics. He was born in Winchester and has lived both in Fareham and in Horndean but currently works in Portsmouth. He has had a lifelong interest in Art Deco cinema buildings and, when his local cinema in Fareham closed and was demolished, he sought out other similar buildings and discovered that a local Portsmouth architect was responsible for the design of a number of them. In 2010, believing that his book-writing days were over, Mick suddenly found another subject, in Art Deco cinema, worth putting pen to paper again. One of his other hobbies, photography, proved to be of immense use in the compilation of this and other publications. In his spare time, he enjoys keyboard-playing and listening to music.

Charlotte Comley is a writer, creative writing tutor and professional storyteller. Her fiction has been published by Ether Books, Darwin Evolutions, Flash Flood, Chuffed Books, Dagda Press and 1000 words.   Her non-fiction work has appeared in magazines such as The Green Parent, Take a Break, Woman’s Weekly, The Motion Online and Grow It. She has written and published ten educational resources books. Find out more about Charlotte at her website.

Maia Cook is a third-year student at the University of Portsmouth, studying Journalism and English Literature. She hopes to pursue a career in journalism or PR. She has a keen interest in human rights and social issues, and this is what she particularly likes to write and read about.

Cal Corkery is a Homelessness Support Worker working with disadvantaged and vulnerable young people in the city. Having grown up in Pompey he moved away to attend university but after graduating was drawn back to the city he considers home. Cal studied Politics and Economics at the University of East Anglia after previously attending Southdowns College and Priory Secondary School. His experiences of the social ills afflicting the communities in which he has lived and worked have instilled a strong interest in radical politics and social change. He is involved with several local activist organisations such as Portsmouth Against the Cuts Together (PACT) and Momentum Portsmouth.

Sue Cornell grew up in South London, studied English and Spanish at Stirling University and had a long career in education. She moved to Hampshire in 1995. An enthusiastic short story writer and poet, Sue enjoys exploring the countryside and coast with her family and dog.

David Cromwell is a Media Lens editor. He was born in Glasgow, studied natural philosophy and astronomy, then completed a PhD in solar physics. He worked at Shell in the Netherlands, then took on a research position in oceanography in Southampton. In 2010 he began to work full-time on Media Lens. He is the author of Why Are We The Good Guys? (Zero Books, 2012); co-author, with David Edwards, of two Media Lens books: Guardians of Power (Pluto Books, 2006) and Newspeak In the 21st Century (Pluto Books, 2009); author of Private Planet (Jon Carpenter Publishing, 2001); and co-editor, with Mark Levene, of Surviving Climate Change (Pluto Books, 2007).

Jon Crout is a Portsmouth native and resident with an enthusiasm for words and stories that saw him graduate from the University of Portsmouth in 2006 with a degree in English Literature. He regularly reminds his pub quiz colleagues that this does not mean he has read absolutely every book ever written. Brief opportunities to write are grabbed gratefully when work, family and fatigue align cosmically in unlikely ways. He has a very occasional blog, and has performed on stage at both Basin’s Dancehall in the Tricorn and the Gaiety Bar on South Parade Pier. As a boy he was winked at by the comedian Dave Allen in the toilets at Twickenham.

James Daly works for Portsmouth City Council’s Cultural Services team. He was part of the curatorial team that developed the new displays at The D-Day Story. He is also the author of ‘Portsmouth’s World War One Heroes’, ‘Portsmouth’s World War Two Heroes’ and co-author of the Portsmouth Paper ‘From the Fight for Britain to the Fight for Bread: Portsmouth and the impact of the First World War 1914-1925’. He grew up in Paulsgrove and studied History at the University of Portsmouth.

Scott Daly has lived in Portsmouth all his life, and is currently a student at the University of Portsmouth. His interests include history, literature and cycling.

Jackson Davies is a spoken-word artist and poet from Portsmouth. He has been writing poetry for over 20 years, but has only let other people see it in the last 3. He describes himself as a poet because he is far too embarrassed to be a 30-something, white, middle-class man and call himself a rapper. Follow Jackson Davies on Facebook.

Francis Davis is Professor at two UK universities and a regular contributor to BBC Radio Solent. He is a volunteer with the Portsmouth based Hampshire Festival of the Mind.

Julia Davey is a local author engaged in the arts and international charities.

Rob Dellow is a member of Hampshire Fire Brigade Union.

Karl R. De Mesa (Facebook profile here) is a veteran journalist and writer who has reported on stories in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Myanmar, and Singapore. His nonfiction books, Report from the Abyss and Radiant Void were finalists in the Philippine National Book Awards. De Mesa also co-hosts the fight culture podcast Dstry.Mnl and produces the culture and interviews podcast The Dead Drop. His newest book is Calling Out the Destruction—Meditations on Violence and Transcendence, a new compendium of nonfiction ranging from biographs, personal essays, to journalistic longreads. Karl narrates these stories of the savage and the strange, from fighters to celebrities to refugees, in the gritty gonzo style he’s been known for since 2013’s Report from the Abyss. Send an email to to buy a copy of the ebook.
When he’s not scribbling to put food on the table, Karl teaches Muay Thai for fitness and takes photos with his phone.

Portsmouth illustrator Owen Devine became a published author at the age of 26. His first folio of cartoons, Devine Comedy, aims to fill a gap in the market. The cartoons range from the whimsical to the dark and cover topics ranging from arachnophobia through to popular family word games. His work has been described as ‘sophisticated and professional humour worthy of any newspaper’.

Shonagh Dillon is a passionate advocate of women’s rights, who has worked in the violence against women sector in a number of roles both statutory and third sector organisations for over 20 years.  In 2011, she founded Aurora New Dawn in direct response to public sector cuts to the violence against women sector. Shonagh started the charity with a budget of nothing and six years on, Aurora has 15 members of staff, 25 volunteers and 10 contractors working across areas in the South East of England.

Shonagh won the Civil Servant of the Year Award 2007 and the services she has managed have won many national, international and local awards. In 2017, Shonagh received an award from Hampshire Constabulary’s Chief Constable for an innovative project she set up for domestic abuse victims, and Aurora New Dawn received a National Diversity award in 2015 for gender. Shonagh has recently started a Professional Doctorate at the University of Portsmouth; her focus is to make a difference to the violence against women sector and contribute to tangible change.

Tessa Ditner is a writer of fiction & non-fiction. Past and present writerly activities include: contributing editor of Skin Two Magazine, editor and creator of the Portsmouth Fairy Tales project, author of fashion romcom Charlie and the Latex Factory, blogger as Culture Kiddo, contemporary art reviewer for atractivoquenobello and the toughest one of all: hunk selector for Playgirl Magazine UK. For more info go to her website  or get in touch@CultureKiddo or at Tessa is also the current Portsmouth Literature Worker – join the facebook group here to be kept in the loop of upcoming writerly events.

Dianna Djokey is a SOCL (Strengthening our Common Life) trainee at the National Museum of the Royal Navy (Historic Dockyard), Community Advisor and Co-editor of the Voice of Diversity Blog. Follow Dianna on Twitter.

Sian Doherty is a second year Creative Writing student at the University of Portsmouth. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending quality time with her dog, exploring Russian palaces and listening to conspiracy podcasts. You can see more of her work here.

Gavin Dollery enjoys writing in his spare time and has spent most of his life living (and working) in and around the Portsmouth area. He is also a Pompey fan and enjoys attending matches when he can. Writer and blogger Nigel Horatio Norbit-Nelson claims to be ‘Portsmouth’s only true citizen’ for the sole reason that he was born here in the mid-80s and has never left Portsea Island since.

Laszlo Dumitrescu is a Romanian businessman who lives in Portsmouth. His essays have appeared in Dazed & Confused, New Statesman and Salon. Since submitting his work to Star & Crescent, he was arrested by counter-terrorism police on suspicion of plotting to shave UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage’s head, but was released without charge.

Susie Edmonds was born in Portsmouth and grew up on Hayling Island. After a 10 year stint in Essex, she was very happy to move back to Southsea where she belonged. She has passion for reading, writing, travel and all things Pompey. Follow Susie on Twitter.

David Edwards is co-editor of Media Lens and co-author with David Cromwell of the forthcoming Propaganda Blitz (Pluto Press, September 2018).

Helen Elliott is a born and bred Glaswegian poet, now living in Portsmouth with her ‘Pompey’ family. She has spent almost all of her working life to date in the Financial Services industry. In 2014 she decided to make a change and she is now studying Childhood and Youth Studies through the Open University. Her poems have featured in several anthologies and she will have 3 poems featured in a charity anthology, due for release this summer. The collaboration between The Poetry Forum and Dagda Publishing will aim to raise funds for JDRF (UK), a charity that is very close to her heart, following her son’s diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes back in 2012, age 19 months. Read more of her work at her blog, LittleladyPoetry.

Steve Evans is Portsmouth born and bred and a lifelong Pompey fan.

Charlotte Farhan is an international visual artist, a published illustrator, feature writer, the Editor and chief of ASLI Magazine and Managing Director and co-founder of Art Saves Lives International. Charlotte is an active campaigner and activist for many issues, such as mental health awareness, women’s rights, anti-capitalism, and anti-war and for breaking down rape stigma and fighting against rape culture. With her own mental illness Charlotte wants to prove that a person such as herself does not have to be deemed unemployable or incompetent as she works against the odds every day, speaking out about her struggles to break down stigma and show that mental illness is like any other physical illness.

Joan Farnell is Portsmouth born and bred but got the wanderlust quite young. She has lived in Switzerland, Pakistan and Sharjah. Writing became part of her life after retiring at 70. She joined the Writer’s Room, at Central Library, and has had stories published on Star and Crescent.

Jenifer Flintoft is the organizer for the Portsmouth & South Downs Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSDPSC), a local branch of the national Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which campaigns for peace and justice for Palestinians, in support of international law, human rights and working against racism. Follow PSDPSC on Facebook.

Tess Foley is an aspiring writer and an administrator at the University of Portsmouth where she previously gained her MA in Creative Writing. In 2013, she won the Live Canon International Poetry Competition, judged by Glyn Maxwell under whose guidance she attended a six week poetry class in London last year. Semi-idly working on a novel about alcoholism, she devotes most of her time to poetry on a range of subjects, including a long-term desire to become Brett Anderson of the band Suede and the grumpiness of cats. You can see more of Tess’ work on her website.

Lisa Foote is from Cornwall and studies Creative and Media Writing at Portsmouth University. She enjoys journalism and review writing for films, TV and books and has her own personal blog. She also loves to write fiction and uses the beautiful Cornish setting she grew up in as inspiration for lots of her work. She hopes to one day become a travel writer and explore more of the world.

Andrew Foster is a locally-based singer-songwriter.

Cathy Fox is an independent blogger and researcher based in the Portsmouth area. Her website primarily publishes ‘officially released historic reports on child sexual abuse’ and ‘relevant information obtained from Freedom of Information requests’.

Tee Francis is a therapeutic writing facilitator and lives in Dorset. She performs her poetry in the South West and runs workshops promoting well-being and creativity through the written word. Contact:

Having lived abroad for 10 years, Adam Gallie decided that Portsmouth would be the perfect place to settle down. Currently working as digital marketing support for Aurora New Dawn and LSI Portsmouth, he spends his weekends avoiding looking into a laptop by getting out and about with his daughter and wife around Southsea.

Amanda Garrie was a country girl at heart, until she joined the Portsmouth creative community, where she has finally found her tribe. Her previous lives have included a long term career, teaching English and Media, as well as working in Adult Education. She is an occasional lecturer at The University of Portsmouth, having gained an MA, with Distinction, in Creative Writing (2015), and is now undertaking a PhD in the subject. Her novel writing explores perceptions of reality, colliding mental health issues with world mythologies. She also writes short stories and poetry, much of which is based on personal experience. In addition, she is a performer on the local spoken word circuit and a founder member of the newly convened T’Articulation.

David E. Gates has published a number of books and short stories. He recently won first prize (gold) for The Roots of Evil and third prize (bronze) for Access Denied in the 2015 AuthorsDB Cover Contest, and has made a film about the First World War memorials in Belgium called YpresThe Battlefield Tours (available at David has previously written film reviews for Starburst and Samhain magazines and interviewed the likes of Clive Barker, Terry Pratchett, James Herbert and many others. He has also written a number of short stories, a full-length motion picture screenplay, a short film script and in his spare time hosts a rock radio show.

Angus Geddes is a writer and Palestinian rights activist.

Hannah Gibson is a poet and student at the University of Portsmouth who loves dancing and hates sweetcorn. She has a brain, organs and other various paraphernalia of the human experience which she occasionally shares on the internet.

Abigail Gilchrist and Jo Willoughby are members of Stair/Slide/Space, a Portsmouth based group of artists and curators that work collectively to foster research and concept-led artistic practice. They explore individual and collaborative ways of working, often conducting experimental visual conversations and supporting critical discussion. They aim to develop projects and opportunities for artists within their immediate and wider network whilst engaging with the wider ecology of our city.

Tamara Groen is a Portsmouth Green Party activist, the co-editor of the Shades of Green blog, and foster carer with Trinidadian heritage, Devon roots and a Pompey postcode for over a decade.

Mike Gumbrell is a 50 year old who was born and grazed, sorry, raised on Portsea Island. Mike works full time in Portsmouth, running a health care charity based in North End. Mike studies Politics, Philosophy and Economics with the Open University and has fond memories of ‘spare time’. Mike upped sticks from living in Buckland in 2015, and moved into the suburbs. Mike now resides over his new gentrified home in the rolling green and pleasant lands of Leigh Park. Born a cynic and having spent 50 years refining his skills Mike considers himself a patient and reasonable man, his only pet peeve is….writing about himself in the third person.

Dr Alison Habens is Course Leader for Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth. She is the author of Dreamhouse, Lifestory, Pencilwood and The True Picture, as well as academic articles, poetry and plays. She lives in an old church on the Isle of Wight and commutes to work by hovercraft. See her writing at,, and  @AlisonHabens

Christine Hammacott is a novel writer and graphic designer who started her career as a book designer for a publishing company. She has seen a lot of negative changes in the industry, but has become excited by the opportunities indie publishing now has to offer. Along with two writing colleagues, she set up a co-operative, called Pentangle Press, to self-published their novels. Christine’s debut novel The Taste of Ash, which is set in Portsmouth, was published in 2015. Christine has been a writer for twenty years and although she lives near Fareham, Portmouth is her ‘writing home’ having been member of Portsmouth Writing Group at Reginald Road Arts Centre for many years and now New Writing South Portsmouth Hub. Christine will be giving a talk with her Pentangle Press colleagues, Carol Westron and Wendy Metcalfe, on self publishing at the Portsmouth’s Bookfest on Saturday 27 February 2016.

Doug Hamilton was a staff writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the largest daily newspaper in the southern U.S. He wrote extensively on travel, music, movies, and cultural events. Doug has also written for various music and entertainment magazines. He’s an avid vinyl collector and is always on the hunt for more classic rock and soul records.

Mark Handley is an experienced singer/songwriter of over 300 original songs. He grew up on Hayling Island, and has gigged and busked all round the Portsmouth area for years. Mark is a troubadour and artist who puts his heart, soul and every penny he’s earned back into his music! Find out more about Mark over at, on YouTube, Facebook and on Mark’s Soundcloud and with his band, The Bone Idols.

Dr Stephen Harper is Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of Portsmouth. He has written dozens of academic articles and several books about literature, politics, film and television, focusing on the subjects of mental illness and military conflict. He is currently writing a book for Bloomsbury Press about the representation of the Bosnian war in cinema and television.

Sue Harper is Emeritus Professor of Film History at the University of Portsmouth. She has written many books and articles on British cinema. She now writes short stories, and is an enthusiastic member of T’Articulation and The Creatives at Teatray. Her collection of stories, The Dark Nest, is published by Egaeus Press. Her website is

Tom Harris is a writer of Middle Grade (MG) and Young Adult fiction whose tales of adventure and fantasy are always laced with a twist of humour and bathed in light and shade. In 2010, he returned to the University of Portsmouth to complete an MA in Creative Writing, where he graduated with Merit. Born in Birmingham, Tom now lives in Portsmouth and when he’s away from writing, you’ll find him working at the Students’ Union or playing cricket for USPCC. He is a proud member of the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub and has penned short stories for the anthologies Portsmouth Fairy Tales for Adults, & Octomorphosis. Tom has 3 MG titles available – The Amber Room, The Amber Antidote & The Amber Moon Part One: Of Shadows & Dragons. The final installment in his Wings, Wands & Weird Worlds series, The Amber Moon Part Two: Of Mosaics & Monsters, will be released in December 2017. Look out for news on his forthcoming YA steampunk-inspired novel The Sweep, coming soon in 2018.

Heather Hart was a regular reader at Tongues&Grooves Poetry and Music when it was held at The Florence in Southsea. You can read an obituary for Heather at Tongues&Grooves website.

Pauline Hawkesworth has written poetry since leaving school. First book published 1969, Dust and Dew, followed by Developing Green Films (Redbeck Press 1998), Bracken Women in Lime Trees (Indigo Dreams 2008), both from competitions. Another collection is due this year. High imagery and surrealism prioritise her work.

John Haynes is a poet, teacher, lecturer and winner of the Costa Award for Poetry 2006 and the Troubadour Poetry Prize 2007. John teaches creative writing for the Workers’ Educational Association in Portsmouth.

Rick Haynes was born in London and thoroughly enjoyed himself in the swinging sixties. Luckily, his nicknames of ‘Doughnut’ and ‘Onze’ disappeared once he moved. Having failed maths three times, he vowed that finance wasn’t for him, yet he ended up as a building society manager and loved it. He enjoyed the dance tunes from the 1960s and ’70 and it was no wonder that he became a DJ for ten years.

After so many operations to rectify 37 years of playing football, the walls closed in and he took up writing. His first two novels, Evil Never Dies and Heroes Never Fade, have received excellent reviews. Yet it was seeing his work compared to the great David Gemmell and a top USA blogger saying of Heroes Never Fade, Fans of Game of Thrones must read this bookthat gave him the greatest pleasure of all.

Rick has also published two collections of short stories and a collection of zany tales entitled Chocolate Chunks From Crazy Crete. When the first reviewer posted, ‘It landed on my Kindle this morning and I haven’t stopped laughing,’ it made his day.

He is currently working on a medieval novel entitled Outcast, to be published in 2018, his zest for writing continues. His website is here.

Abbie Headon is a freelance editor and writer, based in Southsea. Her books include Poetry First Aid KitThe Power of YesThe Power of No and LEGO Build Yourself Happy. Find Abbie on Twitter and Instagram at @abbieheadon.

Phoebe Hedges is a freelance writer and aspiring poet, currently working as a contemporary romance ghostwriter in between her studies at the University of Portsmouth.

Linda Hilborne comes from London. She has lived In Portsmouth since 1981 and currently works in adult education as a teaching assistant. She has been writing as a serious pursuit for six years, helped by WEA classes at her place of work and at Northern College, and she now writes and self-publishes occult fiction under two secret pen names.

Suzy Horton’s’s entire career has been in education in one way or another and she considers herself to be a teacher at heart. After graduating she started her teaching career as a Primary school teacher in East London; fortunate to have been in an inner city area with opportunities to engage with new teaching approaches, social mobility projects and (then) radical approaches to teacher training. After 14 years she was a non-class based Deputy Head in a large Primary school (650+), with a day release to work with East London University on teacher training and the pilot of a Foundation Degree for Teacher Assistants.

In 2003 she moved back to her home town of Portsmouth to take up a Senior Lecturer post at the University of Portsmouth teaching on a Foundation Degree in Learning Support. After 4 years she led on the writing of the BA in Childhood and Youth Studies and this ironically inspired her to leave and return to study herself so she took 2 years out to do an MA in the Philosophy of Education. After a brief flirt with training with a children’s charity doing NVQ teaching and assessments, she was tempted with a bit of political campaigning. This led to becoming a city councillor for Central Southsea ward and the Education spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats. She now combines being a councillor with part time lecturing at Portsmouth University and Vice Chair of Governors at Craneswater Junior School.

Catherine Jackson is based in Hampshire and had been visiting Portsmouth for events as long as she can remember.  Heading up a team curating a whiskey festival based in Portsmouth annually, it’s the perfect excuse for a day out by the seaside and to visit Southsea in the run up to the event and catch up with great friends along the way.

Award winning radio personality Robbie James broadcasts to over 40,000 people across the south coast every weekday between 3-6pm on Express FM. Robbie has chatted to some of the worlds biggest artists, DJs and personalities including Kaiser Chiefs, Lewis Capaldi, & Jason Manford. Robbie’s also worked with Capital FM, assisting the production of the Breakfast Show. He also DJs at some of the UK’s biggest venues including multiple freshers & student union gigs from St Andrews to Southampton to over 2,000 students. Robbie hosts a range of corporate and sporting events around the UK, and is a regular match day host at BT Murrayfield Stadium for Scottish Rugby and at The Ageas Bowl for Hampshire Cricket (including games broadcast globally via Sky Sports). He has also been heard on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, the BBC Sport Website & App & a host of BBC Local Radio Stations as a cricket commentator & football reporter, helped by his experience in being involved in the Hampshire Academy setup throughout his teen years. Robbie is an Ambassador for the Standing Ovation Project, a mental health based organisation.

Samuel H James (higgy_)  is a ‘digi-collage’ artist and has been writing, recording and producing music for 12 years. He has performed at events such as Southsea Fest 2016. You can find more of his visual art work on instragram under the handle @higgy_ and his music is available here, here and here.

Margaret Jennings is a writer of poetry, short stories and novels. Her novel ‘The Worry List’, was longlisted in the Bridport first novel award, and her poetry book, ‘We are the Lizards’ is available from the publisher here and at Waterstones and Amazon.

Scott Jowett is a PhD student (Sociology) at the University of Portsmouth and teaches Social Theory and Social Research Methods. Scott has over ten years experience working in the fields of homelessness, substance misuse and youth work across the city of Portsmouth.

Kieran Judge is a locally based author.

Liz Kays flash fiction has been published in print and online. When not writing, she is an NHS Occupational Therapist who strongly believes in the therapeutic power of creativity.

Chris Kennett has been campaigning for a better world for 20 years. This campaigning has taken various forms including direct action at events like  Climate Camp. For the last 10 years he has been an organiser of The Festival of Life in London and of the Portsmouth Summer Fair in Portsmouth. Together with other friends he set up the Portsmouth arm of Positive Money and has been running events about the monetary system for a number of years. He has also been running a Sustainable Energy Technologies Company called Veggiepower since 2005.

Annie Kirby is an award-winning short story writer from Portsmouth, whose fiction has been published by Bloomsbury and Comma Press among others as well as being broadcast on Radio 4. Her non-fiction work has appeared in The Guardian, Star & Crescent and Portsmouth News. Annie curated and edited the Arts Council funded Writing Edward King project and is currently funded by the Arts Council to research and write her first novel, which is about childlessness, mental health and fairytales. She is a mentee on the Penguin Random House WriteNow scheme for writers from underrepresented groups.

Megan Langdon is a student at the University of Portsmouth studying Creative and Media Writing. She has a love of novels, puns and history.

Judith Langridge studies English Literature at the University of Portsmouth, and enjoys engaging with and commenting on local events and politics, as well as asking herself big questions about life and philosophy. She is also the Reaction Editor for Portsmouth’s student newspaper, The Galleon, and at one point worked as an editorial assistant to a published Portsmouth writer.

Andrew Larder is a mature student at Portsmouth University, where he studies Creative Writing and Film Industries. He is living proof it is never too late.

Joe Larkin is a member of the Socialist Party in Portsmouth. An active trade unionist, Joe has been involved in the community led anti-austerity campaign Portsmouth Against The Cuts Together and an organiser for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. For more information about the Socialist Party in Portsmouth visit this page.

Helen Larham is a poet living and working in Portsmouth: contributing to poetry magazines, taking part in poetry workshops and performing her work at Tongues and Grooves poetry venue. Helen is always open to new poetic challenges.

Alice Lawrence is a writer and equestrian who holds a National Diploma in Horse Management and a foundation degree in Science in Equine Studies.

Christine Lawrence is an ex-psychiatric nurse turned author and spoken word performer whose fiction draws on real life experiences and local settings. She was one of the BookFest 2012 ‘Writers to Watch’. Since then, her shorter fiction has been featured in a variety of local anthologies and projects, including: Portsmouth Fairy Tales for Grown Ups (, the Writing Edward King project, the transmedia event Cursed City Dark Tide ( and Pompey Writes, the best of Star and Crescent ( In 2021, she facilitated a series of writing workshops as part of the ‘Libraries Connected ‘BBC Novels that shaped the world’ project ( Christine is a popular creative writing tutor, who is passionate about writing for well-being. She is also a founder of T’Articulation and a workshop leader for the environmental writing platform Pens of the Earth (

Beth Lewingdon is an Ancient History graduate from the University of Bristol with a specialism in mythology. She runs the @sandcpompey Instagram account and in her spare time likes to read and travel.

In their own words, I. L. Literate is ‘a soulless, derivate, mercenary hack absolutely in step with the neoliberal cultural climate of soporific pastiche, commodified nostalgia, artistic risk aversion and insipid liberal identity politics dressed up as radical chic.’

Zach Lockwood loves film. It’ll be a rare occasion when you don’t find him in a screening and actually doing something to benefit his degree. Living in Gosport and commuting to university, Zach Lockwood writes for the Galleon newspaper and his own personal blog, and hosts a weekly film review show on Pure FM whilst also studying for a BA Honours in Film and Creative Writing. Follow Zach on Twitter.

Becky Lodge is a small business owner at Little Kanga Ltd and is the Founder of StartUp Disruptors; a community of 2500 small business owners online that help each other to do more business. She is one of Sky News 100 Women, advocating gender parity in start-up and business both in the UK and globally and the Founding Director of Little Kanga Ltd a digital and creative agency for tech and digital companies and corporates.

Born in inner city Leicester in 1971, her grandparents were born in the mining valleys of south Wales and grew up shoeless, visiting soup kitchens in order to be survive as children. They worked hard and afforded her mother an education in teaching; allowing Becky to follow in her mother’s footsteps to advocate for sectors of society that may not have a voice. Becky was the first UK marketing mentor to be recruited by Faster Capital Venture Capital in the UK to provide mentoring and support to tech and digital/creative start-ups around the world. They are a Dubai based fund (please contact Becky for more details). Becky is also a Founding member of Notion Capital Venture Capital’s #FiftyFifty pledge to gain more parity in Venture Capital funding globally. She is an investor and mentor to fast, high-growth companies and is considered the flagship voice for start-ups in Portsmouth and the wider Solent area.

Founder and creator of both brands ‘StartUp Disruptors’ and ‘Hampshire Meet The Buyer’, she is a future thinker and innovator who is recognised as being the leading authority in Portsmouth for ensuring that the start-up and small business voice is heard whilst helping early-stage start-ups to succeed and thrive. Guest lecturer in operational sales management at the University of Portsmouth Business School and renowned international speaker on gender parity in STEAM markets, Becky has been described as ‘one to watch’ in business. A published author writing for a plethora of publications and business magazines, she has been featured on Sky News. You can read her articles on Star and Crescent, LinkedIn and Medium. Her book to help early stage start-ups to grow is available on Amazon (close to selling out again!) and is available for download on Kindle here.

You can find out more about StartUp Disruptors, how to join and support them, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and you can follow Becky over at LinkedIn.

Abigail Lofthouse is a Creative and Media Writing student at the University of Portsmouth. She is an aspiring journalist who writes on topics such as feminism, travel, politics, animal rights and environmental issues. She is the Copy Editor for both the university’s print publications, The Galleon and Pugwash Magazine. She has written and interned for many publications, such as: The Enquirer, The News, The London Magazine, Portsmouth Review and the National Union of Journalists’ magazine, The Journalist.

Francis Lovering is a Chartered Engineer who graduated from Portsmouth Polytechnic in the 70s and subsequently spent his career working on the design of process automation systems for a variety of large manufacturers. The first 24 years of this was spent at a company originally called CJB, which was a large engineering business that employed a lot of engineers and other staff and worked on projects around the world but was almost unknown in Portsmouth apart from among airport taxi drivers.

He is semi retired but he still runs his own small company providing software to clients around the world for designing the specialist software that controls the manufacturing of products such as chocolate, baked beans, insulin and chemicals.

Francis is a proud European and resident of Southsea where he has lived since arriving as a long haired student.

Lynne’s career combined her passion for early childhood development with an interest in inclusion and anti-racist practice. She has written national training materials for race equality and teaching English as an Additional Language.

Happily retired from teaching and advisory work, Lynne volunteers with Chat over Chai, King’s Church and Portsmouth Mediation Service; she sings with Tonic Ska Choir. She has just discovered craft beer which could become an obsession!

Lynne moved here from North London in 1974 and loves this city. She has two brilliant sons who have left Portsmouth and two daft ginger cats who have stayed.

Born in Glasgow, Justin MacCormack moved to Portsmouth to study film and media, and has now settled in the city with a collection of pet rats. Justin MacCormack’s first book, Hush! A Horror Collection reached the amazon bestseller charts, and was soon followed by the coming-of-age LGBT insanity-fest Diary of a Gay Teenage Zombie. His newest book, The Castle of Count Shagula, is published by Dark Desires Press.

Justin’s collected works have also appeared in Day of the Dead and Dark Urban, exploring themes of horror in the city of Portsmouth. MacCormack has given performances at both Halloween and Valentine’s Day Bookfest events in the city, and his hobbies include alternative cinema, comic books, screaming at clouds, and table-top gaming.

Simon Magorian is a left-wing political activist and campaigner, born and bred in Portsmouth. He is the local convenor of Stand Up to Racism and has been active in anti-fascist and anti-racist campaigning since the days of the Anzi-Nazi-League. Some people may know him from the campaigns against the EDL and BNP when they were attempting to get a foothold in the city. He has also been active in many campaigns on the left including LGBT and Anti-War activism. He is also an active blogger and writer.

Daniel Malice is a former University of Portsmouth student and a citizen of Norfolk. He has a unique passion for things that come on discs. Follow him on Twitter.

Fletch Mallory was born in Emsworth on the Hampshire/West Sussex border. Initially an Analytical Chemist, who enjoyed a sporadic tinkering with words, he took the plunge into full time writing after a redundancy package fell in his lap. After completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth in 2016, he penned Stranded Foxes, a collection of inter-linked stories published by 412 Press. Stranded Foxes is his debut novel.

Chris Martin is an art historian who has written about CRW Nevinson and other British artists active during World War I. He is also a poet and book reviewer. His collection of poems, Chicken Factory, was published by Peter Way in 1972 and his work has appeared in Poetry, Rare Book Review and the Journal of British Cinema and Television, and in various anthologies. He grew up in Wiltshire and worked as a librarian at Portsmouth University. He is currently secretary of Portsmouth Film Society.

Rikki May is a keen writer on the topics of mental health and wellbeing. He lives in Portsmouth where he works full-time for the University of Portsmouth in their Sport & Recreation department as a Recreation Assistant. It is Rikki’s goal to reduce the stigma often attached to mental illness through his writing, often reflecting on his own experiences, and through public speaking. Rikki has contributed work to the University’s student newspaper, The Galleon, as well as to UK mental health organisations Time To Change and Mind. Outside of this, his main interests are exercise and mixed martial arts.

Cathryn McCarthy is a life-long lover of words who has recently developed an all-consuming crush on poetry. Her writing features in Acid Bath Publishing’s Wage Slave anthology, Odd Magazine (September 2020), Floodlight Editions (October 27, 2020), and Versification (forthcoming, January 2021). She works in a museum and hold a PhD in Modern History.

Dale McEwan is a freelance journalist from Aberdeen. He recently collaborated with Portsmouth journalist Christine Lord for an investigative documentary about vCJD and how families of victims are still fighting for justice. He has also just completed a documentary he filmed during his travels in Iraqi Kurdistan. Follow Dale on Twitter at @dalesmcewan.

Piers McEwan is a writer and photographer currently based in Portsmouth where he was also born, on a balmy 1987 spring day. Primarily a travel writing enthusiast, Piers has since spread his portfolio to write on a number of topics including personal development, philosophy and observations on day to day life. He is also currently working on a debut coming-of-age novel due for release 2017. Piers is a fan of raw, honest and heartfelt art; the kind that could force you to drop a tear or two in an instant.  You can keep up to date with his work via his blog, One Thinking Man, or via Instagram and Twitter.

Ian McInally is a freelance photographer and live sound engineer based in Portsmouth. In recent years he has been photographing weddings, live events, and documenting social issues both in the city and further afield. For more photography from Ian, check out his website and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

Peter McIver is a local resident.

Hannah McKellar-Ricketts is a second year Journalism with English Language student at the University of Portsmouth. Originally from London, she has a keen interest in writing, presenting and video editing. Before beginning her studies at university she lived in Rome for several months and then went on to backpack around India, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore where she gained inspiration for travel writing and opinion pieces. Her articles have appeared in various publications such as Vice magazine and she has undertaken a multitude of work placements and internships at the BBC, Lonely Planet Traveller, Rough Guides, London Live TV and Dorling Kindersley publishers.

A journalist, editor and author since 1973, Barry McLoughlin has worked for local, regional and national newspapers and magazines, including four years as editor of Steam World, Britain’s biggest-selling historical railway magazine, and a spell as a parliamentary lobby correspondent at Westminster. He also spent ten years as sub-editor of the market-leading RAIL and Steam Railway magazines. He is the author or editor of sixteen books, on subjects ranging from railways to Oswald Mosley, and a Life Member of the National Union of Journalists. His stepfather was Freddie Worrall, one of the stars of Portsmouth’s famous 1939 FA Cup Final victory.

Wendy Metcalfe is a science fiction author whose stories explore feminism, environmental issues, and artificial intelligence. She loves big cats, and her stories often include them. She is a Director of Portsmouth Writers Hub Community Interest Company, Chairwoman of Havant and District Writers’ Circle, and was a creative writing teacher for over a decade.

Stuart Mills has lived in Portsmouth for the last 17 years, spending that time working in community development and then helping start up a new worker co-operative, Wild Thyme Wholefoods.

Laura Mitchell was born and raised in the Oxfordshire countryside. Currently she lives in Southsea while studying English and Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth. She enjoys running her own blog discussing a variety of subjects that attract her interest. Before moving to Portsmouth she volunteered for almost two years at Hospital Radio Reading, producing and presenting a two-hour weekly broadcast with the team. Though, at present, she has little time for broadcasting and spends a lot of her day hunched over the desk in her student digs typing out assignments.

Georgina Monk is a recent graduate of English and Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth, with a particular interest in journalism and autobiography. In her third year, she was the Deputy Editor of the student newspaper, The Galleon. Since graduating, she has started to run a book blog and is currently part of the Young Critics Scheme at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.

Rosy Moorhead is a features writer for Newsquest, covering the arts and entertainment in Hertfordshire, Middlesex and north London. She is the Features Editor of the feminist news site Women’s Views on News and Deputy Editor of Watford Area Arts Forum magazine. Rosy’s special areas of interest are art, culture, entertainment, feminism, writing and books, lifestyle and Buddhism.

Richard Morgan is a photographer and academic. He was the 2018 CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year and 2019 Sky Arts Master of Photography finalist. He has a PhD in the History of Ideas and his studies into Russian anarchism are to be published as a book with Routledge in 2021.

 Ian “Tiny” Morris grew up in the badlands of Gosport before abandoning the A32 in favour of life in Cosham. He spends his time between working as Senior Supply Chain Manager for a  pharma company and travelling the country as one of the top totally blind cricketers, playing for both Hampshire and Sussex. Strongly opinionated but willing to give a voice to the grossly under-represented caring conservatives. Ian is an easy spot around Cosham, he is the great big bloke with his faithful guide dog Gunner, if you see him be nice.

Jane Muir is a locally based writer.

Emma Murphy is a queer British freelance writer specializing in politics, travel, and entertainment. She is the co-editor of the Green Pompey blog and has a first class BA in Journalism from Edge Hill University with accreditation from the National Council for the Training of Journalists. Her claim to fame is that Barack Obama (yes, that one) follows her on Twitter and she’s never been sure why. She takes her coffee seriously and wears odd socks because life’s too short.
Liz Neal is a Portsmouth resident.
Sir Eugene Nicks MA, QC, KBE is Policy Adviser to the All-Portsea Conservative, Regressive and Imperial Association (established 1799). He was born at some point in the early part of the twentieth century but cannot remember precisely when. His hobbies include practical Social Darwinism and waving £50 notes in the faces of Portsmouth’s vagrants.

Stephanie Norgate lives in Sussex and is a Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester, where she ran the MA in Creative Writing for 19 years. Her radio plays have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4.  Her two books of poetry with Bloodaxe Books are Hidden River (2008, shortlisted for both the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize), and The Blue Den (2012).

Lucy Nother is a poet, writer and student. She was born in Portsmouth but grew up on the dark side in Southampton, and returned to her beloved hometown to pursue her dreams by studying creative writing at the University of Portsmouth. She has a love of music, literature and of course, writing.

Eleanor O’Donnell is a freelance writer and former Creative and Media Writing student at the University of Portsmouth.

Poppy O’Neill is a freelance author currently studying for an MA in creative writing at the University of Chichester. Poppy runs the monthly Portsmouth Writers Retreat for Writers’ HQ. Find out more about Poppy and her work over at her website.

Jon O’Pompi is a retired dockyard meat recycler, and maternal violin trainer. He has lived in all parts of the world, including Eastney and Copnor and is renowned for his 2014 one man circumnavigation of Asda. His time is spent these days picking flowers and twiddling his thumbs. Do not feed him after dark, and he is dangerous when wet.

Jordan Osborne is a writer and studying English and Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth. Jordan is Head of Culture at the university’s official student newspaper, The Galleon, and as part of the university’s self-employed placement scheme, has also just started running his own culture-focused website Vendor.

Jacqui Pack holds an MA in Creative Writing (Distinction) from the University of Chichester, and was among the winners of The London Magazine’s 2013 ‘Southern Universities Short Story Competition’.  She was shortlisted in the West Sussex Writers/Worthing WOW Festival’s Flash Fiction Competition, and awarded a Highly Commended certificate at this year’s Winchester Writers’ Festival.

Elizabeth Palmer is a second-year student studying Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth. She hopes to pursue a career in journalism or teaching and enjoys writing horror and fantasy fiction in her own time. Elizabeth has her own writing blog here, that includes her work on articles, short stories, reviews, and autobiography.

Bruce Parry has been writing poetry, prose and observational short stories since 2005, following in his late father, Emlyn Parry’s, footsteps. Bruce enjoys writing to paint pictures in words in both serious and comical contexts. A keen fan of open mic spoken word, Bruce has joined Petersfield Write Angle and The Writers@Lovedean to improve his work.

Anne Paton-Cragg has lived in Portsmouth longer than anywhere else and has adopted it as her home town. She has published, as Anne Paton, in the field of English Language Teaching, where she edited a key handbook on teaching English to migrants. For the last three years she has been free to write fiction, drawing on travel experiences, and also a lifelong fascination with myths and folk tales. She has been shortlisted for several writing competitions, and has just completed a cycle of linked stories referencing and reinterpreting traditional folk ballads. She is now writing a set of stories about Ranulph a Southsea-based wolf.

Conor Patrick is an American writer living in the heart of Southsea. His fiction has appeared in literary journals in both the United States and the United Kingdom. His debut collection of short stories, Goodbye Crocodile, was published in 2013. He runs a free local writing workshop under the moniker Portsmouth Creative Writing, plays father to two nefarious white cats and is engaged to marry a blonde who’s far too good for him.

William Payne is 18 years old, previously lived in Gravesend, Kent, and recently moved to Portsmouth to study BA Honors Journalism at the University of Portsmouth. From a young age, he always loved playing and watching rugby, and rugby has always been a big passion of his. In his spare time William enjoys playing rugby, running a blog, socializing and reading. He has joined the S&C team to build towards a career in sports journalism.

Claire Pearse is a 20 year old Creative and Media Writing student at the University of Portsmouth. Born and raised in Essex, she has a passion for media writing and aims to pursue a career in the media. She enjoys writing about her interests, including LGBT+ rights and aspires to educate audiences through her writing.

John Pearson is a chiropodist, artist, musician and poet born and bred in Portsmouth.

Son of a naval transport driver and a Tyrolean mother who arrived in England shortly before World War II, Richard Peirce was born in Gosport one month before the birth of the NHS. With a varied education including electrical engineering, teacher training and psychotherapeutic counselling, he has taught mathematics and numeracy in Portsmouth and Hampshire for more than forty years. A teacher, trades union activist and poet, he has travelled in Western Europe, Russia, Turkey, Thailand, the Philippines, China (for afternoon tea), Tanzania, Kenya, the USA and the Isle of Wight. From its birth in 2003, until its end, he supported Southsea’s much missed Tongues and Grooves Poetry and Music Club with hosting and performance. His poems have been translated and performed in Romanian and Spanish.

His favourite pastime? Walking the hollow lanes of the South of England or snorkeling off the pristine beaches of Palawan and Camiguin. One day he will pause to update his travel blog. Having become a great fan of the slow journalism of Paul Salopek, he realises that he has to speed up just a tad.

Tom Phillips is a freelance writer and lecturer. His work encompasses poetry and theatre, journalism and travel writing, and has been published in a wide variety of magazines, anthologies, pamphlets and in a full-length poetry collection Recreation Ground (Two Rivers Press, 2012). His plays include Coastal Defences (Brewery Theatre, Bristol, 2014), 100 Miles North of Timbuktu (Alma Tavern, Bristol, 2013) and I Went To Albania (Ferment, Bristol Old Vic, 2012). He is co-founder of Anglo-Bulgarian online visual art/poetry project Colourful Star and of an informal network of writers and artists across SE Europe and the UK interested in translation and collaboration.

Eileen Phyall lives in Southsea. She enjoys writing and performing short stories and poetry. She has recently become a member of Pens of the Earth and is a member of Portsmouth Writers Hub, Front Room Word and a committee member of T’Articulation, where she helps to organise and take part in spoken word events. She has written for projects across the city, such as the 200th celebration of Dickens and the Gallipoli Centenary. Currently her poem The Dockyard Gate can be found in a short film on the New DarkSide PortSide trail. Eileen formed TeaTray Creatives. This year it meets weekly for fellow writers to read, and give and receive feedback in a friendly environment.

John Pilger is an award-winning journalist and documentary film-maker. You can read and watch his work at his website and follow him on Twitter.

Steve Pitt has been a cultural activist in Portsmouth for a number of years, working as a theatre director, music programmer, event organiser, agent and tour manager. He studied earned a degree in Political Studies at Portsmouth Polytechnic. After leaving the venue he helped run for 18 years, The Cellars at Eastney, Steve has returned to his political roots and is currently the Liberal Democrat candidate for Central Southsea Ward, whilst still working part time as a music agent.

Sindy Prankard was born and raised in Portsmouth and currently lives just outside the city in Denmead with four of her six sons. She is a mature student in her second year at Portsmouth University where she is studying Creative Writing and Film Studies. Sindy completed her first novel, a thriller called Every Breath just before she started university and is in the process of sending it out to agents. She appreciates it is a very tough and competitive field, but if nothing else it helped secure her a place on the degree course which she thoroughly enjoys.

Kathleen Price was born in Portsmouth in the early years of World War II. Following her school years in Portsmouth she trained as a nurse in London. Her career since then has been in the field of health. After nursing in New York, USA and London, Kathleen went with her husband to Yorkshire where her career progressed to Health Visiting, then subsequently, following teacher training, she became a lecturer in nursing and sociology. Kathleen is now retired in her home town of Portsmouth after much world travel.

Emily Priest lives in Southsea and is working on her novel Metamorphosis. She has worked at Unity 101 and Itchen College radio stations. Her writings have featured in anthologies and in 2017 she won a young journalist award. She has also done work in social media and marketing at Trash Arts and Tricorn Books.

Instagram: @emilypriestwriter
Twitter: @emilypwriter
Facebook: @emilypriestwriter


Tarn Prothero was born and raised in Portsmouth but lived in Spain for three years where she managed to pick up her pidgin Spanish! She has worked in many places in Portsmouth, including a local senior school as a Dyslexia Intervention Specialist and the Historic Dockyard. She is very proud of the city and its rich history and have been known to drag people on ghost walks and pub crawls to follow the routes of the old Arundel-Portsmouth Canal and the Southsea railway line. Tarn enjoys writing fiction and has more time to do so now that her children are older – but she can’t decide whether she is happier writing humorous stories or very dark ones.

Gina Pruett is a DVA Car Advocate for Aurora New Dawn, working frontline in Hampshire to support and advocate for victims and survivors of Domestic Abuse while working in partnership with Hampshire Police by attending incidents at the point of crisis to engage victims and survivors at such a vital time. Graduated with a BA Honours in Criminology with University of Winchester in 2018, her dissertation focused on the lived experiences and perceptions of the impact of Non-Violent Resistance for those facing Abuse in the context of Adolescent to Parents. Currently studying for MSc in Applied Criminology.

Tanzeela Rahman is an aspiring journalist, currently doing her GCSEs at Springfield School in Portsmouth. From September, she will be doing A Levels in Portsmouth College for Media Studies, English Language and Sociology. She has an article published for The Portsmouth News and will be returning this summer to possibly publish more work.

Documentary filmmakers, James Rattee and Linda Mason began working together, making films for charities, universities, theatres and prisons. Then in 2016 they founded Egg and Spoon Films. Their films have screened at various festivals. They love stories, people and places.

Rose Rayner is 67 with two grown up children and two grandchildren. She retired from the NHS about six years ago and promised herself that she would write in my retirement because it’s something she had always been interested in (a few years before he died her partner Martin paid for her to do a Creative Writing course evening class at Highbury College. It was a wonderful birthday present). She was born and bred in Portsmouth but did live away from here for a few years because of her first husband’s job. She spent the whole time being terribly homesick and vowed never to move away again once she
returned. In addition to writing she loves swimming, needlecrafts, good films, books and tv, looking after the grandchildren, winter drives along Southsea seafront and pottering in her home and garden.

Gareth Rees experienced Southsea as his village, or as a camping place on his greater journey to the Land of Peace of Mind. He got inklings of that destination when he looked at the crocuses adorning the lawn surrounds of Portsmouth cathedral. The son of a Welsh clergyman, he has travelled throughout the US and Europe. Through a foundation that he later suspected of being a front for MI6, he got a job on an Israeli kibbutz at the outbreak of the Six Day War. He went on to be arrested in Baghdad, toil on a Libyan oil camp during the Qadaffi era and teach music at a secondary school in Gosport before working as a cleaner at a naval base. Gareth published a collection of his writing, Read Rees, published by 137 Albion Road. Sadly, he passed away in 2018.

Sian Rees is a self starter and graduate of World Philosophies and Music from SOAS university. Sian uses creativity to work towards social change through videography, travel writing and music and arts events. Her principal aims are to build and strengthen cultural awareness and celebrate diversity through storytelling and music sharing. Sian was born and raised in Southsea, Portsmouth and daughter to the late Gareth Rees, a former Contributing Editor at S&C. Sian has worked in various positions in Portsmouth before studying as a mature student in London and is now working on building her travel journalism channel on Youtube whilst in Mexico.

Katie Roberts is a writer and student at the University of Portsmouth studying Creative and Media Writing. Katie enjoys writing satire, fiction and poetry as well as reporting on social issues. She also has her own blog and podcast.

Sue Roome is a former soldier and locally based writer.

Anna Ryan is an English and Creative Writing student at the University of Portsmouth. She is a regular contributor to the University of Portsmouth’s newspaper The Galleon. In her free time she enjoys reading and writing with a nice cup of tea.

Roz Ryszka-Onions is a full-time novelist currently working on her sixth title. Her previous novels include Hidden Evil, Deceit in May, Foam and a volume of short stories. Coming soon is The Easter Bunny and a Bottle of Cointreau. She was born in Manchester and studied German and Politics at Salford University. After obtaining her degree she trickled down to the south coast, first to work in Stoke editing computer manuals, then London in media sales and finally co-run a small cosmetics company with her husband in West Sussex. She now lives and writes in Hampshire with her husband, daughter and three warring house bunnies.

John Sadden was born and bred in Portsmouth. He is a writer and local historian who has published many books about the Portsmouth area, including The Portsmouth Book of Days and Keep the Home Fires Burning. He is also the compiler of The Hampshire Index and, under the nom de plume John Sedden, the author of the novel Mudlark (Puffin), set in Portsmouth during the First World War and described by The Independent as “expertly paced…gripping and entertaining”. A qualified teacher and librarian, he currently works part-time as an archivist for Portsmouth Grammar School.

Helen Salsbury ( writes complex, character-based novels which explore relationships and landscapes – the more dramatic, spectacular and beautiful the better! They are based on journeys towards self-discovery and healing. Her debut novel Sometimes When I Sleep ( explores the intense and somewhat troubled relationship between its two main characters, Harriet and Iquis, and reveals what it will take for them to break free of the chains of their pasts.

Helen has been longlisted for the Mslexia novel competition and shortlisted for the Impress Prize for New Writers. Her short stories have been published in a variety of anthologies and listed in a number of competitions. Her Writing Edward King short story, Persephone in Winter’ (, was recently republished by Fairlight Books. She is a spoken word performer, community journalist and the founder of local environmental writing project Pens of the Earth (

Richard Salsbury is a novelist and award-winning short story writer based in south-east Hampshire. His work has appeared in Artificium, Writers’ Forum, World Wide Writers, Portsmouth News, Flash Fiction Magazine and a number of short story anthologies. BBC Radio have featured his satirical material in Newsjack. He also brews his own beer and writes a regular blog for the Southwick Brewhouse.

Simon Sansbury was born six weeks early in Portsmouth, and has never knowingly been early for anything since. As a child created the (frankly Dr Who rip off) Adventures of Stephen Brown with his school friend Stephen Launay – a sci-fi series with cheap sets, wobbly acting and even cheaper writing. In the grown up world he has worked in food retail and the energy industry, most recently in change management. A passionate interest in politics and learning from people he disagrees with led Simon to be a candidate in the local elections in 2019. Outside of reality, he has abandoned and written many scripts for stage and screen, and is currently editing his first novel while dabbling in marketing on social media. Simon is the ‘yellow’ half of the Pompey Politics podcast with co-host & brother-in-law (and very Tory) Ian ‘Tiny’ Morris.

Cat Sawkins is 36, lived in Bedhampton until she was 16, then moved to Southsea with her mum and her partner. She attended South Downs college before studying at Chichester University for a BSc in animal science and welfare.  Cat worked in Southsea as a veterinary nurse for some years before making a random decision to leave and head to Australia alone. She lived and worked there for 2 years before going to Colombia and teaching English for a few months, before moving to Ireland 10 years ago. She had made many Irish friends in Australia, her nan was from Ireland and Cat still had some relatives there, and she had spent a few childhood holidays in the country. She is unsure if she will stay in Ireland, but time, as ever, will tell!

Maggie Sawkins lives in Portsmouth where she has organised the Tongues & Grooves Poetry and Music Club since 2003.  She began writing poetry at the age of nine and had her first poem published in ‘Hampshire Poets’ when she was seventeen. Her poetry collections include Charcot’s Pet (Flarestack), The Zig Zag Woman (Two Ravens Press), Zones of Avoidance (Cinnamon Press), and Many Skies Have Fallen, (Wild Mouse Press).  In 2014 she won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for her live literature production, Zones of Avoidance, which has been performed at literature festivals and theatres throughout the country. Maggie runs creative writing workshops in community and healthcare settings. Her most recent projects include the Penned-Up Literature Festival at HMP Downview, and workshops for asylum seekers in Portsmouth as part of the Journeys International. Visit Maggie’s website at:

Lucy Schorn is a writer, feminist and mum, born and brought up in Portsmouth. She started the feminist blog Savage Fringe and is passionate about the rights of women and the lgbtqi community. She used to have a very tidy lawn but that’s another story.

Clare Seek currently leads the local Plastic Free Portsmouth campaign, linked to Surfers Against Sewage. She’s never been on a surf board in her life, but is passionate about everything on our amazing planet. She loves life and wants her own children and all future generations to live gently with all around them. She tries to walk the talk and has journeyed with less and less plastic (and other stuff) over the past eight years or so.

Professor Deborah Shaw is Professor of Film and Screen Studies at the University of Portsmouth, and Research Lead for the School of Film, Media and Communication. Her research interests include transnational film theory, Latin American cinema, film and migration, and screen studies and gender and sexuality, and she has published widely in these areas. She is the founding co-editor of the Routledge journal Transnational Cinemas (now Transnational Screens), and her books include Contemporary Latin American Cinema: Ten Key Films, (Continuum Publishers, 2003), The Three Amigos: The Transnational Filmmaking of Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Alfonso Cuarón, Manchester University Press (2013). Co-edited books include The Transnational Fantasies of Guillermo del Toro. Palgrave Macmillan, (2014), and Latin American Women Filmmakers: Production, Politics, Poetics, I.B.Tauris (2017), and Sense8: Transcending Television Bloomsbury Publishers (2021)

Deborah has spoken at many international conferences, and delivered keynote lectures in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Colombia. She has been an invited speaker at Universities in the UK, Spain, Brazil and the United States.

Deborah has written articles that have been published in The Conversation, The Independent, The New Zealand Herald, Newsweek, SBS, Pink News, The Huffington Post and Byline Times. Her work has been widely cited in international media outlets.

Rebecca Shaw is a Creative Writing student at the University of Portsmouth.

Tina Shaw graduated in 2012 with a Degree in English and Creative Writing from Chichester University at the grand old age of 60! She is an amateur artist who exhibits her work in the Hampshire area. She has had a long love affair with poetry and writes when she is inspired.

Tom Shaw is a resident of Portsmouth and studying law at Portsmouth university. He loves the city and aims to make the most of the environment around him; from swimming in the sea, running on the seafront to exercising on the common with ‘Portsmouth Outdoor Fitness’. He regularly enjoys undertaking challenges, recently completing a 142 mile charity bike ride, and has the Great South Run coming up next!

Tim Sheerman-Chase is the Green Party candidate for Fratton ward in 2019, a local air quality campaigner and the author of the #LetPompeyBreathe blog.

Lauren Sherry is originally from London and is currently in her third year at the University of Portsmouth, studying Creative and Media Writing. This is her first publication as an aspiring journalist and writer, and some of her other interests include photography, travel and creative aspects of industries.

Sue Shipp holds an MA in Creative Writing (Distinction) from the University of Portsmouth. Her short stories, flash fiction and poetry has been published in various anthologies, the Portsmouth News and Star & Crescent. Sue is a member of the spoken word group T’Articulation and The Portsmouth Writers’ Hub.

Shelagh Simmons was born, brought up and still lives locally. She spent most of her working life in the public and voluntary sector. For several years she was involved in a campaign against the death penalty in Caribbean countries. A strong opponent of the US/UK invasion of Iraq, Shelagh’s comments were included in the Parliamentary Inquiry into Foreign Policy Aspects of the War Against Terrorism. She has occasionally troubled the letters page of the Portsmouth News. Shelagh is currently in her second year reading English and Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth. She loves reading, writing, travel and living by the sea.

Rebecca Slack is a second year Creative and Media Writing student at Portsmouth University with a love for travel, writing, socialising and all that life has to offer. This is her first publication in a Portsmouth website.

Andrea Smikle is a student at the University of Portsmouth studying Creative and Media Writing. In her spare time she is a blogger, lyricist and copy-editor.

Michael Smith is a writer and musician hailing from Portsmouth. From a young age, he aspired to be a musician. His influences include Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello. Yet it wasn’t until he began writing his own songs that Michael’s love of music and literature combined. This led him into writing his own fiction, in the form of the short story and creative non-fiction, with literary journalism. His work comes from the perspective of creative and critic, and is heavily involved with music and its role within society. Michael also has a blog – Subterranean Homesick Blog – which he regularly updates.

Sue Spiers’ poem ‘Fanny Farts’ is in the Bloodaxe anthology Hallelujah for 50ft Women. Her collections Jiggle Sac and Plague – A Season of Senryu are available from Lulu. She has poems on ink, sweat and tears and in South, Under The Radar, Orbis and Prole magazines.

Emma Stanisforth is a lifelong resident of Portsmouth and a Military Veteran. When Emma left the Army she learnt how many Veterans are at risk of becoming homeless. She joined Helping Hands Portsmouth as a volunteer last year to help the homeless where she can.

Sue Stokes loves Southsea so much she raised her family here rather than London or elsewhere. Working with the Partnership’s Business Champions she met visionary community leaders; officials at the council; and professionals with a genuine understanding of ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’, and in the social reforming days of the noughties, worked in Hampshire delivering the Children’s Fund and Children’s centres, which wrap care around families like all good communities should, and are sadly diminishing in areas who need that extra support. Currently her family are reviewing whether to relocate out of the city. Yet with open eyes and ears to local friends and colleagues, they anticipate greater local investment in their community where people have a passion for the city and the generosity to share. Sue has returned to study aged 55 in the school of childhood and continuing studies and is in her 2nd year of a BA Honours in Childhood and Youth with Psychology, with the view to increasing her understanding of people and the issues which they face.

Irene Strange is a self-taught artist, writer, poet, and broadcaster at AFBA (Aden Forces Broadcasting Association) in the 1960’s whilst living as an Ex-pat with her late husband in several Middle East countries. In Benghazi, Irene was part of the International Women’s Society and a columnist and photographer for the Daily Benghazi Times, where she covered an art exhibition from renowned artist Christine Savalas, mother of the late Telly Savalas. She has organised art exhibitions around Portsmouth, including in the Central Library and former restaurant, La Parisien, and served as a Southsea Town councillor from 2001-2009. Irene is a contributor to the Portsmouth News, resident poet for Southsea Green Community Garden, and an active member of the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub. She has also been a contributor to the Typewriter Tales events in Southsea.

William Sutton is a novelist, musician and Latin teacher living in Southsea, and dedicated to redistributing his Surrey teaching income into the Portsmouth cafe economy via the medium of cake. His historical mysteries are published by Titan Books. Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square unearths the stink beneath the cobblestones of Victorian London. Lawless and the Flowers of Sin dallies amid a different kind of dirt, while the latest Lawless & the House of Electricity tackles Europhobia, immigrant panic and mental health issues in a gothic country house. William writes for international magazines about language, music and futurology, delivers workshops in Creative Writing, Greeks, Romans and Victorians, and plays accordion with chansonnier Philip Jeays. He has written for The Times, for radio and stage, acted in the longest play in the world and played cricket for Brazil. on Facebook and on Twitter.

Jaelithe Swan is a final year University of Portsmouth student who loves writing, sports and travel, and is originally from the New Forest.

Dyanni Swhyer-Brown is a South London-born student studying Creative and Media Writing at the University of Portsmouth. In 2013, she published short stories in a secondary school anthology and continues to pursue writing through her blog. She hopes to be a full-time children’s fiction writer in the future.

Simon Sykes is the co-editor of the travel books, No Such Thing as a Free Ride? (UK and North American Editions), and The Hitchers of Oz, as well as Fog in Channel.., a book exploring the UK’s relationship with Europe. For some years Simon was responsible for cultural integration, process re-engineering and communications programmes within the first ever Franco-British commercial joint venture. Simon is an occasional freelance specialist in the integration of joint ventures in the European construction sector. He is also a translator, editor, lecturer, musician, designer, carpenter and boat builder.

Born and raised in Portsmouth, Dr Tom Sykes is a writer, editor, journalist, literary historian and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth. He is Co-founding Editor of Star & Crescent and a regular contributor to Private Eye. His other journalism has appeared in The Scotsman, New Statesman, Daily Telegraph, New Internationalist and many other titles. His book of reportage on the Philippines, The Realm of the Punisher: Travels in Duterte’s Philippines (2018), received positive reviews from the Times Literary Supplement and The London Magazine. His next book will be Imagining Manila: Literature, Empire and Orientalism (Bloomsbury, 2021). Tom’s personal website is here.

Moshe Tasky is a freelance photographer with connections to Portsmouth.

Anne Taylor is a mature graduate of Business and Management from the University of Portsmouth. Anne has lived and worked in Portsmouth for 20 years, after relocating from Guildford, Surrey.

Lyn Tiller is the Community Projects Manager for Aurora New Dawn managing the volunteer service, The Aurora New Dawn DVA Cars™, the Stalking Service and the Athena Programmes (working with female offenders in HMP Bronzefield and HMP Peterborough that have experienced DVA).  Lyn has worked in the VAW sector for 12 years. She is also a Person-Centred Counsellor and an accredited ISVA.

Suzanne Toogood has written prose and poetry over a long period, benefitting from the rich source of workshops and poetry venues abounding in Portsmouth City. She is a member of the Voices from The Kings writing group.

Toxic Buddha became an official YouTube partner after some of his videos started to hit thousands of views.  He was later recruited by a talent scout for Total Gamer Network (TGN) who are part of Broadband TV.  TGN are the second largest Multi-Channel Network (MCN) on YouTube, second only to BroadBand TV and as they’re run by gamers for gamers it seemed the most logical fit. Toxic streams video content via his Twitch channel and YouTube channel. He has been an active community member of the ever awesome since he joined in early 2011. He is also an official partner to Green Man Gaming,, and NoScope Gaming Glasses.

Toxic invented the question mark and the letter ‘Y’ on a Thursday (which he also rebranded from Thorsday as it made people sound like they were from the West country).  Toxic Buddha is the favourite alternative to both the Holy Trinity and Lucifer, Morning Star and requires the same level of obedience and constant worship. You can also find Toxic Buddha on Twitter.

Kelly Turner is a student at the University of Portsmouth. She spends her free time writing, particularly poetry. She hopes to have a career in journalism, but also has an interest in the film industry.

Claire Udy is an independent socialist councillor in the Charles Dickens ward in Portsmouth. When she’s not agitating and organising, she’s found either at university as a mature media undergrad or at home playing video games.

The son of a Portsmouth policeman and the grandson of a Portsmouth headmaster, Guy Walker was born and bred in the city. He runs a Modern Languages Department at a secondary school in the city. Some of his poems were recently published in the New York-based Columbia Literary Journal‘s online arm Catch and Release. His blog includes essays, opinion pieces and poetry. He lives in Southsea with his muse, Charlotte.

Paul Valentine is Star & Crescent‘s Art Correspondent who mainly reviews books and classical music. He is currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth. Paul has been a trustee at NSUN (National Survivor Union Network) and a peer advisor and governor at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. He is also a keen environmentalist and gardener.

Dr V Wagner is a local NHS doctor. EU-trained, she has worked in Portsmouth for over fifteen years. She enjoys the seaside and (sometimes) the British weather.

Damon L. Wakes was born in 1991 and began to write a few years later. He holds an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester, and a BA in English Literature from the University of Reading. He is the author of Ten Little Astronauts, Face of Glass, and over 200 works of flash fiction. He has also written for games including the award-winning Spoiler Alert and Craft Keep VR. The overwhelming majority of his work can be read online, and the best place to get hold of it is

David Walker is a former Portsmouth University student. He now runs Grid Law Solicitors. Representing small business owners and entrepreneurs, he specialises in contracts, disputes and intellectual property issues, particularly issues relating to brand protection.

Maddie Wallace is a freelance writer from Southsea and is studying a PhD in Creative Writing and Literary Theory at the University of Portsmouth. She also blogs about breast cancer and parenting, and is a single parent with four children, three of whom still live at home and do their utmost to provide distractions from her workload.

Chris Walsh is a Havant-based writer and science fiction fan.

Richard Warburton settled in rural West Sussex four years ago after two decades in London selling wine and working in the city. His interest in art was sparked by winning the National Gallery’s poetry competition under thirteen category. The verses, based on a work by Turner, have thankfully been lost. He is currently writing a western and a radio play while studying creative writing and film at the University of Portsmouth.

Penny Ward is a third-year English and Creative Writing Student at the University of Portsmouth.

Sam Ward is a twenty-three year old writer and recent graduate in American Studies. Sam’s academic focus is on cultural representations of oppressed groups and their resistance. He moved to the city when he was sixteen and lived in various levels of supported housing before he made it to university, benefitting from the Access to HE course that existed then.

Nothing makes Paul Watt happier than capturing a beautiful image with his camera. Paul is based in Southsea, which gives him easy access to the ocean and all the other varied and interesting locations in the area. His favourite subject is only 15 minutes’ walk away from his front door. This makes the early morning shoots a lot easier! He loves the challenge of landscape photography, unlike taking photographs in a studio you can’t control the ambient lighting conditions – and has to work with whatever Mother Nature has given him that day. This makes for lots of cold and early mornings but it’s worth it and Paul wouldn’t have it any other way.

As well as running his own website and blog, Paul accepts commissions. If you’d like to talk to him about that, or anything else, please go to his contact page on his website, A Simpler Life.

Joe Wells’ writing career began when his first book Touch and Go Joe about his experiences of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder was published. Since then he has made a name for himself as a stand-up comic, writer and speaker. Joe now focuses mainly on his unique brand of political comedy. Joe has toured with Alexei Sayle, appeared on Amnesty International’s Human TV and No Pressure to be Funny, and written for The Revolution Will Be Televised (Series 2). He is currently the organiser for ThinkTank, a new series of live events based on Portsmouth politics, bringing together politicians with stand-up comedians, soon to be available as a podcast. Follow Joe on Twitter @joewellscomic or visit his website ( You can also follow ThinkTank @tweetthinktank.

Leigh Tora Westmore works as a Recovery Broker in Portsmouth. He is also a tutor on Portsmouth City Council’s Working with Addictions and Recovery Course. Follow Leigh on Twitter.

Loree Westron grew up in the wide-open spaces of north central Idaho. At the age of seventeen, she met her future husband while cycle touring in California, and two years later she dropped out of university to ride her bike and travel the world. After settling in the UK and returning to university, she gained an MA and PhD in Creative Writing, and taught for a number of years at Portsmouth and Chichester universities. She now works as a university mentor and teaches bicycle mechanics for a youth charity. At this year’s BookFest, Loree will be joining Christine Lawrence and a number of other local authors to talk about their writing and what inspires them.

Sian White is a third year English and Creative Writing student at the University of Portsmouth. With a passion for writing and hoping to gain a career in publishing, Sian also writes for the Portsmouth student blog where she shares her thoughts on the best things to do around the City. 

Lizzie Wildgoose was born in Derby and initially moved to Portsmouth to study history at the Polytechnic ‘a very long time ago’. After living in London she moved to the Peak District where she studied for an MA in Library and Information Management at Manchester Metropolitan University. While she was there she wrote for a children’s website about researching house history. She then returned to Portsmouth after 16 years and found herself employed at the same library she had used as an undergraduate.

Lizzie has always enjoyed writing. At the age of eight she wrote a series of adventures about a witch called Wingalina. How she wished she hadn’t thrown her stories away! At 11 years she wrote the school Christmas play. She has also written many poems but unfortunately they all rhyme: a compulsion she inherited from her father and was ‘poet-in-residence’ at Battersea Children’s Zoo whilst working in London. After moving back to Pompey she studied for a part-time qualification in Magazine and Newspaper Journalism at Highbury College and now writes on the University Library blog, mostly book reviews for Creative and Cultural Industries, as their Assistant Faculty Librarian. She is also a keen photographer (mostly travel, buildings and interiors) and is a bit of an obsessive. Why take one when you can take 50?

Chad Wilkinson is an aspiring freelance journalist and musician studying Film and Television at the University of Portsmouth. Primarily writing on subjects of technology and culture, his features have been published in Digital Filmmaker Magazine and online magazine Eevee Life. 

Claire Willcox is a freelance journalist, PR and marketing specialist with over ten years’ experience. If you have a story or would like to engage her services please contact

Richard Williams is a poet and photographer whose family come from Portsmouth, although he was born in Birmingham in 1965 and grew up in Frome, then lived in London and is now back in Portsmouth (don’t mention that song from the Lion King). He has had around 120 poems published in magazines such as Acumen, Orbis, Envoi, Brittle Star, South, Frogmore Papers and Poetry Monthly. His first collection, Landings, was published by Dempsey & Windle in 2018. He has been involved in Tongues & Grooves since 2007 and has sat on the committee since 2009. He helped with the selection of poems for the Portsmouth poetry anthology and organised and hosted the Poetry of Exile evening.

Ben Williets is a first year Journalism student at the University of Portsmouth, with a keen interest in sports journalism. He hopes to build a career writing about sports, in particular football. Originally from Bournemouth, Ben recently moved to Portsmouth to study at the University.

His Dad having been in the Royal Navy, Mike Wines was born in Malta in 1960. Ever since Brexit he really wishes it had been after 1964 so he could apply for Maltese citizenship. Pretty much retired since the passing of his wife Cathy 6 years ago, and then being made redundant from Land Registry, he focuses his time on supporting the local public houses and London Irish Rugby Club. Recently he has taken to treading the boards again with the SSA and is Chair of Portsmouth Green Party.

Philip Jeremy Wilson is a poet and interviewer for Neil Blanks’ Extra radio show featuring TalkBack Portsmouth. Philip lives in Southsea and also writes songs, performs with local artist Dom Reynolds and local band The Hugsters. For Tim and The Cheatles, Philip works as a self taught percussionist and freestyle poet. His poem ‘THE’ was performed by Alec Bentley at 2020 Holocaust Memorial Day 2020 at the D-Day Story’s Silverton Room, it being the last performance of the event.

A T’articulation Portsmouth Writers member, he also attends Typewriter Tales and Tea Tray Creatives get togethers, and has produced two albums of spoken word and music. His work can be found on his website. Philip has Irlens Syndrome a.k.a. word blindness, so has an ironic love of words that he cannot always read or understand.

Matt Wingett has written episodes of Thames TV’s police drama The Bill, as well as national newspaper articles and stories. He is the publisher of Portsmouth Fairy Tales for Grown Ups and has written stage shows that have been performed around the country. He also worked with Portsmouth University graduates The Three Belles and has written a novella starring the singing trio. He has lived and worked in Egypt as an English teacher for the British Council, ran a successful rare book dealership for 10 years, has worked in publishing, copywriting and advertising. Pompey born, Matt has a passion for the city’s history and is currently working on a series of stories all using Portsmouth not only as the backdrop, but also as an integral character. As well as his Portsmouth stories, he is also working on a book on Arthur Conan Doyle’s spiritualist writings. His latest novella, to be published on Amazon in early February will be called Heaven’s Light Our Guide.

Sophia Wood is Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of Portsmouth. A self confessed “Pompey Girl”, Sophia grew up in North End and attended/survived education at St Edmund’s School and Highbury College. After graduation in 1996 with a BA in Cultural Studies from Portsmouth University, Sophia completed the MA in Jewish History and Culture at Southampton University. Alongside mature student jobs as a bookseller, bridal shop assistant, and professional ironing person, Sophia completed her PhD thesis entitled The Holocaust and Popular Culture in 2005 and has taught at the university since 2006.

Lola-Rose Yussef will be starting Year 7 at Warblington School in September 2020 and at the time of writing (June 2020) is 11 years old. Lola wrote a for S&C’s STAR POems  series after attending a Black Lives Matter Peaceful Protest in Portsmouth Guildhall in June 2020.

Kinnan Zaloom is a third year Mathematics student at the University of Portsmouth. Born in Leeds and brought up in London, Kinnan’s family is originally from Palestine. His interest in writing and journalism began when he founded and wrote for The Hampstead Trash, a blog which gained national coverage for criticising and satirising his secondary school and sixth form. Following this, he became Reaction Editor for Portsmouth’s student paper, The Galleon. Kinnan takes special interest in writing about education, and international and national politics. His background in theatre and art spurs on his interest in dark comedy, Middle Eastern visual culture and experimental music