Author profile: Making Marks in the Sand

Nigel Ferrier Collins is a writer and visual artist whose articles, stories and poems have appeared in various newspapers, magazines and anthologies. He has MAs in English and American Literature from The University of Kent (thesis on Wallace Stevens), and in US philosophy and literature from Kings College London. He has been a detached youth worker, actor, special educational needs teacher, counselling trainer, education adviser, management consultant, and manager of a group of British international schools. He co-founded the Poetry Society at the University of Kent and arranged readings by many of the leading British poets of the mid sixties. He was involved with the early days of establishing the Old Fire Station arts centre in Oxford. He is the author of four books published by The National Youth Bureau (now the National Youth Agency), Heinemann Educational Books, and Oxford University Press.

Linda Davis’ short story “The War at Home” won the Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction contest. Other story and essay publications include The Iowa Review, The Literary Review, Literal Latte, Gemini Magazine and Mothering Children with Special Needs. She worked with Antonya Nelson at Bread Loaf, Robin Black at Lighthouse Lit Fest, and Francesca Lia Block at Antioch University where she received her MFA.

Linda is currently working on a collection of short stories titled Echo & Narcissus which depicts the psychology of a world divided between narcissists and those subjected to their exploitation. Readers get to be voyeurs, seeing a narcissistic character from the first story in an unforeseen dilemma, and in the second, its pair. Devotion and Christian’s Dab Bay are one of seven pairs in the collection.

She lives in Santa Monica, California with her husband and three children.

Polly East is a north Londoner by upbringing and inclination who now lives in Brighton. Her early training in journalism and feature writing took her to Hollywood and the beginning of a lifelong connection with America. Later, back in the UK, she spent three decades raising a family and teaching English and Special Needs in challenging north London comprehensives, sporadically submitting poems and short stories along the way. Although writing since childhood, she did not often submit her poems to the stuffy scrutiny of the literary establishment.

Having had early minor successes and some interest expressed in her potential, she lacked the necessary commitment to keep plugging away at an elite cultural landscape where success was too often preordained and rarely a true reflection of creativity. Many years ago, she read with a small group – The Running Horse Readers – which aimed to go into prisons and old people’s homes.

These days, she has more time and confidence to guide a few poems into the light; indeed, she was long-listed for the 2017 National Poetry Competition, and recently Agenda literary magazine put two of her poems into the Oxford Bodleian Library. She is currently a member of Brighton’s Stanza group, and advocates that if something is good it will survive, finding its own place in our rich canon. She believes some of her poems will survive regardless. She feels she has not fulfilled her potential – but suspects that very few women ever do.

Ian Gouge is an author and poet who has published a number of novels, collections of short stories, volumes of poetry, and works of non-fiction. As the driving force behind Coverstory books, one of his aims is to help writers get their work seen by a wider readership (hence this volume and the two 2021 collections, New Contexts). Born on the south coast of England, Ian has travelled widely – including short stints living in Singapore, Switzerland, Grenada, and Sierra Leone. He now lives in North Yorkshire.

Denise McSheehy lives in Devon with her partner and two cats. She was educated in England and Northern Ireland and has an honours degree in English Literature. She received an Arts Council bursary and a grant from The Society of Authors towards work in progress. She has had two collections of poetry published, Salt (Poetry Can) and The Plate Spinner (Oversteps Books). Her work has appeared widely in various journals and anthologies, most recently The SHOp An Anthology of Poetry. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

Carol Park roams from cities, to wilderness and cultural mazes. While teaching and befriending English learners from far places, she’s realized how little she knows and how dear is tea and the meeting of minds.

Cultural intersections is her passion. Her marriage to a computer nerd from Hawaii — with grandparents from Korea — has given ample opportunities. What attracted provides conflict later — more than, you like paper plates for company dinner? Ceramic is a must. Deep sea diving for assumptions and neurological characteristics brings joy. Hence, six years spent in Japan. It brought beauty, change and precious friends.  My daughters attended typical Japanese schools and, later, found spouses from non-western backgrounds. New foods — yay! Scouting for new manners — good!

Carol upped her writing through Seattle Pacific University’s MFA program. You can enjoy photos of far places or read stories at  Join her on Twitter @CarolPark2.

Her short fiction appears in The East Bay Review, Harpoon Review, Shark Reef, Birdland Journal, The Raven’s Perch, Red Wheelbarrow, and the anthologies Barbies that Were and Never Were, and Fault Zone: Strike Slip. A novel set in Tokyo is forthcoming. Hear her at the Flash Fiction Forum of San Jose, CA.

Yvonne Sampson has had work shortlisted for many competitions, including the BBC Writersroom Prize, The Soho Theatre Westminster Prize, Exeter Writers Short Story Competition and The Write Festival Short Story Competition. The Write Festival short-listed stories were published in The Short Story Competition Anthology (6th Element Publishing).

A radio play she wrote won second prize in The Green Stories Writing Competition and her short fiction has won second prize in competitions run by Writers Weekend and Writing Magazine.

She recently had a story published in New Contexts 2 (Coverstory Books).

Yvonne took an MA in Devising for Theatre at Kingston University and had plays showcased at The Rose Theatre Kingston and at The Etcetera Theatre as part of The Camden Festival. She has also written one-act plays which were performed at Stockwell Playhouse and The New End Theatre Hampstead for The Lost Theatre Company and at Watford Palace Theatre where she helped to set up and run a writers’ group.

Yvonne worked as a drama teacher for many years and devised several plays with young people which were performed at youth drama festivals.

She lives in London and writes on a houseboat in Brighton.

Barbara Sapienza left her wild Sicilian family in Boston and drove to San Francisco in 1969 with a U Haul, a husband, and two babies She became a homemaker and a teacher surrounded by freethinkers.

Sapienza began writing twenty years later after earning a PhD and working as a clinical psychologist. Until then her stories were oral.

Her love of nearby giant redwoods, wildlife, San Francisco Bay, and the Pacific Ocean, all influence her abstract oil paintings and her writing. Sapienza’s first novel, Anchor Out, features a woman who lives on the sea in Richardson Bay.

An alumna of SFSU’s master program in creative writing, she is nourished by nature, meditation, tai chi, and dance. Her family, friends, and grandchildren are her teachers. She lives in Sausalito, CA with her husband and works on a memoir of life in her beloved Italian family.

Anchor Out (She Writes Press, 2017) IPPY Bronze, Best Regional Fiction, West Coast; The Laundress, (Kirkus Review, 2020) honorable mention; a forthcoming novel, Spring 2023. An Ode to Gravity shortlisted for New Contexts: 2 (Coverstory Books). Yellow Curry and Pink Bromeliads, Read650; Voices of Hope, Carnegie Hall.