Favourite genres: mental health, poetry
Harriet has always had a passion for writing from a young age and it was a life-long dream to get her book published. Putting pen to paper serves as a release and focus, to turn any negative energy into something positive and creative. By sharing her experiences of battling with mental health problems through poetry, it gives Harriet a unique way to express her story and connect with others that may be struggling.
Harriet notes: “Always remember – no matter what the weather now, a storm can’t last forever.” Her book, Emerging from the Storm, was published by Arkbound in 2020.
Favourite genres: poetry, spoken word, social inclusion
A journalist and author, Shaun writes widely about current events and cultural developments. He has worked alongside Ujima Radio, BBC, DMAK UK and other national publications to cover a wide range of issues.
Shaun has published three poetry books in collaboration with other poets: ‘Lyrically Justified’. He is also co-founder of the Urban Word Collective, which seeks to provide a platform for talented spoken word artists from under-represented backgrounds.
Favourite genres: young adult, romance
J M Gale was born in Ayrshire and grew up in Stirling. She enjoys writing the familiar characters who often pass unnoticed. To be inspired by their stories allows her to celebrate the brilliance and resilience that exists all around us, even when we don’t take note of it. Directly experiencing social exclusion from a young age has allowed her to explore narratives that don’t otherwise reach the mainstream.
Her debut novel, ‘Cupid’s a Psycho’ (published 2022) is for adolescent readers, exploring issues around love and coming of age.
Favourite genres: poetry, environment, mental health
For Tom, writing charts an ongoing effort to respond to the up-welling of wonder and uncertainty that make up his existence. The subject of his work gravitates around nature, spirituality and mental health. Essentially Tom is inspired to write at his most confused, most excited or most reverent. Tom explores adversity, celebrates life and makes lunges for meaning. This is done in the hope that his work will resonate with others, promoting connection and wholeness.
Tom has published two books: ‘Paint Yourself’ (2016) and ‘Tangled Yet Coiled’ (2021).
Favourite genres: gender equality, biographies, true stories
Mojgan is from Iran and lived in Kurdistan, Iraq for almost a decade. She has been writing since she was a little kid. As she grew up, her writing changed from simple children’s stories and fairy tales to the most important subject: the truth. When deciding to write, one thing pushed her forward: the pain. Pain may stop some, slow down others, or force a few down a different path. For Mojgan, she allowed it to open her eyes. Everything she sees fills her with responsibility, to women everywhere, even from different places and different backgrounds. She writes: “I don’t want other humans to suffer what I’ve suffered.”
Favourite genres: fantasy, sci-fi
Bristol based, Jonathan was inspired to start writing at age 13 when he read “Ravenheart” by David Gemmell. Always fascinated by ancient folklore, he incorporated mythic figures and archetypes from his study of Classics into a fantasy framework to produce a tense and subversive tale. This became his first novel, a dark twist on fantasy and mythology titled ‘Bury Me Where They Fall’, published in 2019.
His other inspirations include Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore and the music of Nick Cave, Greg Dulli and Leonard Cohen. When not writing, Jonathan enjoys yoga, cooking, visiting historical ruins and seeing every live band he can manage to.
Favourite genres: poetry, mental health
Lauren lives in North Somerset and has a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism. She recently completed a degree in Special Education and has founded an autism company supporting young people on the spectrum, their parents, and professionals. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, travelling, and going hiking.
As a young person with autism, Lauren has faced misunderstandings and adversity, particularly during mainstream education. Writing poetry was a strategy she used to channel her anxieties and frustrations, as well as to communicate gratitude towards those who supported her.
Favourite genres: social justice
Henry Palmer grew up in Whitehall Easton in inner city Bristol. Some of his biggest inspirations when it comes to writing are George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, Lenny Bruce, and “any of the angry young men writers from the mid-21st century”. He first heard the expression, “one’s reality is the extent of one’s vocabulary” from Oscar Wilde, and has found that to be the key motivation of his writing and literature: to convey thoughts that revolutionise and change the mindset of readers and writers alike. His book, ‘Voices of Bristol’, explores how gentrification impacts communities.
Favourite genres: illustrated, childrens’, environment and social
As co-founder of KORI youth charity and Daughters of Africa, Odiri has long been passionate about empowering young people in Africa to gain a voice and access opportunities. Through story-telling and engaging with communities at a grassroots level, it is possible to preserve traditions and encourage living in harmony with nature, whilst challenging colonial-rooted forms of exploitation.
Odiri’s book, ‘Arcadia’, is a beautifully illustrated account of a young boy who undertakes a journey to reconnect with nature and learn about the world.
Favourite genres: adventure, young adult
Dr Giles Dawnay is a 40-year-old GP trainee from Hereford, UK. He came into the medical world later on in life, having worked in Latin America, Africa and the South Pacific until he was 27. It was on these adventures that he discovered his fascination for human nature and the myriad of ways our lives can play out. Since starting practicing as a doctor, he has found the act of writing as healing as it is a chance to share stories. In the words of Hemingway: ‘just sit at the typewriter and bleed.’ His first published novel, ‘The Rising of the Son’, was published with Arkbound in 2020.
Favourite genres: mental health, self-help
Jema was always interested in helping people get the most out of life. She notes that she was in a really bad place throughout 2019 and was adamant she wasn’t going to resort to medication. So she started a journey in learning how the human mind works, studying endless online courses, reading books, practicing meditation and listening to podcasts. After a time, she found it easier to have full control over her thoughts and emotions, beginning to learn how to overcome negative situations. As she notes: “I know that when we are suffering, we can’t get stuck into a complex book, so I began writing an easy read book to help people through hard times.”
Favourite genres: homelessness, poetry
Séamus Fox has been writing in multiple formats since his mid-teens. He wrote ‘No Homeless Problem’ after visiting several Emmaus communities throughout England and getting stories from other people who experienced homelessness. The idea was to provide a lived account of homelessness from multiple perspectives.
Séamus believes that we all need to do something to help one another by getting involved in our local community and fostering more diverse and inclusive methods of living. He notes: “we all need to contribute to make society a better place for all, no matter where they are from or who they are.”
Favourite genres: environment, climate change
Dr Morgan Phillips is Co-Director of The Glacier Trust, a UK charity that enables climate change adaptation in Nepal. He is also Head of Insight at environmental charity Global Action Plan, Trustee at National Association for Environmental Education, and Associate Director at Green Schools Project. Morgan is the designer of multiple environmental education initiatives, lectured on the politics of climate change at Brunel University, and led the Eco-Schools programme for England for three years. Morgan is passionate about raising awareness of climate change and empowering communities to make adaptations to the impacts.
Favourite genres: homelessness, poetry, social issues
David dedicated his life to racial equality in the UK and later had first-hand experience of homelessness, living on the streets in Bath. His book ‘Sorrow, Tears and Blood’ explores what he encountered, at a time when services were underfunded (and continue to be so), along with the outbreak of Covid-19. He was supported to get accommodation and work by the Arkbound Foundation and Emmaus Bristol. In early 2021, he sadly passed away, and proceeds of his book now go to his family.
Favourite genres: health and wellbeing
After many years since being diagnosed with M.E, Jan recovered but subsequently relapsed in 2006. It made her realise it wasn’t enough to get physically better. She went on to run a clinic for M.E and CFS / Post Viral Fatigue and has worked with people to enable them to recover.
Jan notes that she is deeply grateful every day to have her health back and will never get M.E or CFS / Post Viral Fatigue again because she knows what to do to stop it.
Favourite genres: satire, poetry, social issues
John is a freelance writer in Glasgow who has written for radio, scripting many satirical and comedy shows, and his work has been nominated for a BBC Audio Drama Award. He has also published poems, short stories, and flash fiction, with written performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and elsewhere. His forthcoming first novella, Invisible Schemes, is a satire on the ways in which working class communities are marginalised.
Favourite genres: social issues, refugees
Elika is a humanitarian worker, writer, yoga instructor and the founder of Little Lotus Learning Centre. Elika has been working with refugees and asylum seekers for the past five years, and has heard their stories about hardship and perseverance, which she touches upon in her writing. She is currently working with refugee youth in London and continues to write books, particularly for children.
Favourite genres: animal adventure
Stephen was born in Epping Forest and brought up by his grandparents after being abandoned by his mother. He struggled at school due to severe dyslexia, and only discovered his life passion after learning to ride horses. From hereon animals became the centre of Stephen’s life. Later, he set out to walk around the UK coastline with his dog, Czar, but it ended in the midst of the Covid pandemic. No work was available Stephen didn’t even have a place to live. As a consequence, he ended up in a trailer on a field. With nightly temperatures sometimes plunging to minus 8 degrees, it was a struggle just to survive. That’s when Stephen turned to writing. Diary of Czar: Vinnie’s Odyssey is one of three book’s that Stephen has written, inspired by the innate loving nature of dogs.