The National Centre for Writing is supported and advised by a diverse board of experts drawn from across the public, private and voluntary sectors.
Pam Henderson (chair)
Pam is a psychotherapist working in Cambridge. Prior to that, she worked in the arts for over twenty years leading organisations such as Cambridge Drama Centre, the Arts Marketing Association and Arts Professional. As a co-director of the consultancy Henderson Aplin Partnership, she worked with the four UK arts councils, most of the UK’s regional audience development agencies and a range of arts organisations of all scales. She first worked with the New Writing Partnership (now the National Centre for Writing) in 2005, and continued to work with the organisation on strategic development and human resources before joining the board in 2012. Pam enjoys alpine walking (not easy in the Fens), and playing the melodeon.
Prof Sarah Barrow
Sarah Barrow took up post as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Film and Media at UEA in July 2017. Prior to that, she worked at the University of Lincoln for just over seven years, as Deputy Head of the College of Arts, as a staff member of the Board of Governors and as Head of School for Film and Media. She also represented the University on the Lincoln Cultural Arts Partnership board. Before Lincoln, she led the English, Film, Communications and Media Studies department at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, which included a comprehensive languages programme as well as burgeoning undergrad and postgrad programmes in creative writing. Sarah has served several external roles, including as Board member of the Media Archives for Central England, as Chair of the Trustees of Wintercomfort for the Homeless and as a funding board member of the Cambridgeshire Film Consortium. She remains a Trustee for the English and Media Centre, a national body for literacy, and is on the Board for the Norwich Forum Trust. An active researcher and writer, her publications are mainly about Latin American cinema and culture.
Helen lives in Norwich. As Trustee for Dragon Hall before it became the home of the National Centre for Writing, she knows the building well. She has a background in Criminal Justice: as a prison governor; and charities: previously as a CEO of an offender resettlement charity, and more recently as a founder trustee of Felbeck Trust, a charity that improves habitat for wildlife. She has an interest in textiles and is currently Chair of the Norfolk Countryside Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. Helen believes passionately in the inspirational and healing power of the written word for everyone, but especially for those disadvantaged and disillusioned in life.
Isobel Dixon is Head of Books and a Director of the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency, where she represents writers from around the world, among them Sunday Times and New York Times bestsellers and international prize winners. Her interests are wide-ranging and her clients’ work includes contemporary, historical and literary fiction, crime and thrillers, memoir, biography, narrative history and current affairs (often with a memoir slant). She is a Trustee of Poetry London magazine and Vice President of the Association of Authors’ Agents, where one of her key portfolios is diversity and inclusivity in publishing. She is a Frankfurt Book Fair Fellow and often gives workshops on creative writing, agenting and negotiation, and speaks on panels at literary events, to students and to writers’ groups.
Chris Gribble is the Chief Executive of the National Centre for Writing based in Norwich, England’s first UNESCO City of Literature. After completing a PhD in German Poetry and Philosophy at the University of Manchester, Chris worked in publishing, then the cultural sector and was the Director of Manchester Poetry Festival and then Manchester Literature Festival. He is Chair of ICORN the International Cities of Refuge Network, a grouping of over 70 cities worldwide committed to protecting freedom of expression for writers and artists. He sits on the Boards of Carcanet Press and Modern Poetry in Translation and the New Anglia LEP Culture Board. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.
James lives in Norwich and is a Partner in the law firm Taylor Vinters, where he specialises in the acquisition, sale and development of commercial property. James completed an LLB (Hons) degree at King’s College University of London and is also an Associate of King’s College. He trained to be a solicitor in the Midlands and then worked for a number of years at law firm Slaughter and May in London before moving to East Anglia. James is an avid reader (when time allows) and collector of post-1960s’ crime and thriller novels.
George Szirtes came to England as a refugee in 1956. He studied Fine Art and published the first of many books of poems, The Slant Door, in 1979. It won the Faber Memorial Prize. He won TS Eliot Prize for Reel in 2004 and was shortlisted for the same prize for two subsequent books. The Burning of the Books (2009) and Bad Machine (2013). His New and Collected Poems appeared in 2008. He is also a multi prize-winning translator of poetry and fiction from Hungarian, sharing the translator’s prize in the Man Booker International 2015. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature since 1982, he has also written books for children. His work is translated into various languages. He wrote the poetry course at Norwich University of the Arts in 1991. In 2006 he moved to the University of East Anglia. He retired from teaching in 2013. He has served on various boards.
Cllr Alan Waters
Helen has a background in broadcasting having been a producer and editor on the Today programme, the World at One and PM. After a stint in New York and Washington for the BBC she became Managing Editor Radio 4 and then Controller Radio 4. After leaving the BBC she ran an independent production company and then became Chair of Southern Norfolk Primary Care Trust for the NHS. She is currently Chair of the Norfolk Cultural Forum, and the New Anglia Cultural Board (Norfolk and Suffolk) working with the Local Enterprise Partnership. Helen is a member of the Heart Board and Chair of the Norfolk 2012 Steering Group. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.
Andrew joined a family office as Chief Financial Officer at the beginning of 2009 after 18 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he served a wide variety of clients as part of audit, tax and wealth advisory teams. A Chartered Accountant by training, Andrew is also a Chartered Financial Planner.