Honorary Creative Writing Fellows

The School of English is very proud to be the host to five Honorary Creative Writing Fellows, all of them eminent writers in their fields.

Jean 'Binta' Breeze

John Siddique

Sean Body

SuAndi

Jez Simons

Jean 'Binta' Breeze

Jean 'Binta' Breeze

photo by Ken Ryan

Among the most influential poets of recent years, Jean 'Binta' Breeze is a pioneering dub poet of considerable renown. Now based in Leicester, she was born in Jamaica in 1957. She studied at the Jamaican School of Drama with Michael Smith and Oku Onuora. She began to write poetry in the 1970s, performing and recording first in Kingston then in London. Jean has performed her work worldwide, touring in the Caribbean, North America, Europe, South East Asia and Africa.

Publications

  • Riiddym Ravings and Other Poems (with Mervyn Morris), Race Today Publications, 1988
  • Spring Cleaning: Poems, Virago, 1992
  • Hearsay (audio cassette), 57 Productions, 1994
  • Riding on de Riddym (audio cassette), 57 Productions, 1996
  • On the Edge of an Island, Bloodaxe, 1997
  • Song Lines, Gecko Press, 1997
  • The Arrival of Brighteye and Other Poems, Bloodaxe, 2000
  • The Fifth Figure, Bloodaxe, 2006

John Siddique

John Siddique

John Siddique is the bestselling author of Full Blood, Recital – An Almanac, Poems From A Northern Soul, and The Prize. He is the coauthor of the story/memoir Four Fathers.

His poems, essays and articles have been featured in many publications, including Granta, The Guardian, Poetry Review, and The Rialto. The Spectator refers to him as 'A stellar British poet.’ The Times of India calls him 'Rebellious by nature, pure at heart.'

The Prize, published to wide acclaim in 2005, was nominated for the Forward Prize. His children’s book, Don’t Wear It On Your Head, was shortlisted for the CLPE Poetry Award in 2007.

Full Blood  is described as 'Technically virtuosic yet direct and sensual,’ by The Times Higher Educational, and as ‘Bold as love...Each word is to be savoured like a sip of forbidden wine’ by Bina Shah in Dawn - Books & Authors. Recital has been called ‘One of the most important British poetry books of the last twenty years’ by Lauri Ramey of CSULA. Jackie Kay speaks of Siddique’s writing as being ‘A brilliant balancing act.’

Siddique is well known for his captivating readings, and his infectious love of literature. This highly influential writer has worked with The British Council, PEN, The Arvon Foundation, The Poetry Society and London 2012. He is the former British Council Writer-in-Residence at California State University, Los Angeles. He was awarded the title of Honorary Creative Writing Fellow here at Leicester in recognition of his contribution to literature.

Publications

Books

  • Full Blood (Salt)
  • Recital – An Almanac (Salt)
  • Poems from a Northern Soul (Crocus)
  • Don't Wear it on Your Head (Peepal Tree)
  • Four Fathers (Co-author) (Route)
  • Transparency (as Editor) (Crocus)
  • The Prize (Rialto)

Plays

  • A Painter's Sky - a short play for BBC Radio 3's ‘Freethinking' Festival

Selected Anthologies:

  • New Writing 15 (Granta)
  • The Fire People (Payback/Canongate)
  • Velocity (Apples & Snakes/Black Spring)
  • Masala (MacMillan)
  • Anthology of British South Asian Poetry (Redbeck)
  • Life Lines – Poets for Oxfam CD  

Prizes & Awards

  • Shortlisted for CPLE Poetry Award 2007
  • Nominated for Best First Collection - Forward Prize 2005
  • Nominated for Best Poem - Forward Prize 2004 Arts Council of England Writer's Awards 2005, 2006, 2007

To find out more about John, visit his website.  

Sean Body

Sean Body

Sean Body was born in Templeglantine, Co Limerick and has lived all his adult life in the Greater Manchester area, working as a probation officer for Manchester Probation Service. He joined Manchester Poets in 1988, establishing Tarantula as a Manchester Poets imprint. He is a founder member of Manchester Irish Writers, which produced several volumes of short stories and poetry. In 1998 he reconstituted Tarantula Publications as an independent publisher and launched the thrice yearly magazine Brando’s Hat. His poetry has won prizes in several competitions, including, Ver Poets, Peterloo and Bridport. A short story won the Irish Post Listowel Writers Competition.

Publications

  • Seasons, Glass Head Press (Limited Edition), 2003
  • Lines of Dissent (joint pamphlet with Ian Parks), Tarantula 2001
  • Witness, Tarantula, 1995/1998
  • At the end of the Rodden, Ed. (Manchester Irish Writers)
  • Scríbhneoírí, 1997 Poems from the Readaround, Ed. (Manchester Poets), Tarantula, 1995
  • Brando’s Hat archive (Issues 1-12)

SuAndi

SuAndi

SuAndi was born in Hulme, Manchester. She writes mainly for performance and not for the page. SuAndi writes that her work is crafted to 'sound like a conversation [...] my mother’s mouth was filled with the over-the-fence chatter of Liverpool, expanding her expressions with an inherited Irish superstitiousness - we never did anything that might tempt fate against us. So we never wrote anything down, preferring to whisper it on.'

Since 1985 she has expanded her portfolio of work into diverse locations, from galleries to public artwork. She is the freelance Cultural Director of Black Arts Alliance, a recipient of a NESTA Dreamtime award, and in 1999 she was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Honours list for her contributions to the Black Arts Sector.

Publications

Recordings

  • Soliloquy, Bop Cassettes BIP 601

Some Essays & Journalistic Work

  • Black Theatre in the African Continuum; Theory & Praxis, Harvard University
  • New Theatre in Francophone and Anglophone Africa, edited by Anne Fuchs
  • Matatu 20 Acts of Achievement Colloquium
  • Unprecedented Times, for Black Theatre Network, USA NY/USA
  • Companion to Contemporary Black British Culture, Routledge
  • Virtual Revolutions: Act and Read, ISBN 0 9523161 0 2
  • Work in Numerous Anthologies, including poetry for children:
  • 2005 Feminist Futures, Palgrave/MacMillan Press Four for More
  • There Will be No Tears, Pankhurst Press
  • Nearly Forty, Spike Books
  • Style, Purple Heather & Pankhurst Press

Jez Simons

Jez Simons
© Kev Ryan
Jez Simons, a graduate of the University of Leicester, worked in two successful inner-city drama departments before launching his stage-writing career. His winning entries to the Royal Court and Royal Shakespeare emerging writers' initiatives led to a commission for Battersea Arts Centre, which subsequently became resident at the Soho Poly Theatre. Simons was then contracted by the BBC to write for what was then a relatively new series: Eastenders. His first episode was watched by 19 million people and he became a regular visitor to Albert Square. He was also a writer on Emmerdale for four years. Reluctant to leave Leicester, the theatre or his department, he combined all three. This led to eleven successful, professionally-produced stage commissions and the creation of his own company, now an Independent Pearson/Edexcel Centre.

 

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