About Me

I’m a Birmingham-based writer, and I write all sorts of books, plays and poetry.

As artistic co-director of Secret City Arts with Pyn Stockman, I use writing in community arts projects with adults and children in Birmingham and beyond. We are currently working Birmingham  Hippodrome and with children in four schools to turn my children’s poetry book, Animal Lullabies into a professional theatre piece for young children, funded by Arts Council England. More here.

I’ve published over 60 children’s books, including picture books, stories, poetry, information and history books, readers and baby books. My latest picture book, Dominic Grows Sweetcorn (Frances Lincoln) is based on my neighbour’s story of growing up in Jamaica and coming to Birmingham in the 1950s.

Some of my books

A few of my children’s books

Twice shortlisted for Birmingham Poet Laureate, I also write non-fiction, poetry and plays for grown up audiences. I co-edited Jewish Motherhood with Ronne Randall, published by Five Leaves.

Jewish Motherhood

Cradle to Grave, performed at Moseley Hall Hospital and other NHS venues

Cradle to Grave, performed at Moseley Hall Hospital and other NHS venues

My play, Cradle to Grave, was based on interviews with an NHS consultant, manager and cleaner, and with retired nurses and a doctor who qualified before the NHS was created in 1948. Cradle to Grave was directed by Polly Wright of The Hearth Centre, and professionally performed in hospitals and union settings.

A scene from The Fancy

A scene from The Fancy, performed at Project Pigeon’s loft, Digbeth

The Fancy, my play for Project Pigeon, explored the secret culture of pigeon fancying in the Midlands. Based on oral history interviews with pigeon fanciers, it was professionally recorded and performed at Project Pigeon’s loft in Digbeth in 2013.

I have wide experience of creative writing workshops and teaching with children and adults in community and schools settings. I lead the Young Writers’ Group at Walsall New Art Gallery on behalf of Writing West Midlands, and have worked with Ikon Gallery and BMAG on recent projects exploring visual arts as a stimulus for creative writing. I use a variety of innovative approaches including getting writing off the page, writing outdoors, ribbon writing, and poetry maps – great for reluctant or under-confident writers.

I love working with artists in other artforms, to cross-fertilise writing with music, drama and other arts. I have worked with CBSO, Ikon Gallery, Mac, Birmingham Cathedral, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Birmingham Libraries, Ledbury and Much Wenlock Poetry Festivals, Birmingham Museums Trust and have taught at Birmingham and Newman Universities and BCU.