Trustees

Sarah Ellis (Co-Chair) is Director of Digital Development for the Royal Shakespeare Company. As a producer, she has worked with the Old Vic Tunnels, Battersea Arts Centre, Birmingham REP, Contact, Freeword, Improbable, Southbank Centre, Soho Theatre and Shunt. She was previously Head of Creative Programmes at the Albany Theatre and Programme Manager for Apples & Snakes.

Kathryn Gray (Co-Chair) has previously been editor of New Welsh Review, publishing editor of Welsh indie press Parthian, a trustee of Ty Newydd, and a researcher for the Leverhulme-funded Devolved Voices project, investigating Welsh poetry in English since 1997. She has tutored for both the Arvon Foundation and the Poetry School. Kathryn received an Eric Gregory Award in 2001, and her debut collection, The Never-Never (Seren), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the T.S. Eliot Prize. Her latest publication is a pamphlet, Flowers (Rack Press).

Andrew Smardon (Vice Chair) is an audit manager with a firm of accountants in Oxfordshire, specialising in the charity and not-for-profit sector. He has spent over ten years assisting charities to understand and fulfil their statutory obligations. Before qualifying as a chartered accountant, he studied English and Medieval Studies at the Universities of Oxford and York. He attends poetry workshops in Oxford and London and his poems have been published in a number of magazines.

Chris Beckett grew up in Ethiopia and studied French and German at university. He worked for many years as a senior commodity trader and is experienced in all aspects of business and administration, including finance, insurance and legal matters. He has published two collections: Ethiopia Boy (Carcanet/Oxford Poets, 2013) and Sketches from the Poem Road (Hagi press, 2015), which was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award 2015. The exhibition of the latter, a collaborative project with his partner, the Japanese painter and sculptor Isao Miura, appeared at The Poetry Café, London, the Glass Tank gallery, Oxford Brookes University, and APT Gallery, Deptford. Chris’ new collection and an anthology of Ethiopian Amharic poetry, which he has translated and edited, are due from Carcanet in 2020. He co-hosts The Shuffle event series in the Poetry Café.

Lizzie Crump currently runs the Cultural Learning Alliance, acts as the Strategic Lead for the What Next? movement, and is a trustee of the English and Media Centre. She has a Master’s degree in Teaching and Practice of Creative Writing from Cardiff University.

Mairi Johnson is an architect specialising in design for education facilities. She has extensive experience on both the client and supply side of well-designed projects, having worked for central government as Head of Design at the Department for Education and most recently for international built environment consultancy, AECOM as global lead for their work in the education sector. She is a lifelong lover of poetry. 

Ann Phillips is chairman of the legal firm Stone King, and head of its Charity & Social Enterprise Team. Her work encompasses all varieties of charity and social enterprise structures, advice on constitutional and governance issues, mergers and restructuring, trading and commercial relationships, dealings with the Charity Commission and other regulators and international operation and arrangements. She also has considerable experience of many long established charities, in particular in the heritage and fine arts sector, as well as membership charities of all kinds, including Royal Charter charities. Ann completed a successful term as Chairman of the Charity Law Association (2011 to 2014), having previously served as Deputy Chairman. She is also a Trustee of Creativity Culture & Education, a charity established by the Arts Council in order to conduct the creative learning programme with primary schools. She is a regular contributor of articles to the charities press and a frequent speaker on charity matters.
She lives in north London with her husband and two grown-up children. She is not a poet, but she loves poetry and attends poetry readings from time to time.

Sarah Thomson holds an English Literature degree and a Masters in Teaching and Practice of Creative Writing, where she focused particularly on modernist poetry and wrote a portfolio of poems for review. Since then, she has worked for publications including Time Out and The Times and The Sunday Times, where she specialises in finding new audiences of people to engage with publications and, in particular, overcome the challenges of getting quality content to as wide an audience as possible in a digital age.

Isabel White has two published collections and has won several poetry prizes. She has performed her work at a variety of UK festivals, in France and the Netherlands. Isabel has curated multi-disciplinary events with a variety of partners and when not working on her poetry runs her own fundraising consultancy.

Emma Wright founded the Emma Press in 2012. As a woman of colour, increasing the diversity and accessibility of the UK poetry scene has been essential to her goals as a publisher. In a culture which is still dominated by privileged groups, she has developed from a newcomer with an interest in promoting fresh voices into the face of a recognisable, award-winning brand (Michael Marks 2016). Since working in e-book production for Orion Publishing Group, she has diversified her skillset into all aspects of the business. As such, today she is one of the few poetry publishers in the UK to be independently financially viable.