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Room 204

2024-25 Cohort

We are delighted to introduce our Room 204 Writers Development Programme 2024-2025 intake, which met in person at the Writing West Midlands offices in April 2024:

Victoria Axon 

Victoria Axon has loved writing from a young age, but returned to it seriously ten years ago. She focusses mainly on novel length pieces but has also written short stories and flash fiction and has had a number of shorter pieces published in anthologies and placed in competitions. She focuses on writing fantasy, dystopian and sci-fi fiction with a comedic element. She lives in Worcester with her husband and dog. 

Liz Churchill

Liz Churchill is a parent-carer, home-educator, and writer based in Birmingham. She has a degree in Drama and Theatre Arts from Goldsmiths, University of London, and also works as a drama facilitator – working with vulnerable adults and children. She writes short stories and is working on a collection. Her work has been published online by The Mechanics’ Institute Review, STORGY, Ellipsis Zine and Scratch Books. She has previously won the Scratch Books A4 Competition. She runs a monthly live fiction night called Mo Stories and has recently started a short story reading and writing group too. 

Dr Rhiannon Hooson

Dr Rhiannon Hooson has won major awards for her work, including an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors, and her first book, The Other City, was shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year award.  She has been featured in the Guardian, Magma, and Poetry Wales among others, and read her work at literature festivals across the UK. In the last few years, she has been the winner of the First Chapter prize, writer in residence at the Hay Festival, and the judge of the PENfro festival poetry competition.  She has a PhD in poetry from the University of Lancaster, and is now settled in the Welsh marches. Her latest book is Goliat, published by Seren Books. 

Chris Hyland 

Aside from some early spells of factory work, and a particularly unenthusiastic stint as a rent collector, Chris spent most of his working life as an advice worker (welfare rights) and/or managing advice centres in both the voluntary and public sectors. He eventually became the grants manager for voluntary advice agencies for a local authority.  

Now retired, he has dedicated himself more seriously to creative writing, with short stories being longlisted or ‘placed’ in competitions, and a novel being longlisted for the Yeovil Prize. Chris describes himself as ‘An ageing Scouser, who loves to travel and tries to write.

Kathryn Lupin  

Born and raised in the Black Country, Kathryn has been writing queer characters since long before she knew she was queer, and that revelation has only intensified her desire to write happy endings for people like her. She loves LGBTQ+ romances, friends to lovers and the joy of two fictional characters discovering there’s only one bed. Kathryn now lives in Birmingham with her spouse, their dog and an ever-increasing mug collection – all the better to curl up with a cup of tea and a good book. 

Emma Jones 

Emma Jones is a writer, poet and mum of two toddlers based in Shropshire. She is passionate about the environment. Her work has been featured in literary magazines and anthologies and often focuses on nature and grief. 

Lorraine Mighty  

Lorraine Mighty (she/her) is a Black Country-bred, Birmingham-based mom and writer of Jamaican heritage. She is also a qualified coach and mentor, learning facilitator and organisational development specialist. Her written work includes journal articles, book chapters, and poetry. Lorraine’s poetry explores the interconnectivity and impact of relationships with self, others and systems. Her poems have been published in the Youth Hostels Association Outside Voices project, and the anthology Where We Find Ourselves published by Arachne Press. In 2023, she was selected to participate in the Open House Writers Programme funded by Arts Council England and Hosking Houses Trust. 

Catherine Redford 

Catherine Redford is a writer, editor, researcher, and tutor. Having begun her career as an academic specialising in Romantic and Victorian literature, she turned to writing poetry after being widowed at the age of 35. Her poems have been published in a wide range of magazines and anthologies, including Under the Radar, The Storms, New Welsh Reader, Propel, Lighthouse, and Ink Sweat & Tears, and she was longlisted in last year’s Nine Arches Press Primers competition. She has also published widely on nineteenth-century literature, with a particular focus on post-apocalyptic texts and the Gothic. She is an Editor at Dust Poetry Magazine. 

Nina Nazir 

Nina Nazir (she/her) is a British Pakistani poet, writer and artist based in Birmingham.  Her poems have been published in various journals, most recently in TheEkphrastic Review,Ink Sweat & Tears and Unlost Journal.  You can usually find her writing in her local favourite café, making art or blogging.  Other than that, she is never not reading.  She is currently in the throes of writing a poem a day for NaPoWriMo and is mostly enjoying the challenge. 

Catherine Redford 

Catherine Redford is a writer, editor, researcher, and tutor. Having begun her career as an academic specialising in Romantic and Victorian literature, she turned to writing poetry after being widowed at the age of 35. Her poems have been published in a wide range of magazines and anthologies, including Under the Radar, The Storms, New Welsh Reader, Propel, Lighthouse, and Ink Sweat & Tears, and she was longlisted in last year’s Nine Arches Press Primers competition. She has also published widely on nineteenth-century literature, with a particular focus on post-apocalyptic texts and the Gothic. She is an Editor at Dust Poetry Magazine. 

Katrina Rutters 

Katrina Ritters has worked in local government and academia, researching and writing on health, social and community issues.  Currently working on her fourth novel, her stories are about forgotten places and ordinary people impacted by outside events:  the impact of a new coal mine on a post industrial town; of county lines on an idyllic fishing village.  Building on her MA in writing at Sheffield Hallam University, she attended several Writing West Midlands courses and is now part of a happy group of alumni, meeting occasionally for writerly chats over pints of beer. 

Zarah Alam 

Zarah Alam is a poet and aspiring novelist from Birmingham. She holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Birmingham and is a HarperCollins Author Academy alumna. She was selected for the Nine Arches Press Dynamo Mentoring Scheme 23/24. Her poetry has featured in The Stinging Fly, The North, The London Magazine and Fly on The Wall Press’ Demos Rising anthology amongst others. Zarah’s unpublished debut pamphlet Enough was shortlisted for the Poetry Wales Pamphlet Competition 2021 and she was shortlisted for the Sky Arts RSL Writers Awards 2022. 

Charis McRoberts 

Charis McRoberts is a writer from Belfast based in the Midlands. Her previous audio work includes Four (Rural Media, BBC Arts), Ballynahinch (United Kingdoms, BBC Radio 4) & The Raven’s Call (Tinderbox, BBC Radio Ulster). Charis has been commissioned across the UK & Ireland by companies and theatres including the Common Wealth Games, BBC, Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, The Wolverhampton Grand, the Birmingham Museum and Kabosh Theatre, amongst others. She believes art should be used as a vehicle for change. Her most recent play ‘Expecting’ produced by c21 Theatre Company (which explores experiences unique to d/Deaf and hearing couples) is heading to the USA for its international debut. 

Joe Bennett 

Joe Bennett is a screenwriter, poet, and general scribe from the Midlands. Specialising in Comedy, Drama, and LGBTQIA+ storytelling (with a love for anything horror-adjacent), he pulls heavily from his experiences as a Queer and Neurodivergent individual to bring a deftness and unique honesty to his writing. As a screenwriter, he’s written three episodes of Ready, Eddie, Go! for Sky Studios and provided additional material for Netflix’s Bad Dinosaurs. As a poet/spoken word artist, he has given a TedxTalk and had work published in several publications. In 2023, he developed his first full-length play as part of the 2023 Young Vic Creator’s Programme.   

Winifred Mok 

Winifred Mok is a poet and filmmaker with a passion for stories, books and site-specific theatre. Originally from Hong Kong, she studied English Literature and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham. She enjoys exploring the spaces of language, culture and identity, and spends most of her time reading, learning, making, and wondering.   

David Calcutt

Pending…