Lewis Johnson was born in Liverpool, in one of the UK’s most deprived wards. His research explores the working-class in contemporary British poetry, from 1979-2019. His thesis explores the intersection of poetry and politics - examining the contemporary working-class through a triadic analysis of neoliberalism, deindustrialisation and austerity. He is facilitating a public study into class in British poetry, via an extended interview series, with the Centre for New and International Writing.
Bernadette McBride is a writer and social advocate from Liverpool, UK. She is the author of ROOTS: THE ECO-JOURNAL, published in 2018, and won the Liverpool Guild 2019 award for the ‘Biggest Impact on the City of Liverpool’ in recognition of her innovative green-creative writing workshops.
Her doctoral research is fully funded by the John Lennon Memorial Scholarship and focuses on a critical study of climate change in short fiction. The creative component of her PhD will be a cli-fi (climate fiction) short story collection. As well as being published in paperback, magazines and online journals, Bernadette is currently working on an autofictional novel, Dark Bay. Bernadette is also a qualified expressive arts therapist, having completed her PCEAT certificate in 2019, and all her work is rooted in the creative connection and a person-centred approach to teaching.
Ruby Robinson was born in 1985 and grew up in foster care in South Yorkshire. Her research explores the articulation / representation of affect (particularly that which can be attributed to developmental trauma) and the poetic process, focusing on key themes such as attunement, attachment and loss. The research draws on and responds to a range of interdisciplinary perspectives, including literary, neuroscientific, philosophical and anti-psychiatric, to reflect on the poetic process and to inform new creative work. Ruby is the author of one collection of poetry, Every Little Sound, published by Liverpool University Press in 2016.
David Tierney was born in Galway Ireland. His doctoral research focuses on questions of non-human animal communication in science fiction literature. The creative component of his PhD will be a science fiction novel set in a future Ireland and focuses on the voices of rescued farmed non-human animals as well as companion robotic non-human animals. Previous to, and alongside his writing, David studied psychology and counselling, and he currently helps to facilitate the creative writing for well-being workshops with Liverpool Life Rooms. He has had non-fiction featured across numerous publications, poetry published with The Galway Review, and fiction published with the Stinging Fly.
Jennifer Lee Tsai
Jennifer Lee Tsai was born in Bebington and grew up in Liverpool. Her doctoral research in Creative Writing is fully funded by the AHRC and critically focuses on questions of race, gender and embodiment in contemporary experimental poetry and so-called French feminist theory. This, in turn, informs the development of new creative work. Previous to, and alongside her studies, Jennifer worked as a teacher of English as a Foreign/Second Language in universities and colleges for many years in the UK and abroad. She is a fellow of The Complete Works poetry programme for diversity and innovation and a Ledbury Poetry Critic. Her creative and critical work is widely published in numerous magazines and journals including Magma, Oxford Poetry, The Rialto, Poetry London, The Poetry Review, Versopolis Review, The White Review, Wild Court as well as in the Bloodaxe anthology Ten: Poets of the New Generation (2017). Jennifer’s debut poetry pamphlet is Kismet (ignitionpress, 2019). She is the winner of a Northern Writers Award for Poetry 2020.
Natalie Wall is an English Literature PhD student having previously completed her masters in Literature and Modernity at University of Edinburgh and undergraduate in English Literature at Durham University. Her research focuses on contemporary trauma literature and theory, particularly representations of the traumatised body and the public reception of trauma fiction. Currently her research is focusing on the engagement with trauma fiction in online spaces and the limits of traditional academic criticism for understanding and addressing these emotional responses, using post-critical theory. She is also a freelance writer and has had previous work published in The Sundae, Digital Fix, Bindweed Magazine, Lumpen Journal, The Independent, Horrified, Refinery29, and VICE UK.
Sarala Estruch is a writer, poet, and critic. Her debut poetry pamphlet Say (flipped eye, 2021) was a Poetry School Book of the Year 2021, and her debut full collection of poetry, After All We Have Travelled, will be published with Nine Arches Press in January 2023. Her poetry, creative non-fiction, and criticism have appeared in a variety of journals, including The Poetry Review, Poetry London, Wasafiri, The New Statesman, and The Guardian. She has received commissions from the BBC, the National Trust, the University of Leicester, and the Brontë Society, and she has been a Ledbury Poetry Critic since 2017.
From October 2022, Sarala will be a doctoral candidate at the University of Liverpool researching the poetry and poetics of contemporary mixed-heritage poets and British-Punjabi poets. She is a recipient of the JIC Davies Doctoral Studentship in English.
Before taking up PhD research under David Hering and Daniel O'Connor on portrayals of disability and employment in post-1900 literature, Saul worked in higher education as a disability supervisor and disability rights campaigner. He is the Accessibility Officer for ADDRESS, a user-led disability organisation on Merseyside, and he writes for Public Disability History. Saul has chaired launch events for fiction anthologies at Blackwells, and works with Penguin Random House to assist disabled novelists with their writing. In 2021, his story ‘Loggerhead’ won the award for best postgraduate fiction and was published by Liverpool University Press in The Great Read anthology, alongside George Orwell and Toni Morrison. In 2022 he was on The Great Read's judging panel. He has taught creative writing in a number of settings, including the University of Liverpool’s module Creativity: Socially-Engaged Writing Practice.