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RISE: Artists in Residence

To reflect on the RISE throughout 2019, Almanac Arts has commissioned ten female Liverpool writers to take up residence and write about the programme as it unfolds throughout 2019. Their poems, songs, stories and plays-in-miniature will pop up throughout the festival year, in film, print, online and in performance.  The writers include Lizzie Nunnery (Winner of Best New Play at UK Theatre awards 2017), acclaimed poets Helen Tookey (Best British Poetry 2014, Salt), Jennifer Lee Tsai (Ten: Poets of the New Generation, Bloodaxe 2017), playwright Lindsay Rodden (The Story Giant), Yemeni-Scouse performance poet Amina Atiq (BBC6 Music Festival), short story writer Stephanie Jane Gray (Writing on the Wall), and acclaimed novelist and playwright Deborah Morgan.


Lizzie Nunnery


click here to see the lyrics to Finest Hour, a song by Lizzie Nunnery in response to Gaia at Liverpool Cathedral


Lizzie is a playwright, screenwriter and songwriter.

Lizzie’s first play Intemperance (Liverpool Everyman, 2007) was awarded 5 stars by The Guardian and shortlisted for the Meyer-Whitworth Award. She co-wrote Unprotected, winner of the Amnesty International Award for Freedom of Expression (Everyman/Traverse Edinburgh, 2006). The Swallowing Dark (Liverpool Playhouse Studio/Theatre503 2011, Inis Nua Theatre Philadelphia USA 2017) was shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award. Narvik (Box of Tricks UK Tour 2017, Norwegian Tour Autumn 2019) won Best New Play in the UK Theatre Awards 2017. Other recent work includes plays with songs The Sum (Everyman 2017), The People Are Singing (Manchester Royal Exchange 2017), The Snow Dragons (National Theatre 2017) and To Have to Shoot Irishmen (UK tour 2018). She has also written extensively for BBC radio, with new series Daphne to be broadcast in summer 2019.

Her debut short film, Monkey Love, was broadcast on Channel 4 in 2009.  Since then she has developed original screen ideas with companies including Lime Pictures, Little Brother Productions, Mainstreet Pictures and BBC Studios. Her original feature film With Love is in development with Blue Horizon Productions, supported by BFI. She is also developing a feature film version of her play Narvik with West One Entertainment.


Amina Atiq


Click here to listen to Amina Atiq – RISE women RISE in response to Yolart’s RISE at River Festival commission.


Amina Atiq is a Yemeni- Scouse writer, performance artist, facilitator and activist.

Amina has been involved in national and international projects, working alongside Roots & Routes international, Ice and Fire theatre, BBC6 Music Festival, Writing on the Wall, The Arab Arts Festival, ORT Gallery many more.

She has been featured on various artistic platforms such as BBC Radio 5 live, BBC6 music, The Independent, British Muslim TV @thewarehouse, Skinny magazine, Bito Lito, Whispering Dialogue and Human Appeal

Recent work involves co-writing a play with Ice Fire Theatre, which was premiered in the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2018. Amina was awarded the LJMU Citizenship award for her active and community engagement work and awarded the best North West volunteer by Human Appeal. You can follow her on Twitter via @AminaAtiqpoetry .

Deborah Morgan


Deborah Morgan lives in Liverpool. She left primary school teaching to see if she could write and graduated with an MA in creative writing from Liverpool John Moores University, where she went on to lecture. Her first novel, Disappearing Home, was published by Tindal Street Press. She collaborated on, and wrote, the award-winning, Anfield Home Tour, for the Liverpool Biennial. She recently completed the Playwrights’ Programme, at the Everyman & Playhouse. Her stage play, The Punter was shown at the Cornerstone Theatre, and Unity Theatre 2017. Her new stage play: Knee-Deep in Promises, will be produced by The Royal Court Theatre, September 2019. Deborah is writing her second novel, she teaches creative writing in Liverpool.

Ella Greenhill


Ella is a playwright and television writer originally from Nottingham, she has lived in Liverpool for the past 13 years. She has taken part in the Bush/Kudos initiative and was one of the winning writers for ITV’s Original Voices for BAME writers for Coronation street.
She is currently writing for ITV’s Coronation street as well as developing projects with Mainstreet and Artist’s Studio.
Ella’s writing roots are in theatre and she was writer on attachment with both Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and Paines Plough. She is a Royal Court Studio writers group alumnus and was one of the 2015/16 Theatre 503 five writers in residence.
Her play Plastic Figurines toured with Box of Tricks in spring 2015 and went on to have a run at the New Diorama in autumn 2016. Her play Made in Britain was at the Old Red Lion Theatre in January 2015 and her play, A Deafening Silence was shortlisted for the Papatango New writing Prize. Most recently her play, Into the Water was produced by the Matei Visneic Theatre in Romania.

As well as across the UK, Ella’s work has been performed in Mexico, New York, Madrid and Romania.

Helen Tookey


Helen Tookey is a poet based in Liverpool, where she teaches creative writing at Liverpool John Moores University. Her debut collection Missel-Child (Carcanet, 2014) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney first collection prize. Her pamphlet In the Glasshouse was published by HappenStance Press in 2016, and the CD/booklet If You Put Out Your Hand, a collaboration with musician Sharron Kraus, came out from Wounded Wolf Press also in 2016. She is currently collaborating with composer and sound artist Martin Heslop, putting text together with electronic soundscapes. Her second Carcanet collection, City of Departures, is forthcoming in July this year.


Jennifer Lee Tsai


Click here to listen to Jennifer Lee Tsai’s poems in response to Shanghai Sacred


Jennifer Lee Tsai is a British-Chinese poet. She was born in Bebington and grew up in Liverpool. An alumna of St Andrews and Liverpool Universities, she completed an MA in Creative Writing (Poetry) with Distinction at the University of Manchester in 2015. Jennifer is a fellow of the acclaimed national poetry development programme The Complete Works III which promotes diversity, quality and innovation in British poetry. In 2017, she was selected as a Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critic. Her poems are published in the Bloodaxe anthology, Ten: Poets of the New Generation (2017), Ambit, Oxford Poetry, The Rialto, SMOKE and Soundings. Her critical reviews have been published by Modern Poetry In Translation, Poetry Book Society Bulletin and The Poetry School.

Jennifer is an experienced teacher of English as a Foreign Language and has taught English extensively at universities and colleges. She is also a qualified yoga teacher.

Currently, Jennifer is the Writer in Residence at The Windows Project in Liverpool, a charitable trust which delivers creative writing workshops in the community for all ages and abilities, where she is working on a year-long Arts Council England funded project entitled ‘Further Than Sky’. She is an Associate Editor for the small-press poetry magazine, SMOKE. Her debut poetry pamphlet is forthcoming from ignitionpress in 2019.

Lindsay Rodden


Lindsay is a writer and dramaturg, brought up on Merseyside and in Co.Donegal, Ireland.

Her writing for theatre includes The Story Giant (Liverpool Everyman, adapted from the book by Brian Patten); Cartographers (Theatre by the Lake); A Modest Proposal and Sunday Morning, Dandelion Seeds (women playwrights’ collective Agent 160); Man With Bicycle, ’73 and Writing in the Dark (The Miniaturists); and numerous collaborations with musicians and other artists.  She has just completed a year’s writer-in-residence with Northumbria University and Live Theatre, and she is currently writing a play for Curious Monkey and Northern Stage for production next year.

Her writing on political theatre and the writer/director John McGrath has just been published in Scenes From The Revolution (Pluto Press).

She has worked as a dramaturg in Ireland and the UK on many plays and productions, especially for Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, where she worked for eight years.  Recent work also includes Tiergarten (Metal); Beyond Belief (Tmesis); Horny Handed Tons of Soil (Unity Theatre); Narvik (Box of Tricks) and To Have To Shoot Irishmen (Almanac).


Louisa Roach


Under the moniker She Drew The Gun, songwriter Louisa Roach began by playing solo gigs around Liverpool a few years ago. She soon caught the attention of The Coral’s James Skelly who she began working with at his independent record label Skeleton Key Records, recruiting band members along the way. At first glance Roach’s fuzzy psych-pop may suggest that the Wirral born songwriter is another ‘Cosmic Scouser’ but then you’re drawn into the spirit of rebellion: songs that rally against injustice and food banks and celebrate outsider-dom. Roach was late to music, releasing her first LP Memories of the future after a decade of motherhood and studying at college. The second LP Revolution of Mind, released October 2018, again produced by James Skelly, continues the fine work laid out on her 2016 debut. Included in the top 10 albums of 2018 by BBCRadio6 Music, the record was one of the runaway indie successes of last year. The band recently completed a sold out UK tour and have a packed festival and touring schedule for 2019.

‘Junkyard Scouse soul… built ingeniously on a Wirral council budget’ ★★★★ Uncut


Stephanie Jane Gray


Stephanie is a fairly new writer having only taken up writing less than a year ago. At that time, it was purely by chance that she applied for a creative writing course. The course was devised by the Liverpool Mental Health Consortium and managed by Writing on the Wall with Marg Morgan as the course mentor.

Stephanie calls her work a form of ‘social commentary’, and likes to write in a way that draws upon metaphors and the common experiences of the reader or listener, so that they are in her shoes and seeing things through her eyes. She coined the phrase, ‘A Conversation with the World,’ to describe what she wants to say about herself and her place in the world.

Stephanie is excited about working on RISE. It presents a real opportunity to shine a light on the contributions, very often unacknowledged, that women make both in society and on the larger world stage in pushing the boundaries of human experience and development.

She recently had a selection of her work published in a Writing on the Wall anthology.