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Our Team

Steve Dearden

Steve Dearden
Director

Steve ensures everything runs smoothly while providing some one-to-one support and producing the Squad’s creative adventures. He is a published prose writer and a producer of his own projects and for others. He works with a range of cultural clients on project, business and organisational development.

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Emma Adams

Emma Adams
Core Team

Emma Adams is a playwright, screenwriter and dramaturge from Bradford. Her writing ranges between dark political satire for adults and adventure comedy for children. She’s written plays to be performed in houses, swimming pools and graveyards (as well as on stages). Emma has worked with Red Ladder, Slung Low, Chris Goode, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Theatre 503, Freedom Studios, Ovalhouse and Paines Plough. Three of her plays have toured nationally and two (Ugly and Animals) are published by Oberon books.

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Francesca Haig

Francesca Haig
Core Team

Francesca is a novelist, poet and academic. She is the author of novels The Fire Sermon,  The Map of Bones, and The Forever Ship, a post-apocalyptic trilogy translated into more than twenty languages. She is a Visiting Writing Fellow at the University of Chester.

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Malika Booker

Malika Booker
Core Team

Malika’s writing spans poetry, theatre, monologue, installation, and education. She has worked with Arts Council England, the BBC, British Council, Wellcome Trust, National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Arvon, and Hampton Court Palace. She also ran ‘Malika’s Kitchen’, a writers’ collective based in London and Chicago.  Her latest poetry collection Pepper Seed is published by Peepal Tree Press and she is featured in Penguin Modern Poets 3 with Sharon Olds and Warsan Shire.

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Stevie Ronnie

Stevie Ronnie
Core Team

Stevie is a writer, artist and digital consultant based in the North East. His collection Manifestations is published by Red Squirrel Press and Self Portrait as Someone Else by the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Awards include: a Northern Promise Award, a MacDowell Fellowship, and a Jerwood/Arvon menteeship.

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Amelia Collingwood

Amelia Collingwood
Administrator

Amelia is our part time Administrator, supporting the Board and Core Team by providing the logistical support for all our workshops and meetings. She oversees our comms, keeps tabs on our finance and data, and is charged with always looking for new ways we can improve our performance as an organic, fluid, mostly virtual organisation. She also works with Dead Ink Books in Liverpool and the International Anthony Burgess Centre in Manchester.

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Our Board

Sophie O'Neill

Sophie O'Neill
Chair

Sophie is Managing Director of Inpress Books, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, and was previously Head of Sales at Canongate and Key Account Manager at Headline Books.

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Andy Hill

Andy Hill

Andy Hill is the Regional Programme Manager for First Story in the North. He is an education and community engagement specialist with over a 12 years’ experience in formal education and creative learning environments.

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Gregory Kearns

Gregory Kearns

Gregory is a Writing Squad grad and poet based in Liverpool. He has been published in places like independentvariable.co.uk and the Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets. Gregory also works as an Events and Community Fundraiser at The Brain Charity

Hannah Robershaw

Hannah Robershaw

Hannah is Programmes Director at Yorkshire Dance and formerly Artistic Producer at Ludus Dance, Lancaster.

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Jasmine Simms

Jasmine Simms

Jasmine is a Squad grad, formerly Vice Chancellor’s Scholar for the Arts at Durham University, she is currently a postgraduate student at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Her first pamphlet, Like Horses, is published by Smith/Doorstep press and was  New North Poet in the Northern Writers Awards.  Her poetry has been published in magazines such as Magma and The North, as well as in anthologies by Bloodaxe, Smith/Doorstep and Tower Poetry. She has read at literature festivals across the UK including Manchester, Ledbury, Bridlington, and London Book Fair. She was Poet in Residence at the University of Tübingen in 2019 and is one of the team behind the Dead (Women) Poets Society.

Jessica Wood

Jessica Wood

Jess is a Squad grad and final year student of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham. Jess is a poet who has worked with young writers in varying capacities. In 2015 she worked as an assistant writer at the Writing West Midlands (WWM) summer school, continuing to support young writers in WWM throughout the 2015/16 academic year. Jess will be featured alongside other squad grads and members in the Poetry Business anthology set to be released later this year.

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Sarah Gonnet

Sarah Gonnet

Squad grad Sarah is a multi-media writer and artist from the North-East of England. She makes work in many forms. She speaks publicly about disability, and has written about mental health in film for the Guardian and Little White Lies. She is currently working on Look Up at the Stars, a middle grade non-fiction book about disability for Scholastic. She is the author of two books for adults, MaTilda-a novella about feminism and mental health- and Voices a book of poetry. Sarah is the Associate Artist for Greycale Theatre Company. Her work for theatre and performance has been funded by Arts Council England, the Feminist Review Trust, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Yorkshire Dance, No Dice, the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, The National Centre for the Written Word and others. Her short film Womb was commissioned by Random Acts and showcased by Channel 4.

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