Artist Biographies

Poets TJ Poets TJ

CHAWKI ABDELAMIR is an Iraqi poet and diplomat. He has lived in exile in Algeria and Paris (where he was the cultural attaché for the South Yemeni government) and is currently Iraq’s UNESCO representative. He has translated Gullevic into Arabic and Adonis into French, and published over 30 books, most recently Attenter à la mort and L' Obélisque d'Anail which won the Max Jacob prize.


PETER ADEGBIE is a Nigerian-born poet who works as a pastor and community leader in Sunderland. He has a PhD in poetry from Newcastle University, and recently represented Sunderland at the 10th Artomatic Festival in Washington DC.


KEABONYE BAREENG is a Tswana poet and cultural activist from Botswana and the chairperson of the Maruping Poetry Organization. She performs her work in Setswana and English all over Africa and has won many awards.


JUSTYNA BARGIELSKA is a Polish poet. She has published eight collections, won

the Rainer Maria Rilke poetry competition, and twice won the Gdynia Literary Prize. Her work has been translated into French, German, Slovene, Dutch, Russian, Czech and English.


AMARJIT CHANDAN was born in Kenya and grew up in India. The author of six collections of poetry and five books of essays, he has also edited and translated over thirty books into Punjabi, including works by Brecht, Neruda, Ritsos, Hikmet, Vallejo, Cardenal and Berger. His most book is The Parrot, the Horse and the Man.


FRANCIS COMBES is a French poet, editor and novelist. The author of fifteen books of poetry, he has also translated Heine, Brecht, Mayakovsky and Joszef into French. He founded the radical publishing cooperative, Le Temps des Cerises, directs the poetry biennale in Val de Marne and was for many years responsible for putting poems on the Paris Metro.


ZOILA FORSS is a Peruvian-Finnish poet and translator based in Finland. She has written two collections, Revontuli and Unguilty Harpoon.


JO HEATHER was born in South Africa, grew up in Devon and now lives on the edge of the North York Moors. She has been involved in the Mudfog Books collective for many years.


ABDULKAREEM KASID is an Iraqi-born poet and essayist. He escaped from Iraq in 1978 and lived for many years in Syria. He has translated Rimbaud, Prevert and Saint-John Perse into Arabic. His version of Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale, set in modern-day Iraq, was performed at the Old Vic in 2006. His books in English include Cafés and Sarabad.


GERÐUR KRISTNÝ is an Icelandic poet, novelist, playwright and children’s writer. She received the Icelandic Literature Awards for her cycle of poems, Blóðhófnir. Her most recent book is Drápa.


AURÉLIA LASSAQUE writes and sings in French and in Occitan (a language of southern France). She has performed across Europe, North and South America, Africa, Indonesia and India. Her first book, Pour que chantent les Salamandres has been translated into many languages. Her most recent collection is En quête d’un visage.


ERIC MOTSWASELE is a Setswana praise poet and cultural activist from Botswana.

He is the winner of a Creative Arts and Culture Award in Poetry and a Silver Medal in poetry from the University of Botswana.


KALLE NIINIKANGAS is a Finnish poet, translator, travel writer and publisher. His works

have been translated into many languages including Estonian, Hungarian, Russian and English.


MICHAEL ROSEN has written and edited over 140 books, including No Breathing in Class, Mind Your Own Business, Wouldn’t You Like to Know and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. He currently writes a regular column in the Guardian and presents Radio Four’s long-running Word of Mouth. His most recent book is The Disappearance of Emile Zola.


LEV RUBENSTEIN is a Russian poet and performer, winner of the prestigious Andrey Bely award and one of the founders of Russian conceptual art. Writing long sequences of poems on index-cards borrowed from the Moscow library where he worked, he was one of the most famous samizdat poets of the 1970s, and widely acclaimed as the heir to the OBERIU poets of the 1920s. His work is published in English as Here I Am and The Compleat Catalogue of Comedic Novelties.


CHRIS STEWART is a Middlesbrough poetand performer whose poems and stories have appeared in many magazines. His film-poem Ars Moriendi was recently long-listed for the CYCLOP International Videopoetry contest.  


PAUL SUMMERS recently returned to the North-east after four and a half years living in Australia. A founding editor of the magazines Billy Liar and Liar Republic, he has written extensively for TV, film, radio and the theatre. His most recent books are union, primitive cartography and straya.


JUDI SUTHERLAND lives in Barnard Castle, County Durham. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of London, and won the Margaret Hewson Prize in 2012.


MARGARET WILLIAMS is a Middlesbrough-based artist who has exhibited her work all over the North-east. Her collections include Under Skin and Within a Still Eye/En Senmova Centro.