Agenda Poetry Festival 2017 Biographies

Timothy Adès

Timothy Adès is a rhyming translator-poet. His bilingual book Storysongs/Chantefables, with French animal poems by Robert Desnos and art by Cat Zaza, is published by Agenda Editions. How to be a Grandfather is his version of Victor Hugo's last book of poems: it includes many extras. Timothy’s new book Loving by Will contains all Shakespeare's 154 Sonnets and Timothy's versions not using letter E. His translation of the Collected works of Robert Desnos came out recently.


Josephine Balmer

Josephine Balmer’s most recent collections are Letting Go: thirty mourning sonnets and two poems (Agenda Editions) and The Paths of Survival (Shearsman), both published in 2017. Previous collections include The Word for Sorrow (Salt) and Chasing Catullus: Poems, Translations and Transgressions (Bloodaxe). She has also translated Catullus, Classical Women Poets and Sappho (all Bloodaxe). Piecing Together the Fragments, her study of classical translation and contemporary poetry, was published by OUP in 2013. She writes on poetry and translation for publications such as the TLS, New Statesman and The Times, for which she sets the daily Word Watch and weekly Literary Quiz. She is an advisor to the poetry journal Agenda.


John Burnside

John Burnside is a significant presence in contemporary British poetry. He is the author of eleven collections of poetry and five works of fiction. Burnside has achieved wide critical acclaim, winning the Whitbread Poetry Award in 2000 for The Asylum Dance and winning the 2011 Forward Poetry and T. S. Eliot Prize for Black Cat Bone. His is a poet, short story writer and novelist and is Professor in Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews. His latest poetry collection is 'Still Life with Feeding Snake' 2017.


Elizabeth Barton

Elizabeth Barton is an old Mayfield student of Patsy Cornish. She went on to read English at Christ’s College, Cambridge, after which she worked as a teacher and freelance writer.  She is a member of Mole Valley Poets.  Her poems have been published in Agenda and will be appearing in Orbis magazine.





Louise C Callaghan

Louise was born in 1948, and grew up in County Dublin. She is an old girl of the Holy Child Convent, Killiney. She currently lives in Dublin. The Puzzle-Heart was published by Salmon Poetry in 1999; Remember the Birds, Salmon, 2005 and In The Ninth House, Salmon, 2010.  Her most recent book of poems, Dreampaths of a Runaway​, Salmon, was published this year. Her work has been published regularly in Poetry Ireland Review and Agenda.




Hilary Davies

Hilary Davies has published several collections of poetry including The Shanghai Owner of the Bonsai Shop (1991), In a Valley of This Restless Mind (1997) and Exile and the Kingdom (2016). She won an Eric Gregory award in 1983, has been a Hawthornden Fellow, was first prizewinner in the Cheltenham Literature Festival poetry competition (1987), and chairman of the Poetry Society (1992–3). 



Mimi Khalvati

Mimi Khalvati was born in Tehran and grew up on the Isle of Wight. Her pamphlet, Persian Miniatures (Smith/Doorstop 1990) was a winner of the Poetry Business competition 1989. Her collections include In White Ink (1991), Mirrorwork (1995), for which she received an Arts Council of England Writer’s Award, Entries on Light (1997) and The Chine (2002).  The Meanest Flower (2007) was a PBS Recommendation, a Financial Times Book of the Year, and shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. Child: New and Selected Poems 1991-2011 was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. Her most recent collection, The Weather Wheel, is a PBS Recommendation. Mimi is the founder of The Poetry School.Mimi received a Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors in 2006 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.


Jane Lovell

Jane Lovell has had work published in a variety of anthologies and journals including Agenda, Earthlines, Poetry Wales, Envoi, the North, Dark Mountain, Zoomorphic, Mslexia and New Welsh Review. She won the Flambard Prize in 2015 and, in 2016, was shortlisted for the Basil Bunting Prize and named as runner up for the Winehouse Award and the Silver Wyvern. She won the South Downs Poetry Award 2017.


Kei Miller

Kei Miller is a poet, novelist, essayist, short story writer and broadcaster. His many books include the novel Augustown (Orion, 2016) and poetry collection The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (Carcanet, 2014) which won the Forward Prize. In 2010, the Institute of Jamaica awarded him the Silver Musgrave medal for his contributions to Literature. He has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Glasgow and is a Professor in Creative Writing at Exeter University. 


Jessica Mookherjee  

Jessica Mookherjee was brought up in South Wales. After living in London for over twenty years, she now lives in Tunbridge Wells. She has a background in Biological Anthropology and public health research. She was shortlisted for the Fairacre first pamphlet competition in 2016 for her debut The Swell  published by Telltale Press. She is now working on her first full collection.


Abegail Morley

Abegail Morley’s debut collection, How to Pour Madness into a Teacup (Cinnamon 2009) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection (2010). She has since published Snow Child (2011), Eva and George: Sketches in Pen and Brush (2013) and The Skin Diary (2016). Abegail was Poet in Residence at Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, Kent, and Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year 2015. She was a commissioned poet on The Globe Theatre’s Autumn 2015 season ‘The Voice and the Echo’. She is a co-founder of EKPHRASIS, runs The Poetry Shed and is co-founder of The Poetry Shelf – pop-up poetry gigs.


Patricia McCarthy

Patricia McCarthy is the editor of Agenda poetry journal ( ). She won the National Poetry Competition 2013. Recent collections are: Rodin’s Shadow (Clutag Press/Agenda Editions in 2012). Horses between our Legs, 2014. Letters to Akhmatova, 2015. Rockabye, (Worple Press), and Shot Silks (Waterloo Press) are due in the next few months.


Sasha Dugdale

Sasha Dugdale is a poet, translator and editor. She has published three collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Red House and a fourth, Joy, is forthcoming from Carcanet in November. Joy is a PBS Winter Choice and the collection is named after her long poem Joy which won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2016. She translates poetry and plays from Russian and has worked with theatres across the UK and US on new productions of contemporary Russian plays. She is currently working on translations of Maria Stepanova’s poems for publication in the UK. Sasha is editor of has Modern Poetry in Translation and co-editor of the international anthology Centres of Cataclysm (Bloodaxe, 2016).


Polly Paulusma

Polly is an old Mayfield student, a song writer and performer, formerly taught English by ’S’s Patricia McCarthy. In 2003 Bjork’s label One Little Indian signed her up and catapulted her round the world for six years, supporting Bob Dylan, Jamie Cullum, Joseph Arthur, Coldplay and many others.​

In 2012 she set up her own label Wild Sound to release her third studio album, Leaves from the Family Tree; the label has now returned to One Little Indian and Polly is gearing up to release her fourth studio album in 2018.