Primers Volume Seven 


Announcing Our Finalists: 

Nine Arches Press are thrilled to announce the finalists of Primers Volume Seven, as chosen by this year's selecting editor Katie Hale, and Nine Arches Press editor Jane Commane.

Jade Cuttle worked as Arts Commissioning Editor at The Times before her AHRC-funded PhD research into 'Silthood: British Nature Poets of Colour' at the University of Cambridge. Her work has won a Northern Writers Award, the BBC Proms Poetry Competition, the Morley Prize and been commissioned for radio and television. Warren Records released her album of poem songs 'Algal Bloom' with funding

and support from PRS Foundation and BBC Introducing. @JadeCuttle

Read 'Mudlark' by Jade Cuttle here

Antonia Taylor is a British Cypriot writer, communications expert, and poet. Her work has appeared in Propel, Ambit, Harana, South, New Contexts, Blood Moon Poetry, Marble Magazine, Dear Reader, and Indelible Literary Journal and she is working on her first pamphlet. Antonia also writes onthoughtful marketing, creative living and writingon Substack/@antoniataylor. Raised in Cyprus, she now lives in Reading, with her two teenage children and husband.

Read 'Border Crossings' by Antonia Taylor here

Laura Varnam is the Lecturer in Old and Middle English Literature at University College, Oxford. Her poetry is inspired by the medieval texts that she teaches, especially the Old English epic Beowulf. Her poems have been published in journals including Bad Lilies, Banshee Lit, Berlin Lit, and Wet Grain; with creative-critical

non-fiction in postmedieval and Annie Journal; and in Gods & Monsters: Mythological Poems (ed. Ana Sampson, illustr. Chris Riddell).

Read 'Grendel's Mother addresses the Author' here

We’re also pleased to announce that these further seven poets were shortlisted by our selecting editors:

Rebecca Ferrier was the Bridge Award winner for an Emerging Writer in 2020, shortlisted for the Alpine Fellowship Poetry Prize in 2023 and runner-up for the inaugural Disabled Poets Prize. Her poetry has been published by Poetry Ireland Review, Canthius and Anthropocene, while her prose can be found with Extra Teeth and New Gothic Review. She is a PhD student at Northumbria University

and a member of Glasgow University’s RSE-funded DeathWrites network.


Bethany Handley (she/her) is a writer, poet and Disabled activist from South Wales. Her work has been published in POETRY, Poetry Wales, Spelt, The Welsh Agenda and featured by BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Wales and the Poetry Foundation. Bethany was awarded Creative Future’s Gold Prize for Creative

Non-fiction 2023 and she is co-editing a bilingual anthology of Welsh d/Deaf and Disabled writers.


Erica Hesketh’s poems have appeared in The North, Acumen, harana poetry, Propel, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Friday Poem and elsewhere. She was

placed second in the 2022 Winchester Poetry Prize, and was commended in the 2023 Magma Poetry Competition (Editors’ Prize) and the 2023 Stanza Competition. She is the Director of the Poetry Translation Centre, and a member of the

Southbank Centre New Poets Collective 2023–24.


Nashwa Nasreldin is a writer, editor, and literary translator of Arabic literature.

Her poems have appeared in a number of publications including Anomaly,

Magma, Under the Radar, and The Emma Press Anthology of Love. Her poem, ‘Daybreak’ was a runner up in the 2018 Ambit Poetry competition, judged by

Malika Booker.


Ilisha Thiru Purcell is a poet from Newcastle upon Tyne. She was selected as one of the three poets in the Poets of Colour Incubator (2023/4), and is a Young Creative Associate with New Writing North. Ilisha performed at the 2023 Newcastle Poetry Festival and her work has appeared in publications such as Butcher’s Dog and

Bi+ Lines Anthology. She is part of the group Brown Girls Write. 

Henry St Leger (he/they) is a poet and technology journalist based in London, with bylines for The Times and The Independent, alongside media appearances for BBC World News. Their poems have featured in Magma Poetry (Physics Issue), Poetry London, Ambit and Agenda, as well as the murder mystery video game 'Overboard!'. They tend to write about love, the news cycle, and how technology changes who

we are.


Caroline Stancer: After gaining a creative writing MA from Nottingham Trent University, Caroline Stancer wrote Full Body Reclaim on Writing East Midlands’ Mentoring Scheme with Helen Mort. She was longlisted for Primers 2020, the National Poetry Competition 2021, commended in Verve Festival’s Competition

2023 and published in Otherwise Engaged, Litter Magazine and Ink, Sweat and Tears. She is studying for a PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University and also working on a novel.

You can read a sample poem by of each of these ten poets at the Nine Arches Press blog

We’re also pleased to announce that a further 23 poets were longlisted and are commended by our selecting editors:

Galia Admoni · Tom Bailey · Nia Broomhall · Alex Mepham · Karan Chambers · Angela Cheveau · Carol Dalton

Chloe Elliott · Suzanna Fitzpatrick · Nasreen Gill · Kayla Jenkins · Elizabeth Kirby · Sheila Lockhart

Emma McGordon  · Katie Munnik · Gregory Kearns · Clare Proctor · Catherine Redford 

Charlotte Salkind · Jessica Sneddon · Laura Strickland ·  Susan Watson · Claudia Winter



Our hearty congratulations to everyone on the shortlist and the commended poets on our longlist, and our thanks

to everyone who entered their poems into the Primers Volume Seven call for submissions.


About Primers:


Primers is a biannual mentoring and publication scheme organised by Nine Arches Press, now in its seventh edition. It provides a unique opportunity for talented poets to find publication and receive a programme of supportive feedback, mentoring and promotion. The selecting editor and mentor for Primers Volume Seven is poet and novelist Katie Hale.


Katie Hale is an internationally recognised poet and novelist, who has held residencies and fellowships around the world. Her novel, My Name is Monster, was shortlisted for the Kitschies Golden Tentacle Award and has been translated into multiple languages, and her second pamphlet, Assembly Instructions, won the Munster Chapbook Prize. She is a former MacDowell Fellow, Hawthornden Fellow, and winner of the Palette Poetry Prize, and was awarded a 2021 Northern Debut Award for White Ghosts which was published by Nine Arches Press in March 2023. She lives in Cumbria, where she also writes for theatre and immersive digital performance, and mentors emerging poets.

The three selected finalists will receive:

  • Two poetry mentoring sessions with Katie Hale.
  • An editorial mentoring session with Nine Arches Press editor and Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellow Jane Commane.
  • Publication in Primers Volume Seven in summer 2024.
  • Ten free copies of Primers Volume Seven.
  • Primers live showcase events (online and in person) in 2024.
  • £100 worth of Nine Arches Press books.


All ten shortlisted poets will receive a publication spotlight feature on our blog, plus a special Nine Arches poetry-writing handbook bundle worth £30.


 Dates to remember:

  • Primers Volume Seven publishes in August 2024