About Us

“Exist in messiness. That might just be what adulthood is like.”
Michael Donkor

SNWF 2021

Our Mission

Surrey New Writers Festival is collaboratively run by staff and students in Creative Writing and English Literature at the University of Surrey. The Festival aims to highlight new writing from emerging and established authors around the UK, and to bring a variety of forms, genres, and voices to our audiences. We are committed to providing a safe and inclusive space for all writers and readers, both within our university and the wider community, and we actively support discussions and forums that delve into the intricacies of the writing process and connections to topical and contemporary themes in literature.    

Liz Bahs: Festival Director (2018-2021)

Stephen Mooney: Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Surrey

Bran Nicol: Head of the School of Literature and Languages at the University of Surrey

2022 Festival Team

About the team


Hi, I’m Tenikah, one of the two Head Writers from the 2021 festival, and this year’s Festival Director! I’m a recent graduate of the MA Creative Writing course, and when I’m not reading books or watching Disney films, I’m a part time drama teacher. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams and The Sun is also A Star by Nicola Yoon are my favourite books, and my favourite genres are romance and fantasy. Before starting the MA course, poetry and theatre scripts were primarily my chosen writing forms. I have since begun to gravitate towards YA fiction and screenwriting.


Hi, my name’s Leon, and I’m returning this year as one of your Assistant Directors for SNWF 2022! I’m a final year English Literature and Creative Writing undergraduate with a keen love for sci-fi, fantasy, and interactive writing, and my favourite authors are (still) Iain Banks and John Keats. It’s so exciting to be back for another year!


Hi, I’m Beth (she/her) and I am a PhD student at the University of Surrey and your co-Assistant Festival Director for SNWF 2022! I research and write historical/ historiographic fiction and I am particularly interested in intersectional feminist narratives. My favourite book is Fingersmith by Sarah Waters and my favourite play is The Revolutionists by Lauren Gunderson. I also love a creepy horror tale or two and particularly enjoy Julia Armfield’s short stories in this genre! My favourite book of 2021 is The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed.

Liz Bahs:

Hi, I’m Liz, Surrey New Writing Festival’s Academic Lead. I am also Programme Director for the BA in English Literature with Creative Writing at the University of Surrey. My favourite forms are long poems and poetry sequences but my comfort reading is always detective fiction (especially Agatha Christie).


Hi, I’m Chiara. I am an Italian writer, actress and singer based in London. I hold a Level 6 Diploma in Musical Theatre, a BA in Theatre and I’m currently in my second year of my MA Creative Writing and loving every moment of it! In my writing, I love to blend fiction and real-life stories, and take much of my inspiration from my own experiences and from the people I love. I am absolutely thrilled to be part of the Surrey New Writers Festival 2022 writing team!


Hi, I’m Lana. I’m a final year English Literature with Creative Writing student here at Surrey. This is my first time with the festival (very exciting) and I am absolutely delighted to be co-head writer this year! My favourite books include I Capture the Castle and The Code of the Woosters, but I am a sucker for a good romance novel. I can’t wait to meet some of you at the festival in May!

Past Festival Teams




2017 – 2018