Contributor Biographies


Vahni Capildeo

Trinidadian Scottish writer Vahni Capildeo’s eight books include Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet, 2016), centred on prose poetry; Venus as a Bear (Carcanet, 2018), a book of ‘things’ (animals, glass, moss, sugar cane trash, cremation ash, language), and Skin Can Hold (Carcanet, 2019), texts which invite readers to turn them into immersive theatre. Their work has been recognized with awards such as the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection. Capildeo holds a DPhil in Old Norse literature and translation theory, and has worked in academia; in culture for development; and in lexicography.  Their non-fiction explores a range of topics, such as microtravel, cocoa growing in Trinidad, an English feminist gardener in Kenya, poetry and offence, and citizenship. Capildeo held the Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellowship and the Harper-Wood Studentship at the University of Cambridge, the UNESCO Poetry Fellowship in Norwich, and a Douglas Caster Cultural Fellowship at the University of Leeds.

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Yousif M. Qasmiyeh


Yousif is a poet, translator and doctoral researcher at the University of Oxford’s English Faculty. In addition to teaching Arabic at the University of Oxford, Yousif is Writer-in-Residence for the AHRC-ESRC funded Refugee Hosts research project (, the Arabic language researcher on the Prismatic Translation strand of the Creative Multilingualism project, and the ‘Creative Encounters’ editor for the Migration and Society journal.

JL Williams


Books by JL Williams include Condition of Fire (Shearsman, 2011), Locust and Marlin (Shearsman, 2014), Our Real Red Selves (Vagabond Poets, 2015), House of the Tragic Poet (If A Leaf Falls Press, 2016) and After Economy (Shearsman Books, 2017). She is interested in expanding dialogues through writing across languages, perspectives and cultures and in multimodal and cross-form work, visual art, dance, opera and theatre.

Published widely in journals, her poetry has been translated into numerous languages. She has read at international literature festivals and venues in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Turkey, Cyprus, Canada, Hungary, Romania, Montenegro and the US. She wrote the libretto for a new opera, Snow, was Writer-in-Residence for the British Art Show 8 in Edinburgh and plays in the poetry and music band Hail of Bright Stones. In 2019, she was awarded a bursary to develop a new opera with composer Samatha Fernando at the Royal Opera House. Williams curates writing events and creates workshops and professional development activities for poets.

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Amy Bryce


Amy Bryce is a London-based composer, performer and director. Her work is often theatrical or site specific, specialising in interdisciplinary collaborations with a variety of artists; dancers, theatre-makers, sculptures, scientists and animators. To celebrate the centenary of women’s votes, Amy worked on ‘Suffragette City’, an immersive theatre project collaborating with the National Trust and the National Archives, which turned an underground warehouse in Piccadilly into a 1918 WSPU Headquarters. She was also a recipient of an Associate Artist’s Commission from the London Symphony Orchestra (for their Community Choir), following participating on the LSO Panufnik Composer’s Scheme in 2016/17. This year Amy was awarded a grant with the Stiftung Kunst und Musik für Dresden, where she worked as Composer-in-Residence for 3 months this year. Her new work ‘A Kinder Society’, a site-specific, immersive chamber opera, premiering at the Europäisches Zentrum der Kunste in Hellerau in 2020.   

Daniel Kidane


Daniel Kidane‘s music has been performed extensively across the UK and abroad as well as being broadcast on BBC Radio 3, described by the Financial Times as ‘quietly impressive’ and by The Times as ‘tautly constructed’ and ’vibrantly imagined’.

Daniel began his musical education at the age of eight when he started playing the violin. He first received composition lessons at the Royal College of Music Junior Department and then went on to study privately in St Petersburg, receiving lessons in composition from Sergey Slonimsky. He completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the RNCM under the tutelage of Gary Carpenter and David Horne. Currently, he is undertaking a doctoral degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, supervised by Julian Anderson.

Recent and future projects include the premiere of his orchestral work Zulu by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; a new work for the CBSO Youth Orchestra, which is inspired by Grime music; a chamber work for the Cheltenham Festival which draws inspiration from Jungle music and a new type of vernacular; a song cycle commissioned by Leeds Lieder and inspired by the poetry of Ben Okri, which will be premiered by Nick Pritchard; and a new piece for the baritone Roderick Williams and the Chineke! Orchestra which will be played at the reopening of the Queen Elizabeth Hall in April 2018.

Recent commissions for Michala Petri (recorder) and Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) were released on CD and premiered in the UK at Wigmore Hall. Works for members of the London Symphony Orchestra, which have focused on multiculturalism, and an orchestral work for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, motivated by the eclectic musical nightlife in Manchester, also received critical acclaim.

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George Stevenson


Scottish composer George Stevenson has worked with musicians of the London Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, New Russia State Symphony Orchestra, Psappha Ensemble, Berkeley Ensemble, Assembly Project and BCMG NEXT, as well as dancers of the Bolshoi Ballet. Other works have been commissioned by Moscow Viola Festival, Suzuki Scotland, Pentaèdre and Juncture Ensemble.

 In early 2019, George’s orchestral piece ‘False Summit’ was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra under François-Xavier Roth through the Panufnik Scheme, leading to a further commission for the orchestra’s 2020/21 season. This year also sees George working again with Manchester-based Psappha Ensemble, as the recipient of the 2019/20 Peter Maxwell Davies Commission.

Past awards include First Prize in the St Magnus Composers' competition, as well as the Dvořák Prize at the International Dvořák Competition. George was a 2018 PRS Accelerate Scheme composer and winner of ‘The Night With...’ Call for Scores, the Montréal Concert Society Prize and the Risuonanze Festival Call for Scores.


Terry O'Connor


Terry O'Connor is a core member and performer with Forced Entertainment, a collective practice of six artists based in Sheffield who received the 2016 International Ibsen Prize for contribution to theatre. In 2009, she was awarded an AHRC Creative Fellowship at Roehampton University and in 2011 she was made Professor of Contemporary Theatre and Performance Practice at the University of Sheffield. In November 2016 she was awarded a Creative Fellowship as part of collaboration between the University of Birmingham, the RSC and the Shakespeare Institute. Her doctoral research practice (2019-24) investigates experimental and improvisational process and collaborative aesthetics within contemporary performance.

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Tony Palmer

Tony Palmer is an acclaimed British filmmaker, opera director and writer. He is considered one of the world's leading directors of music documentaries and historical dramas. He has won over forty international prizes for his work, including television's most coveted award, the Prix d'Italia - a prize he has been awarded twice. His filmography includes over one hundred films - ranging from early works with rock musicians such as The Beatles, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Cream, and Frank Zappa ("200 Motels") to renowned portraits of Maria Callas, Margot Fonteyn, Yehudi Menuhin, Igor Stravinsky, Benjamin Britten, William Walton and John Osborne, His 8-hour dramatic portrait of Wagner - starring Richard Burton, Laurence Olivier and Vanessa Redgrave - was described by the Los Angeles Times as "one of the most beautiful films ever made". Among over 40 international prizes for his work are 12 Gold Medals at the New York Film & Television Festival, as well as numerous EMMY and BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television) and nominations and awards. He was a longtime music writer for Britain's "The Observer" newspaper. His 1968 review of the Beatles' "White Album" famously declared them "the greatest songwriters since Schubert" - and was subsequently reproduced in the liner notes of the "Yellow Submarine" album.