The Board

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.

David Bryan

David Bryan is Director of Xtend UK Ltd, a management consultancy working in organisational change, leadership development and diversity. His arts management experience is across several art forms and decades. It began with establishing a specialist bookshop (1976), this culminated in the first Black Bookfair in the UK. As the director of an arts centre – Brixton Village – he pioneered the development of Black Comedy and created a platform for diverse theatre. In his role as a producer, he has organised Black Theatre festivals, exhibitions, film festivals and Nubian Steps (a Black contemporary dance event). He has been a board member of several arts organisations including The Gate Theatre and Tara Arts. He has lectured on Management Studies at Goldsmith College; Arts Management at Birkbeck College and Caribbean History and Literature at City Lit Institute. Outside of the arts he has had an extensive involvement with the world of charitable trusts, such as Thames Telethon Trust, City Bridge Trust, Camelot Foundation, Comic Relief and the Trust for London.

Helen Dawson

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

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

Chris is the Chief Executive of the National Centre for Writing. After completing a PhD in German Poetry and Philosophy at the University of Manchester, Chris worked in publishing for Carcanet Press and PN Review, then spent several years working as a consultant for the cultural sector and was the Director of Manchester Poetry Festival and then Manchester Literature Festival. He sits on the Advisory Group for Manchester University’s Centre for New Writing, is on the Board of Directors of ICORN (the International Cities of Refuge Network), is Co-Chair of the National Association for Literature Development and a Board Member of Writers’ Centre Norwich as well as Norwich small press Eggbox Publishing. He is also an Artistic Assessor for Arts Council England.

James Slinger

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

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

Cllr Alan Waters is leader of Norwich City Council and has been a councillor for nearly 30 years. He is a native of Norwich. He studied history at Queen’s University Belfast and then trained as a teacher, working in comprehensive schools for 25 years mostly in Norfolk but with stints in London & Australia. Between 2004 -2018 he was an Associate Tutor, for the School of Education and Life Long Learning at the University of East Anglia. During the same period, Alan worked in London at the Local Government Information Unit as the Learning & Development Manager, running and delivering training programmes for councillors, trades unionists, local authority officers and voluntary organisations. Alan serves on a number of boards, including the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership; Norwich Airport and Norwich Business Improvement District. He is an executive member for the Key Cities Group holding the portfolio for Culture. In that capacity, Alan sits on the board of the ‘Cultural Cities Enquiry’. Alan is a Visiting Fellow at South Bank University and on the editorial board of the Journal ‘Local Economy.’ He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and a member of the Southeast Board of the Arts Council.

Helen Wilson

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 Yuill

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.