Publisher/ Editor – Stuart Bartholomew
Stuart Bartholomew is Director and Programmer of VERVE: a Birmingham Festival of poetry and spoken word, which returns for its fifth year in February 2022. He is also Publisher at and Co-Founder of Verve Poetry Press – an independent press that focusses on publishing poets from Birmingham and beyond who share the festival’s ethos. His programming and publishing vision is to celebrate the full breadth of quality poetic activity in Birmingham and the UK – whatever the style or source – in colourful and exciting ways.
Marketing Manager – Kibriya Mehrban
Kibriya Mehrban is a poet living and working in Birmingham. They graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2018 and have spent most of their time since working for various literature festivals and organisations, and also performing themselves. In 2019 they were were accepted onto the Hippodrome Young Poets and was part of their collaborative anthology ’30 Synonyms for Emerging’ (Verve Poetry Press, 2019). They’re currently enjoying being part of the team behind the Overhear app.
Our Advisory Board – Cynthia Miller, Amerah Saleh, Roy McFarlane, Helen Calcutt
Our board members meet with us at least twice a year to help us evaluate our strategy going forwards, and review our current performance against the aims and promises we have been making.
They were selected due to their strong connections to our city and the festival, to their embodyment of the values which we stand for, and most importantly, for their honesty and likely contradictory view-points.
Cynthia Miller is a Malaysian-American innovation consultant, poet and festival producer living in Edinburgh. She is one of the co-Founders of the Verve Poetry Festival and a former Trustee of the Forward Arts Foundation. Her poems have appeared in Ambit, Rialto, Butchers Dog, and harana poetry, among others, and a pamphlet length collection of her work appeared in
Primers Volume 2 (Nine Arches Press, 2018) edited by Jane Commane and Jacob Sam La Rose. She is currently working on her first full collection.
Amerah Saleh is an internationally acclaimed Muslim Yemeni poet born and raised in Birmingham, releasing her book I Am Not From Here (Verve Poetry Press, 2018) and closing the Commonwealth Games Ceremony from Goal Coast to Birmingham live to 1.4 billion people. Winner of Overall Youth Excellence Award 2015 and named Brum 30 Under 30 in 2018. She is the Co-Founder of Verve
Poetry Press, Board Member of Birmingham’s only producing theatre: Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the UK’s Spoken Word organisation Apples & Snakes. Her passions include engaging young people in change that affects them, Italian food, writing poetry and shaking up organisations.
Roy McFarlane is a poet and former community worker. He has held the role of the Birmingham Poet Laureate, been the Starbucks Poet in Residence and is currently the Birmingham & Midlands Institute Poet in Residence.
His debut collection was Beginning With Your Last Breath (Nine Arches Press 2016). Roy’s second collection The Healing Next Time
(Nine Arches Press 2018) was nominated for the Ted Hughes award, longlisted for the Jhalak Prize, a Poetry Book Society recommendation and selected by the Guardian as one of the best poetry titles of 2018.
Helen Calcutt’s poetry and critical writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Huffington Post, the Brooklyn Review, Unbound, Poetry Scotland, Wild Court, Envoi, The London Magazine and others. Her debut pamphlet, Sudden Rainfall (Perdika, 2014) was a PBS Choice. Her debut collection, Unable Mother, was published by V.Press in 2018. She is the editor and creator of Anthology
Eighty-Four (Verve Poetry Press, 2019) which was a Sabotage Best Anthology short-listed title, and a Poetry Wales Book of the Year, and raised money for CALM’s prevent male suicide campaign. Her latest work is the pamphlet Somehow (Verve Poetry Press, 2020) and her second full collection is currently in preparation.