Our Team

Who we are

Judges & MC

Poetry By Heart Team 2017



  • Julie Blake – Educational direction
  • Tim Shortis – Development and sustainability


Development team

  • Kath Lee – Project Coordinator
  • Mike Dixon – Editorial
  • Chorna Williams – Communications
  • Karen Lockney – Research
  • Fiona Meadley­ – Finance
  • Patrick Shortis­ – Web
  • Alison Powell – Learning resources, CPD




Thank you to Tim Wong, Gursoy Gallip and Kate Rudland at Howoco for all aspects of Poetry By Heart’s website development and graphical design, to Peter Griffin for our printing and distribution and to Lucy Drury for our artwork copyrights.

Thank you to our previous project assistants for all their excellent work in building Poetry By Heart:  Tom Boughen, Lily Owens-Crossman, Mike Shortis, Jack Miller, Kirstie Orpen.

Also to Sarah Wilkin, Lorna Smith and Neil Bowen for additional content research and writing additional poem editorial


The contractor for the 2016/2017 iteration of Poetry By Heart is the Full English (Education) Limited which also maintained and developed the Poetry By Heart website.


Sir Andrew Motion – (Chair) 

Andrew Motion was UK Poet Laureate from 1999-2009, and is co-founder and co-director of the Poetry Archive and Poetry By Heart. In 2015 he moved to Baltimore, where he is Homewood Proefessor of the Arts at Johns Hopkins University. His most recent collection of poems is Peace Talks (2015).

Jean Sprackland (Chair)

Jean Sprackland’s most recent collection, Sleeping Keys, was published in 2013. Tilt won the Costa Poetry Award in 2008, and Hard Water was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. She is also the author of a book of essays, Strands: A Year of Discoveries on the Beach, which was awarded the Portico Prize in 2012. She is Academic Director of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, and the Chair of the Poetry Archive.

Jacob Sam-La Rose (Finals MC)

Jacob Sam-La Rose’s poetry has been characterised as vivid, masterly and carefully structured. He is widely regarded as an indefatigable facilitator, mentor and supporter of young and emerging poets. His collection Breaking Silence was published by Bloodaxe in 2011.

Tim Dee

Tim Dee is a writer and BBC Radio Producer who makes radio dramas and poetry programmes, including Poetry Please and The Echo Chamber. His acclaimed account of his life as an amateur birdwatcher, The Running Sky, was published in 2009. Four Fields, the story of four green fields was published in Autumn 2013. He is now working on one book about spring in Europe, and another about men who watch gulls.

Glyn Maxwell

Glyn Maxwell is a poet, playwright, librettist and critic. His poetry collections, which include Pluto, Hide Now, The Nerve and The Breakage, have all been shortlisted for the Forward or TS Eliot Prizes, and his opera The Firework Maker’s Daughter, for which he wrote the libretto, was nominated for Best New Opera at the Olivier Awards in 2014. Drinks With Dead Poets, the sequel to his popular guidebook On Poetry, is published in September 2016.

Daljit Nagra

Daljit Nagra’s highly acclaimed debut poetry collection Look We Have Coming to Dover! won the 2007 Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the South Bank Show Decibel Award. His collection Tippoo Sultan’s Incredible White-Man Eating Tiger Toy Machine! was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize, as was his latest work, Ramayana: A Retelling, which was published in 2013. He was recently appointed the inaugural Poet in Residence for BBC Radio 4. Visit his website at daljitnagra.com.

Patience Agbabi

Patience Agbabi is a poet, performer, mentor and Fellow in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University. An experienced lecturer in Creative Writing, she has delivered workshops in secondary schools, art centres, libraries, youth clubs and prisons. Her latest collection is Telling Tales (Canongate, 2014), a contemporary version of The Canterbury Tales. It was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and Wales Book of the Year.