The people who make our work happen:

Our Team

  • Helen worked as a publishing PR in London before moving to Devon and becoming National Director of Arvon, which is known for its residential creative writing courses. From there she went to Farms for City Children, a charity connecting inner city school children to the countryside through a week on a working farm. Helen is principal short story reader for the Bridport Prize. She lives in West Devon on the northern edge of Dartmoor.

    What are the three books you’ll love forever?
    • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry – “I found this traditionally-structured and epic tale about life on the streets of 1970s Mumbai hugely moving and humane.”
    • Another Country by James Baldwin – “I read this as a student and its rich exploration of love, creativity, sexuality and race bowled me over.”
    • Precious Bane by Mary Webb – “This speaks to the incurable romantic in me – and the lover of historical fiction.  Prue Sarn is one of the great, spirited female protagonists.”
  • Hailing from the Teign Valley on the Eastern edge of Dartmoor, Matt studied BA Drama and MA Theatre Practice at the University of Exeter. Prior to joining Literature Works he worked as a Producer, Facilitator and Theatre Maker with Running Dog Theatre CIC, Exeter Fringe Festival and the Exeter Northcott. Matt is the Programme Officer, co-ordinating our online Word Space talent development programme and the Plymouth Laureateships.

    What are the three books you’ll love forever?
    • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – I’ve always loved stories of fantastical worlds, and Bilbo’s tales of unexpected adventure beyond the cosy countryside of the Shire definitely resonate with the unlikely adventurer in me.
    • We’re Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury – Beautifully illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Reading this book is a core memory from my childhood, and it offers the valuable sentiment to always tackle life’s problems head on.
    • The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams – ‘Don’t Panic!’. Also, there’s something so brilliant about the image of travelling the galaxy in your pyjamas.
  • Heather studied BA English Literature with Creative Writing at University of East Anglia and MA Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Sussex. Before coming to Literature Works she worked for the Devon Guild of Craftsmen and Tobacco Factory Theatres. Heather is the Project Officer, coordinating Quay Words at Exeter Custom House and other Literature Works projects.

    What are the three books you’ll love forever?
    • Howards End by E.M. Forster – “Forster is one of my absolute favourite writers, and the sentiment only connect is something I try to live by.”
    • Dart by Alice Oswald – “Beautiful poetry about the place where I grew up, it’s like someone designed this book just for me!”
    • The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin – “There’s nothing like a bit of radical, feminist, political sci-fi to make you see the world in a different way.”
  • Simon studied English and American Literature at the University of Warwick, followed by an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice at Falmouth. After over a decade in educational publishing, including a stint at Oxford University Press, he joined Literature Works in 2023 to coordinate social media, newsletters, and the various web platforms.

    What are the three books you’ll love forever?
    • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight — translated by Simon Armitage – I like to listen to Armitage reading his fantastic translation of this Medieval masterpiece whenever I’m travelling around Christmas.
    • Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk — translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones – An earthy thriller full of cosmic thinking, ecological polemics and amusing pet theories – about as hard to define and unforgettable as its eccentric narrator, Janina.
    • Days Without End by Sebastian Barry – One of my favourite examples of historical fiction – a grand, gruelling adventure through the chaos of Civil War America, all told in an endearingly rambling and soulful voice.

Board of Trustees

  • Pippa studied English and Related Literature and has taught in the past, teaching writing and drama in an FE college and with families escaping domestic violence in Women’s Aid refuges. She set up a disabled artists organisation and DAISI – Devon Arts in Schools. She is currently working as a business advisor for the West of England Creative Economy Growth scheme. Pippa enjoys writing (short stories) and is an accredited coach, working especially with women and young people. She has a background in the arts, culture, creative industries, social enterprise and charitable sectors, she worked for Arts Council England until 2018 leading on strategic partnerships including Local Authorities and Universities and led on a number of literature and library development projects throughout the South West. Pippa brings her knowledge of these sectors to the Board of Literature Works.

    What are the three books you’ll love forever?
    • Daniel Deronda by George Eliot – “this influenced me when I was a student because it was a powerful story of inner rebellion and desperate resistance, it actually awoke me to feminism.”
    • Myra and Dan by Doris Lessing – “an extraordinarily prescient dystopia, I read it when climate change wasn’t on the agenda.”
    • A La Recherche du Temps Perdu by Marcel Proust – “it’s got comedy, sadness and moments when everything makes sense as well as powerful insights about the nature of embodied memory, stories within stories and an incredibly unreliable narrator.”
  • Suresh Ariaratnam is the founder of Sprung Sultan, a literary and talent agency representing authors from Black and Asian communities predominantly, including the TS Eliot Prize recipient Roger Robinson, the Ted Hughes Award recipient Jay Bernard, and the PEN Pinter Prize recipient Linton Kwesi Johnson. An advisory council member of the British Library, and a trustee for the Theatre Royal Bath, and the Trussell Trust he specialises in assisting organisations broaden understanding of who their stakeholders are and how best to meet their needs. A non-executive director at NHS Dorset HealthCare and at NHS Somerset, he has a longstanding interest in preventative and proactive wellbeing modalities.

    What are the three books you’ll love forever?
    • The Cartographer (Poetry Translation Centre) – Mohan Rana, translated by Lucy Rosenstein and Bernard O’Donoghue – “Deftly written, contemplative verse, that is in part an expression of advaita, the philosophy of non-dualism, translated here from Hindi into English. A glimpse of the ocean of literature that exists beyond the shores of the English language.”
    • The Old Woman, the Buffalo and the Lion of Manding (Adverse Camber & Akua Storytelling Project) – as told by Jan Blake, Kouame Sereba and Raymond Sereba – The story of the birth of Sundiata Keita, the hero-king of Mali, passed down orally from generation to generation and here retold by a female griot from the perspective of the three women who have a formative influence on Sundiata as a young boy.
    • In Praise of Shadows (Random House) – Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, translated by Thomas J. Harper and Edward G. Seidensticker – On the surface, an essay on aesthetics, and the collision of values between traditional Japan and the modern West. But more so, I would suggest embracing it as a guide to finding beauty outside of the light, wherever that might be for you.
  • Salma is an Agent at Greyhound Literary. She spent four years working as an Editor in mainstream publishing. Prior to that, she helped set up The Good Literary Agency, a social enterprise focused on launching the careers of under-represented writers. Salma has a BSc in History in Philosophy of Science from UCL and has completed postgraduate modules on inclusion in the arts at the Institute of Education.

    What are the three books you’ll love forever?
    • The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante – “Ferrante taught me that a reader is essential to creation. She asked me to bring my full self to the page and I went because I knew she’d be there too, ready to meet me in all her glory.”
    • NW by Zadie Smith – “I love novels that play with form but this is the first time an author’s style spoke to me just as much as the story itself; a rare occasion in which the fragmentary nature of the story felt essential to its being told.”
    • A Portable Paradise by Roger Robinson – “The collection arrived on the scene like a tropical wind and blew the poetry doors off its hinges. I stepped through and have never looked back.”
  • Anthony Caleshu is the author of 4 collections of poetry and 3 books of criticism on contemporary poetry .His most recent book is , A Dynamic Exchange between Us (Shearsman, 2019). In 2007, he started Short Fiction: The Visual Literary Journal (an annual), and edited it until 2015. In 2016,he founded the new poetry venture, Periplum, dedicated to publishing pamphlets, broadsides, books, and digital videos of the best contemporary poetry. Anthony represents the University of Plymouth on the Board of Literature Works.

  • Madhu’s current research explores the dynamics of literary activism on the African continent. She is also a literary producer with a particular emphasis on live literature productions, and has collaborated with organisations including Africa Writes and Speaking Volumes on events and promotion of contemporary writers. She is an active member of Bristol’s vibrant literary scene, and is particularly interested in working with writers from Black and Asian backgrounds.

    What are the three books you’ll love forever?
    • Beloved by Toni Morrison: – “This is just a brilliant novel. Every word is so carefully crafted and Morrison does things with narrative form and style that no one else has ever tried. I think everyone should read this book. The final chorus gives me chills no matter how many times I read it.”
    • The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta: – “Emecheta is sorely underrated as one of Britain and Nigeria’s most important writers. I love everything about this book. It’s a masterclass about gender, coloniality and capitalist accumulation (and their destructive legacies), and the writing is so dynamic.”
    • Lumières de Pointe-Noire by Alain Mabanckou: – “A travelogue recounting Mabanckou’s first trip back to his home country of Congo-Brazzaville after twenty-three years absence, this book combines reminiscence, observation and photography in a lushly poetic prose. The texture of the language is incredible.”
  • Mary worked as an editor at Bloomsbury Publishing, Gerald Duckworth and Faber & Faber before moving from London to Devon to work for Arvon, the creative writing charity. She now has a hybrid role, both orchestrating the artistic programme across the organisation’s three residential locations and online offer, Arvon at Home, and welcoming writers every week to beautiful Totleigh Barton, Arvon’s Devon writing house.

    What are the three books you’ll love forever?
    • The Real Life of Sebastian Knight by Vladimir Nabokov – “I was introduced to this novel when I was a teenager and it was a revelation – tricksy, elusive, witty, propulsive as a thriller. And (if you believe the legend) written in haste, on a suitcase balanced on top of a bidet.”
    • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri – “Each character in this collection makes you wish for an entire novel so you can get to know them better. Stories of cultural transition and alienation, lost or hopeful love, told in language that is beautifully spare and precise.”
    • Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris – “I picked this up when browsing in a bookshop and half an hour later I was still there, sobbing with suppressed laughter. In this early collection Sedaris explores by now familiar themes – eccentric family, suburban childhood, contemporary irritations – but the incredibly funny account of his failure to assimilate in a new life in France makes this collection stand out for me.”
  • Kate has worked in libraries most of her career, enjoying the challenge of people, spaces and books. As a trustee of Literature Works representing the 15 library authorities in the South West, Kate hopes to connect writers from the South West and authors from further afield with libraries and audiences.

    What are the three books you’ll love forever?
    • The Hanging Tree by David Lambkin: – “A fascinating mix of fact and fiction and an unusual love story.”
    • Salem’s Lot by Stephen King: – “I have loved this vampire story forever and read it again and again”.
    • A Book of Bones by John Connelly: – “This represents my other love of crime and murders (Jo Nesbo and Stuart MacBride in particular).”