I was born in Lowestoft in 1969 and left school to work at a printers and then a bookshop. I am a full-time writer, freelance poet, playwright and workshop leader.
Most recently, in 2018-19, I wrote Pearls from The Grit, the successful touring theatre show. Featuring three actors, a musician and myself as the writer/narrator, it was performed to sell-out audiences across East Anglia in October 2018 and November 2019. This co-incided with the publication of a revised edition of The Grit: The Story of Lowestoft's Fishing Village, described as an East Anglian oral history classic, which I originally co-wrote with Jack Rose in 1997.
A Jerwood/Arvon Young Poet in 2003, I have two collections, The Swan Machine (2015) and The Bubble Wrap (2017) for children, and have written three one-man shows including Dean’s Dad’s Ducks which appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe.
In the 1990s I co-wrote, edited and published nearly 40 local history books. In 1999 I began my long association with the international Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and its organisation, The Poetry Trust, where I held various roles for 15 years, latterly as Creative Director.
Since 2015 I have worked as a freelance writer & workshop leader and run sessions in schools, prisons, colleges, universities and residential homes, with every age from primary children to the over nineties.
In 2016 I co-founded Poetry People which delivered The Grit, a project to celebrate Lowestoft's forgotten fishing village. Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project ran from 2017-18 and won a National Creative Learning Award for Literature and Creative Writing.
I'm the first poet to appear on BBC1 reading a poem on the loo.
He writes with an eye for detail
and a winning sense of irony.
Funny, sad and thought-provoking
in equal measure
East Anglian Daily Times
A natural born storyteller