Board and Patrons

Festival Team


Celia Imrie   Edna Longley   Michael Longley   Christopher Reid



Stephen Boyce worked for Southern Arts, the Community Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) before becoming a freelance arts and heritage consultant. He has extensive experience as trustee of cultural bodies and sits on the National Lottery Heritage Fund committee for London & South.  A prize-winning poet, he is the author of three full-length collections – Desire Lines (Arrowhead 2010), The Sisyphus Dog (Worple 2014), The Blue Tree (Indigo Dreams 2019). A resident of Winchester for over 30 years, Stephen now lives in Dorset.

Susmita Bhattacharya is an Indian-born British writer and lecturer at Winchester University. Her debut novel, The Normal State of Mind (Parthian) was longlisted for the Word to Screen Prize at the Mumbai Film Festival, 2018 and Table Manners (Dahlia Books) won the 2019 Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection and was adapted for BBC Radio 4. She leads the ArtfulScribe Mayflower Young Writers programme in Southampton and has worked on several Arts Council England funded projects in Hampshire. She also mentors new writers and has judged several writing competitions.


Jane Bryant, chair,  recently stepped down as Chief Executive of Artswork, a national youth arts charity, after 10 years in post. With a profound commitment to the importance of equality of access to arts and culture, Jane’s previous roles include Project Director - Find your Talent (Urban South Hampshire), Chief Executive of Coda Music Trust, and Head of Development with Arts Council England SE. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a resident of Winchester, Jane is now working freelance.  She is also an active practising musician and in her spare time conducts two choirs in Hampshire. She is currently undertaking an MA (part-time) at University College London.


Hilary Davies has published four collections of poetry from Enitharmon, the latest of which is Exile and the Kingdom. Hilary has won an Eric Gregory Award, was a 1st prize winner at the Cheltenham Literary Festival Poetry Competition, and has been a Hawthornden Fellow and Chairman of the Poetry Society. She was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the British Library 2018-9 and at King’s College, London 2012-6, and is a Fellow of the English Association. She has appeared at the Ledbury, Torbay, Strokestown, Athens and Druskininkai Poetry Festivals. For many years she was Head of Languages at a secondary school in London.  She is also a translator, essayist and critic.


Lynne Dick is Head of Programme (Engagement and Learning) at John Hansard Gallery, Southampton and is committed to inclusion, diversity and community engagement in and through the arts.  She was an artist and artist-educator for many years, and has worked across the arts and heritage sectors in the region, gaining experience within the charity and local government sectors.  Until 2019, Lynne was Director of Making Space a craft development charity based in Havant.

Dr Will May is an Associate Professor in English at the University of Southampton. He set up the F.T. Prince Memorial Lecture, an annual lecture which celebrates the work of the poet F.T. Prince, and recently edited the collected poems of Stevie Smith for Faber. He is currently researching the history of mentoring in British poetry.


Rupert Nabarro OBE, is an economist specialising in urban research, analysis and development. In 1985 he founded the Investment Property Databank which in 2005 and in 2010 was awarded the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Life Fellow of the Society of Property Researchers. He has been Chairman of Whitchurch Silk Mill Trust and is also a long-term trustee of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Common Ground.

Keiren Phelan has a background in journalism and publishing, having worked for IPC Media, Collins, Heinemann and Pitman, and has also produced a series of sound recordings of live poetry readings. He joined Southern Arts as a marketing specialist and went on to become a literature specialist for Arts Council England. He was a trustee of New Writing South for a number of years and editor of the website Literary Winchester.

Sophie Reynolds is the Collections and Interpretation Manager at Jane Austen’s House, Chawton. Previously she worked at the V&A, where for ten years she managed festivals and special projects for the Department of Theatre and Performance, including London Design Festival at the V&A and the V&A Performance Festival. She has an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths College, in 2013 she was Poet in Residence at the New Diorama Theatre in London, and in 2015 her first poetry collection, Theatreland, was published by Indigo Dreams. Her all-female adaptation of Ibsen's A Doll's House for Theatre Delicatessen enjoyed a sell-out run in London and at Latitude in 2010.


Dr Jillian Saucier has enjoyed participating in the Winchester Poetry Festival--as a poet, volunteer and trustee--since her immigration to the United Kingdom. She is pleased to contribute her professional experience in higher education administration, legal services and philanthropy to the Winchester Poetry Festival community. She has published poems in print and online anthologies and magazines.

Jon Sayers trained as an actor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and worked as an advertising copywriter and creative director before turning to writing and teaching. He has published poems and translations in journals in the UK and USA, including Magma, The Rialto, Kaffeeklatsch, Literary Review and The Squaw Valley Review. He has served as Chair of Magma Poetry, Deputy Chair of The Poetry Society trustees and was Poet in Residence at Sunday Assembly, London. He teaches creative writing for wellbeing in London and co-runs the Kent and Sussex Writing and Wellbeing Network.

Bear Shaw  Beyond the soldier, the art historian, the librarian and MBA driven day job, Bear is a poet who  encourages everyone to find the poetic in the everyday, especially beyond the printed word.

Jon Whitfield QC is a barrister with 30 years experience of criminal, regulatory and mental health law. As such he has a great deal of experience of public speaking and performance. Jon is a trustee of three pension funds and a charity aimed at improving mental health for patients in Ghana.  Jon has read and written poetry for much of his life experimenting with poetry performance including with improvised guitar and other musical accompaniment.

Associates and advisers

Artistic Director - Sasha Dugdale is a poet, translator and editor. She has published three collections of poetry (Carcanet), two collections of translations of Russian poetry and also translations of new Russian plays for the Royal Court Theatre and the RSC. She has been a mentor for younger black and Asian poets in the Complete Works project, was guest editor of Salt’s Best British Poetry 2012 and is editor of the magazine Modern Poetry in Translation.

Treasurer - Sue Spiers is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants with an MBA and BA in Literature from the Open University. She served as OU Poets' treasurer 2010-2017 and as editor of British Mensa's Poetry SIG from 2016. As an accountant Sue has worked for Marconi, Smiths Aerospace, and Pharmaceutical Product Development. As a poet her work has appeared in various print and online magazines, and in several anthologies. Her role with Winchester Poetry Festival is as treasurer.