What’s On

2022 Festival

Timetable for our 2022 Festival!


10:3011:45Taster Session: ‘Gazing Inwards: Exploring Characters’ Emotional Landscapes’ with Michael Donkor and a Q&A
11:4512:00Networking chat via Zoom
12:0013:15Conveying Identity with Dara Kalima, Ella McLeod, and Joelle Taylor
13:2013:40Networking chat via Zoom
13:4515:00Lunchtime Readings: Narrative with Beth, Neel, Stephen
15:1516:45Building Brand Identity: A Panel on Small Presses with Angela/Stephen, Sharron, Chiara and readers
17:1518:45Psychology of the Author and the Self with Lauren Foley, Sunny Singh, and Julia Armfield
18:45 19:45Dinner break
19:45 21:00Headline Reading: Elise Valmorbida


11:0013:00Masterclass: ‘They f*** you up, your mum and dad: Writing about Dysfunctional Families’ with Beth Miller
13:3015:00Open Mic
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Our 2022 lineup!


Elise Valmorbida

Italian Australian author Elise Valmorbida has published journalism, poetry, short stories, three non-fiction books and four novels including The Madonna of the Mountains, which has been translated into several languages and in 2019 won Australia’s biggest literary prize for fiction. Elise is also an award-winning indie film producer and script consultant. Her latest work is The Happy Writing Book, an inspirational guide to creative writing and wellbeing, fuelled by her 20+ years of experience as writer-teacher.


Beth Miller

About Beth

Beth Miller is the author of six novels, the most recent of which, The Woman Who Came Back to Life (2022), will be published in six languages. She has also published two non-fiction books: For the Love of Shakespeare (2016) and For The Love of The Archers (new edition out in 2022). She is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Brighton University, and teaches creative writing at various places including for Arvon. She also works as a writing mentor and book coach.

They f*** you up, your mum and dad

This year’s Masterclass session is ‘They f*** you up, your mum and dad: Writing about dysfunctional families’ and will be given by the novelist Beth Miller. Suitable for both new and practised writers, this intimate session will see Beth explore how to construct family dysfunction and the impact it has on characters. Through this workshop, writers will gain a better understanding of how to realistically present dysfunctional families in a way beneficial to their stories!

Taster Session

Michael Donkor

Working with a selection of exciting contemporary works by authors from Deborah Levy to Caleb Azumah Nelson, Michael Donkor will take you through lively creative exercises. These will help enrich, deepen and animate moments when your characters are involved in complex self-reflection.

Question and Answer Session

Neel Mukherjee

Panel – Conveying Identity

The subject of ‘identity’ is both factual and elusive. It intertwines social constructs and ideology with how one chooses to represent their self both on a personal level and in a wider societal context. But how do writers tie these debates around identity within their creative work? What can words, characters and story say about these conversations about what makes us individual but also what makes us human? Join us for this exciting panel where poets and YA authors come together to discuss the poignancy of this in their work and their experiences of the world.

Dara Kalima

Dara Kalima, also known as The Community Poet, is a Bronx, NY resident who started writing at 9, dedicated herself to the craft at 16, and locked into her voice at 25. She holds both a BA and MA in theater. She is the founder of Black Authors Collaborative and serves as vice president of Poetix University, an international home for all poets. She co-hosts Word2Wordz a monthly poetry focused podcast. Kalima has performed on stages across New York and made her international debut in 2018 when performing in Scotland. She has also performed her poetry Off-Broadway. Kalima explores the concepts of love, equality, and healing all through lived experiences and personal observations. She has authored four books, Black Man, Black Woman, Black Child (2015), Casualty of Love (2017), Two X Chromosomes with an Extra Shot of Melanin (2019) and Still Laughin’ (2021).

Joelle Taylor

Joelle Taylor won the T. S. Eliot Award in 2022 with C+NTO & OTHERED POEMS. Prior to the pandemic, she completed a world tour with her collection Songs My Enemy Taught Me. She founded SLAMbassadors, the UK national youth poetry slam championships, as well as the international spoken-word project Borderlines. She is widely anthologised, the author of 4 collections of poetry. She has received a Changemaker Award from the Southbank Centre, a Fellowship of the RSA, and her poem Valentine was Highly Commended in the Forward Prize. She is a co-curator and host of Out-Spoken Live, a poetry and music club currently resident at the Southbank Centre; and the commissioning editor at Out-Spoken Press.

Ella McLeod

Ella McLeod is a writer, poet, performer. She graduated first in her year at Warwick University. She won Shoot From The Lip spoken word poetry competition in 2017 and has since worked as a spoken word poet and actress, and as an Assistant Producer for Somethin’ Else, now part of Sony Music Entertainment. Ella also created and narrated Celina and the Spider, a series of three family-friendly storytime sessions with HOME Manchester. She is a proud South Londoner and lives in Peckham with her partner, Michael, and their cat, HRH Princess Persephone. She loves Hwa ramyun noodles, romantic faerie fiction, big dresses, Shakespeare and poetry from the Harlem renaissance. She has 14 tattoos. Her debut novel Rapunzella, or, Don’t Touch My Hair, will be published in July 2022.

Panel – Psychology of the Self and the Author

The self is somewhat a psychological entity which can be studied, unpicked and understood. Why do we do the things we do as people and how can past events affect who we are today? As writers, a part of our ‘self’ tends to be involved with any creative work we produce. Why is that? How do we choose which parts of our self to explore and how does being an ‘author’ create a whole separate part of the self to explore in connection to our work? Join us as we delve into the works of three wonderful writers who explore the representation of the self in many forms, and how they explore their connection to the theme as authors.

Sunny Singh

Sunny Singh is Professor of Creative Writing and Inclusion in the Arts at the London Metropolitan University.

She is the author of three critically acclaimed novels Nani’s Book of Suicides (2000)With Krishna’s Eyes (2006) and Hotel Arcadia (2015), as well as Single in the City: The Independent Woman’s Handbook (2001), a groundbreaking exploration of single women in contemporary India, and Amitabh Bachchan (2017), a pioneering academic study of the Indian superstar.

Her essays, short stories, book chapters and columns are published worldwide in key journals, anthologies and media outlets. She is the founder and director of annually awarded Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour, the Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize and the Jhalak Art Residency. Singh is currently finalising a collection of short stories examining aspects of armed conflict over the past century as well as a monograph on Indian cinema. In her various roles, Singh is a champion for inclusion across all aspects of society, advocating an intersectional, decolonising approach to building radical global solidarities. In her various roles, Singh is a champion for inclusion across all aspects of society, advocating an intersectional, decolonising approach to building radical global solidarities.

Julia Armfield

Julia Armfield is a fiction writer with a Master’s in Victorian Art and Literature from Royal Holloway University. She lives and works in London with her girlfriend who is fine and their cat who is garbage. Her work has been published in Granta, Lighthouse, Analog Magazine, Neon Magazine and Best British Short Stories 2019 and 2021. She was longlisted for the Deborah Rogers Prize 2018 and was the winner of The White Review Short Story Prize 2018. In 2019, she was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award. Her debut collection, salt slow, was published by Picador in May 2019, and by Flatiron in the US. salt slow was longlisted for the Polari Prize 2020 and the Edge Hill Prize 2020 and was shortlisted for the London Magazine Prize for Debut Fiction 2020. Her story ‘Longshore Drift’ won a Pushcart Prize in 2020.

Lauren Foley

Lauren Foley (she/her) is Irish/Australian and bisexual. Her stories are published internationally. She has Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and is chronically ill and disabled; the majority of her writing is dictated. In 2016, her story ‘K-K-K’ won the inaugural Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize with Overland Literary Journal and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Short Story of the Year. She was shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year in 2017; and nominated for The Pushcart Prize. Lauren was awarded a prestigious Next Generation Artist’s Award in Literature from the Arts Council of Ireland in 2018, and subsequent Artist’s bursaries. She is the recipient of two Varuna Fellowships, two Tyrone Guthrie Residencies and a Cill Rialaig Residency. Her creative nonfiction piece ‘I Don’t’ is published in, The Art of the Glimpse, 100 Irish Short Stories, ed. Sinéad Gleeson. She won the 2021 Los Angeles Review Literary Awards, nonfiction category. Lauren’s debut short story collection—Polluted Sex—is published by Influx Press.

Panel – Creating Brand Identity

Angela Szczepaniak

Angela Szczepaniak is the author of The Nerves Centre, Unisex Love Poems (an illustrated novel-in-poems), and The QWERTY Institute (visual fictions), which details the lives, inks, and deep-C adventures of a variety of fonts as they wade through awkward social situations. She is a Lecturer and Programme Director of the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Surrey.


Lunchtime Readings on Narrative

Our Lunchtime Readings session returns this year with work from some exciting authors. Masterclass session runner, Beth Miller and Brand Identity panelist Dr Stephen Mooney will be treating us to a reading from their works with a Q&A. This will take place alongside a middle section involving Surrey’s own Distinguished Writer in Residence Neel Mukherjee who will be in conversation with fellow writer and teacher Paul Vlitos.

Sharron Green

Reading High Salvage

Chiara Fumanti

Reading High Salvage

Stephen Mooney

Lunchtime reading

Beth Miller

Lunchtime reading

Open Mic

The much-loved Open Mic will be returning for SNWF 2022, this time chaired by the brilliant Sharron Green! All writers and writing enthusiasts are welcome to join us again this year to share their work, and to hear from other authors of all calibres from around the world. Sign up by clicking here!

The Surrey New Writers Festival is an annual event run by the University of Surrey’s School Literature & Languages (SLL).

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