Richard Forsdyke – Chair
Richard Forsdyke is a partner in the real estate group at international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, where he has 20 years’ experience in advising on major property developers, landlords and local authorities. He holds an M.A. in Philosophy & Law from Cambridge (Robinson College) and an M.Sc. in Politics from the LSE. His politics Master’s thesis was published as “After The Landslide” by the Centre for Policy Studies, where he served as a research fellow. He is a former trustee of The Pavement Poetry Trust and has undertaken courses at Poetry School. He plays rock drums to a low standard and is, so far, a failed novelist. He is married with four children and lives 100 metres from the Poetry School in Kennington.
Helen Taylor – Trustee
Helen Taylor (BA Hons Cantab) was Literature Officer for Cambridgeshire County Council for 9 years and is now a Literature Consultant and works for Carol Ann Duffy the Poet Laureate as PA and Laureate Project Coordinator. Helen taught in secondary schools for five years before becoming Head of Education at The Poetry Society. She has taught on the University of Cambridge’s MA in Children’s Literature and the PGCE course at the University of Cambridge. She has been a director of two Poetry Festivals and is now on the programming committee of the Cambridge Literary Festival. She has also worked for Cambridge City Council as Community Arts Liaison Officer and founded her own company The Voices Project, which developed and delivered creative projects in the community for local authorities and museums. Helen initiated and project managed the year long Poetry and Museums Project ‘Thresholds’ curated by the Poet Laureate which involved 10 poets in residence in 10 University of Cambridge museums and collections working with young people and writing new poems.
Mona Arshi – Trustee
Mona Arshi worked as a human rights lawyer at Liberty before she started writing poetry. She completed her Masters in poetry in 2011 at the University of East Anglia with a distinction. Her debut collection ‘Small Hands’ won the Forward Prize for best first collection in 2015. She has also been a prizewinner in the Magma, Troubadour and Manchester creative writing competitions. Mona was the 2016-2017 Arvon/Jerwood poetry mentor and teaches and mentors regularly at schools and colleges. She has curated poetry events at the House of Commons with EVAW (End Violence Against Women) on International Woman’s Day and co-edited a special issue of POEM magazine on the theme of Brexit in June 2017. Mona has performed her work at over 40 Festivals both here and abroad. She has read at the Royal Society of Literature, Poetry School, the Southbank Centre and in 2017 she was on the judging panel for the Forward Prize and co-hosted the awards at the Royal Festival Hall. Mona makes regular appearances on the radio including Front Row and was commissioned to write a programme on The Odyssey for ‘Book of the week’ for Radio 4, which was broadcast in March 2017. Her poems and interviews have been published in many magazines but also in The Times, The Guardian, in the US and The Times of India as well as on the London Underground. Mona has recently been working with ‘Dancing Words’ and collaborated with composer Tom Szirtes and dancer Ella Mesma to develop a film poem – ‘Ballad of the Small Boned Daughter’ which was screened at the BFI in January 2018. Mona’s second collection is due to be published in early 2019 by Liverpool University Press.
Robin Boyd – Trustee
Robin Boyd is director of the Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival that was revived in 2016, as well as a director of the Aldeburgh Library Foundation. Before retirement he worked in the finance sector as an investment analyst in New York, London and Zurich and then in technology, designing systems to support and automate company financial analysis. In 1990 with his wife Caroline, he also set up ARC Software Consultancy, a company that continues to specialise in, amongst other things, digital rights and repertoire data systems for the Music, Publishing, and Visual Media worlds. Robin was educated in New York, England and at Oxford (History and Economics). He is married with two grown up children.
Sean McDonagh – Trustee
Sean McDonagh is Head of Academic Engagement at Rowman & Littlefield International, an independent publisher of interdisciplinary books on Politics, Philosophy and Cultural Studies. With experience across a range of departments at various publishers including Bloomsbury Publishing and Quarto Press, he has developed broad publishing insights, specialising in marketing, communications and community engagement. Originally from Birmingham, he now lives in London, where he enjoys writing and reading poetry, the vast array of events and the opportunity to learn through courses taken at the Poetry School. He has also lived in Italy, where he specialised in Irish and American Literature at the University of Turin, during his time studying English at the University of Leicester. He has since continued to learn Italian, completing the C1 Advanced course at the Italian Cultural Institute and is pursuing his interest in language and culture by participating in poetry translation workshops and the Warwick Translates Summer School.
Latiya Nanton – Trustee
Latiya Nanton recently graduated from London Metropolitan University with a First Class Honours in Fine Art. She has experience in theatrical costume design and exhibiting her own artworks. Latiya spent her childhood learning, and teaching, dance and martial arts; she aspires to curate an exhibition series exploring her heritage, culture, and the future of Caribbean identity in Britain.
Andrew Hewish – Trustee
A profile for Andrew Hewish is forthcoming… Save