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New Squad Writers Join Our Board

Four smiling headshots arranged in a square of Beth, Chloe, James and Tayiba

Following an open application process, four Squad writers have joined the Squad Board to maintain our commitment to our writers making up at least 50% of our governing body. We are sad to say a big thank you to long serving members Jasmine Simms and Sarah Gonnet, but excited by the new perspectives these four will bring. 

Chloe Elliott and James Varney will be joining as full members signed up at Companies House. Beth Westbrook and Tayiba Sulaiman will be joining as part of our On-Board Experience programme. This offers Squad writers the chance to experience what is like to be on a cultural organisation’s board, though if you were to listen in to a meeting you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, they are given the same space and listened to in the same way as everyone else.

Beth is a scriptwriter based on The Wirral. She’s passionate about improving the representation of Neurodivergence and Disability, and was featured in The Stage with the Neurodivergent Creatives Network, an online support network she co-founded. Her play ‘Sunny Girl’ is Arts Council funded, and is being developed with HER Productions. Her second play ‘Awareness’ was part of Unity Theatre’s Open Call, and was part of Traverse Theatre’s Breakthrough Writers in association with Lung Ha Theatre Company, alongside being shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Playwriting, and the Bruntwood Prize. She joined the Squad in 2020.

Chloe is an artist and writer based in York. She is a Winner of the 2022 New Poets Prize and the 2020 Creative Future Writer’s Award. Her debut pamphlet, ‘Encyclopaedia’ was published by Smith|Doorstop in 2023. Her writing can be found in bath magg, Poetry Birmingham, The North, Magma and Strix, amongst others. She currently works for Aesthetica and Modern Poetry in Translation. Chloe joined the Squad in 2020.

James is a Manchester-based writer and theatre maker, making work about cities with and for the people who live in them. James is Lead Artist of We Live Here, who make space for creative conversations with communities about their relationship to place.  He has delivered on several Squad projects over the years. As a freelancer he has delivered projects for the BFI, HOME, Manchester Literature Festival, Manchester International Festival, Ignite Yorkshire and Transform Festival, using multi-arts practice to imagine and create the world we want to live in. James joined the Writing Squad in 2014.

Tayiba is a writer and translator from Manchester. She is the 2021 winner of the Eugene Lee-Hamilton Poetry Competition and has read her work at the 23rd Poesiefestival in Berlin. She’s currently working at a literary agency while completing an Emerging Translators Mentorship with the National Centre for Writing. Tayiba joined the Squad in 2020.

They will be joining Squad writers and old board hands Gregory Kearns and Ruth Awolola. You can meet the full Writing Squad team and the rest of the Board here.

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