I’m delighted to be facilitating a fourth iteration of Desert Island Poets with yet another fantastic line-up.   Each poet will read a poem by a contemporary poet and then one of their own which was inspired by this poet/poem.   They will explore the connections between the two poems before being cast away on the island with their choices… This event is a great way to discover and enjoy the riches that the world of contemporary poetry has to offer us.   If you’d like to come along, contact me on the e-mail address on the poster below and I will put you on the guest list.

Photo credit — Jane Wilkinson

Jessica Mookherjee is a British poet of Bengali heritage and grew up in Wales and London, now lives in Kent.   She has been published in many print and online journals and anthologies including Agenda, The North, Rialto and Under the Radar.   She was twice highly commended for best single poem in the Forward Prize 2017 and 2021.   She is author of 3 full collections.   Flood ( Cultured Llama) was published in 2018.   Her second collection Tigress (Nine Arches Press) was shortlisted for the Ledbury Munte Prize in 2021.   Her most recent full collection is Notes from a Shipwreck (Nine Arches Press 2022).   She has also published a long prose poem called Desire Lines (Broken Sleep Books 2023). 


Mary Mulholland’s poems have been published in many journals, most recently Rialto, 14 Magazine, Fenland Poetry Journal, and forthcoming in Raceme, Stand, Finished Creatures;, also in anthologies: Aesthetica, Corrupted Poets, Fragmented Voices, and Candlestick Press.   She’s  been shortlisted, commended and placed in competitions, most recently Aesthetica, Nature and Place, Hippocrates, Ver, Kent & Sussex, and won IAmInPrint, 2022.   Her debut pamphlet What the Sheep Taught Me (Live Canon)  and her collaboration-pamphlet (with Simon Maddrell and Vasiliki Albedo) All About Our Mothers (Nine Pens) were published in 2022, with its sequel, All About Our Fathers, due soon.   She has a Newcastle/ Poetry School MA and is an alumna of the Advanced Faber Course.   Former journalist and psychotherapist, she co-edits The Alchemy Spoon, and founded the poetry platform Red Door Poets.  @marymulhol


George Szirtes’s first book of poems, The Slant Door (1979 ) was joint-winner of the Faber Prize.   He has published many since then, his collection, Reel winning the T S Eliot Prize in 2004 for which he has been twice shortlisted since.   He has won several other prizes for poetry and translation, including in Hungary, China and Romania.   His latest book of poetry is Fresh Out of the Sky (2021).   His memoir of his mother, The Photographer at Sixteen, (2019) won the James Tait Black prize for Biography 2020 and was shortlisted for four other prizes.   His twenty or so books of translation from Hungarian poetry, fiction and drama, include László Krasznahorkai’s Satantango for which he was joint winner of the International Man Booker Prize in 2015, a prize he himself went on to judge in 2020.   His own books in translation include those translated into Italian, German, Chinese, Hungarian and Romanian.   Married to artist Clarissa Upchurch, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an elected member of the Széchenyi Academy of Arts in Hungary.   He has been a reviewer, librettist, anthologist, essayist and broadcaster. He retired from the University of East Anglia in 2013.


Adnan al-Sayegh was born in al-Kufa, a city on the banks of the Euphrates in Iraq in 1955 and is one of the most original voices of his generation of poets.   His poetry denounces the devastation of wars and the horrors of dictatorship.   Adnan has published twelve collections of poetry, including the 550-page Uruk’s Anthem (Beirut 1996) and the 1380-page The Dice Of The Text (Beirut, Baghdad 2022).
He left his homeland in 1993, lived in Amman, and Beirut then took refuge in Sweden in 1996.   Since 2004 he has been living in exile in London.   He has received several international awards; among them, the Hellman-Hammet International Poetry Award (New York 1996), the Rotterdam International Poetry Award (1997) and the Swedish Writers Association Award (2005), and has been invited to read his poems in many festivals across the world.   His poetry had been translated into into many languages, including 7 books of poetry in: Swedish, English, Dutch, Iranian, Russian, Spanish and French.
His last book ‘Let Me tell you What I saw‘, Extracts from ”Uruk’s Anthem” was published by Seren Books, October 2020; edited, translated and with an introduction by Jenny Lewis with others.


Sarah Doyle is the Pre-Raphaelite Society’s Poet-in-Residence.   She has been published extensively in journals and web-spaces such as Spelt Magazine, Finished Creatures, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, Under the Radar, The Lonely Crowd, Morning Star, Wild Court, Atrium Poetry, Lighthouse Journal, and Ink, Sweat & Tears; and has been widely anthologised by publishers including The Emma Press, Places of Poetry, Broken Sleep Books, and Shoreline of Infinity.   She is a former winner of the William Blake Poetry Prize, the Wolverhampton Literature Festival poetry competition, and Holland Park Press’s Brexit in Poetry; and has been a runner-up in the Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize and Keats-Shelley Essay Prize.   Sarah has been highly commended in the Best Single Poem category of the Forward Prizes and subsequently selected for Poems of the Decade: An Anthology of the Forward Books of Poetry 2011-2020.   A pamphlet of poems collaged from fragments of Dorothy Wordsworth’s journals — Something so wild and new in this feeling — was published by V. Press in 2021; her second pamphlet, (m)othersongs, is due from the same publisher in September of this year.   Sarah is currently researching a PhD in meteorological poetry at Birmingham City University.   Her website is and she tweets as @PoetSarahDoyle


John McCullough lives in Hove.   His third book of poems, Reckless Paper Birds, was published with Penned in the Margins and won the 2020 Hawthornden Prize for Literature as well as being shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award.   His poem ‘Flower of Sulphur’ was shortlisted for the 2021 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.   His fourth collection, Panic Response, was published by Penned in the Margins in 2022 and was a Book of the Year in The Telegraph as well as being included in The Times’ list of Notable New Poetry Books of 2022.   Other awards include the Polari First Book Prize.   He teaches creative writing at the University of Brighton and for organisations including The Arvon Foundation.   His favourite poets include Anne Carson, Frank O’Hara and Elizabeth Bishop.   He lives with his partner and two cats, and is especially interested in biodiversity, Japanese culture and Doctor Who.


Tamar Yoseloff’s most recent collection is The Black Place (Seren, 2019).   She is also the author of Formerly (the inaugural chapbook from her publishing venture, Hercules Editions), incorporating photographs by Vici MacDonald and shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award, and collaborative editions with the artists Linda Karshan and Charlotte Harker respectively.   She has run courses for galleries including the Hayward, the RA and the National Gallery and co-curated the exhibition A Fine Day for Seeing at Southwark Park Galleries in 2021.   She’s a lecturer on the Poetry School / Newcastle University MA in Writing Poetry.


Julian Bishop is a former environment journalist turned poet.   He lives in Barnet with his family and dog and runs a small media company.   He’s worked for many years as both reporter and producer with the BBC and also on ITV’s News At Ten.   Many of his poems are based on news stories.
He’s been widely published with poems in Magma, The Morning Star and Extinction Rebellion’s Rebel Talk among others.   He’s also been runner-up in the International Ginkgo Prize for Eco Poetry and his first collection called We Saw It All Happen is out in early 2023 from Fly On The Wall Press.
Last and certainly not least he’s a member of the Enfield, Palmers Green, Crouch End and South Kensington stanza groups.
contact: twitter @julianbpoet


Moniza Alvi was born in Pakistan and grew up in Hertfordshire.   Having taught for many years at a London comprehensive school, she now lives in Norfolk where she works as a freelance writer and tutor.   Her first collection The Country at My Shoulder (Oxford University Press, 1993) was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot and the Whitbread poetry prizes and selected for the New Generation Poets promotion. Europa (Bloodaxe, 2008) and At the Time of Partition (Bloodaxe, 2013) were also shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.   She received a Cholmondeley Award in 2002.   A collection of her poems was published in Italy by Donzelli Editore, Un mondo diviso (2014), translated by Paola Splendore.   Al tempo della Partizione, also translated by Paola Splendore (an Italian version of At the Time of Partition), followed from Fuorilinea in 2020.   Moniza’s most recent collection is Fairoz (2022), a poem sequence in which she explores an imagined teenage girl’s susceptibility to extremism.   She has completed a PhD at the University of East Anglia on the poetry of Stevie Smith.


Arji Manuelpillai is a poet, performer and creative facilitator based in London.   He was the Jerwood/Arvon Mentee mentored by Hannah Lowe.   His poetry has been published in magazines including Poetry Review, The Rialto and Bath Magg.   He has also been shortlisted for prizes including The National Poetry Prize 2021, The Out-Spoken Prize and The Winchester Poetry Prize 2021.   Arji’s debut pamphlet ‘Mutton Rolls‘ was published with Out-Spoken Press in 2020 and his new book ‘Improvised Explosive Device’ was released in the Autumn of 2022.   This highly acclaimed book was noted in The Telegraph’s Top 20 poetry books of the year, was The PBS Winter Selection and was also named in The Guardian’s best recent poetry section in December 2022.