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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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Helen Mort

Helen Mort
Core Team

Based in the bit of Derbyshire that is almost Yorkshire Helen’s first collection Division Street won the Fenton Aldeburgh Prize and her second, No Map Could Show Them, a PBS Recommendation. She blogs at ‘Freefall and teaches poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Jenn Ashworth

Jenn Ashworth
Core Team

Jenn is based in the North West. Her first novel, A Kind of Intimacy won a Betty Trask Award. On the publication of her second novel, Cold Light, she was featured on the BBC’s Culture Show as one of the UK’s 12 best new novelists. Her novels have been translated into French, Italian and German and published in the US. Her short stories have appeared in the MIR 9, The Manchester Review, Dogmatika, Beat the Dust, Jawbreakers and Bugged, among other places. She reviews fiction for The Guardian and lectures in Creative Writing at Lancaster University.

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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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Hannah Robershaw

Hannah Robershaw

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

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Jessica Mitic

Jessica Mitic

Jessica is a Squad grad and a stage and radio playwright currently working for BBC Radio Drama as a Producer/Assistant Producer. Jess was featured in Radio4’s Original British Dramatists Season in 2014. Her production of Charlene James’ Cuttin’ It won Best Drama at the 2016 Audio Awards and has recently directed a second series of Ed Harris’s Dot for Radio 4.

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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 writer, artist and autodidact from the North-East of England. She makes work in a variety of forms, predominately theatre but also poetry, arts journalism, prose, painting, artist books and moving image. In 2015/16 she trained as a playwright with Graeae Theatre Company. She also talks publicly about mental health and disability and runs a mental health support group.

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