To email staff in the organisation, email their full name, separated by a full stop, before the @ sign, followed by arvon.org – for example: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have an enquiry about a specific course, please contact the centre that is hosting the course.
Chief Executive and Artistic Director: Ruth Borthwick
Director of Finance and Resources: Richard Haseldine
Head of Learning and Participation: Becky Swain
Learning and Participation Coordinator: Joe Bibby
Head of Communications: George Palmer
Communications Officer: Livia Filotico
Head of Development: Kathryn Beale
Development Officer: Dean Stigwood
Individual Giving Officer: Meg Rumbelow Hemsley
Property Manager: Rebecca Thompson
Finance Officer: Roseline Iyanda
National Administrator: Yvette Blackwood
The Hurst – The John Osborne Arvon Centre
Centre Director: Natasha Carlish
Assistant Centre Director: Gabriela Blandy
Assistant Centre Director: Jo King
Senior Centre Administrator: Dan Pavitt
Centre Assistant: Anna Taylor
Lumb Bank – The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre
Acting Centre Director: Zoe Channing
Assistant Centre Director: Jill Penny
Centre Assistant: Jack Bell
Centre Administrator: Becky Liddell
Bookkeeper: Jean Warburton
Acting Centre Director: Eliza Squire
Acting Assistant Centre Director: Louise Hudson
Centre Assistant: Helen Reddaway
Centre Administrator: Sue Walker
Board of Trustees
Chair: Alistair Burtenshaw
Dr Judith Abbott
Kit de Waal
John Fairfax and John Moat
Terry Hands CBE
Simon Armitage CBE
Lord (Melvyn) Bragg
Lady Caroline Chichester-Clark
Dr David Cohen CBE
Carol Ann Duffy CBE
Professor Sir Andrew Motion
David Pease MBE
Salman Rushdie FRSL
Wole Soyinka FRSL
Chief Executive and Artistic Director
Ruth Borthwick has been Chief Executive of Arvon since 2009. She has worked with writers for over 30 years in bookselling and publishing, and she co-founded London’s Spread the Word, with Bernardine Evaristo, to encourage new voices to emerge and tell their stories. Ruth was also Head of Literature and Talks at the Southbank Centre, where she brought leading international artists to UK audiences, and founded Imagine, the children’s literature festival. Ruth feels privileged to lead Arvon, the home of creative writing, where we believe that everyone can develop their voice as part of a supportive community of writers.
Head of Learning and Participation
Becky leads on our work with young people and a wide range of partnerships with charities, arts organisations and community groups. She is inspired by the unique spirit of Arvon and its commitment to giving everyone the chance to write and develop their creative voice.. Before joining Arvon in June 2011, Becky was Learning Manager at Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE) and Creative Partnerships where she led on training and professional development for artists and teachers working in partnership. She is a Clore Fellow (2008/9) and accredited coach. Her experience has often bridged arts and learning, including youth and community work.
Head of Communications
George has a particular interest in all things digital, and is always on the look out for stories from people who have been on Arvon courses – what happened on their course, and how it has influenced their writing and creative life – so do email him if you have such a story. Before joining Arvon in 2011, George was Marketing Coordinator at Apples and Snakes, Sales and Marketing Manager at Poetry London, and in the more distant past has worked in public relations.
Head of Development
A fundraiser since 2007, Kathryn previously managed the corporate membership scheme at The Watermill Theatre, Newbury, before working on an £18m capital campaign for the drama school LAMDA. Kathryn has a long standing interest in theatre and literature; holding an MA in Theatre and Development Studies and a BA in English Literature. She is passionate about the ability of the arts to give voice to marginalised sections of society.
Rebecca Thompson joined Arvon in May 2017. Rebecca has a portfolio career and this year becomes President of the Chartered Institute of Building where she is already a Fellow and Trustee. In the summer of 2016, Rebecca launched ‘Thompson Heritage Consultancy Ltd’, having spent 7 years as the Superintendent of Works for the Chapter of York, directing the maintenance, restoration and conservation of York Minster and the precinct properties. Rebecca is a member of the York Consortium for Conservation and Craftsmanship supporting and enhancing the training and qualifications for heritage craft skills. Rebecca is also a member of the Association for Studies in the Conservation of Historic Buildings, past Master of the York Guild of Building, and current member of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Institute for Historic Building Conservation and York Civic Trust.
Learning and Participation Coordinator
Joe supports Becky Swain on our Learning and Participation programme for schools and groups. Previously, Joe worked at a number of organisations in the youth and arts sectors, including The Royal Society of Literature and the educational charity Envision. Joe writes fiction and poetry and is a big fan of fantasy, sci-fi, YA fiction and graphic novels. Do get in touch with Joe if you’d like to know more about bringing a group to Arvon.
Meg Rumbelow Hemsley
Individual Giving Officer
Meg supports Kathryn Beale to raise vital funds for Arvon’s work with schools, groups and our grants scheme. Meg focuses on looking after the Arvon Friends and individual donors. It was at the Whitechapel Gallery as the HLF Development Trainee where she gained experience and knowledge of managing a membership scheme. If not scribbling in her little brown notebook, you can find Meg cruising up the canals on her narrowboat Cullen with her Saluki, Dancer.
Dean Stigwood joined Arvon as Development Officer in June 2015. He is a trustee of the arts charity SPID and has previously worked for the Tricycle Theatre and HighTide Theatre Festival. He has undertaken work placements at Channel 4, Pinewood Film Studios, Royal Court Theatre and the British Film Institute.
Livia Filotico is Arvon’s Communications Officer by day and a live literature producer by night. She is also an anthropology graduate, a reader of urban fantasy, philosophy and cultural history, and a passionate supporter of the art of storytelling. Over the years Livia has worked with literary and cultural organisations, bookshops, universities and publishers to organise and promote cultural events. She is now a proud 50% of Arvon’s communications team where she particularly enjoys meeting new people, managing social media platforms and representing the organisation at events around the country. Follow her on Twitter here.
Roseline Iyanda-Mogaji has worked in different sectors of Organisation in Finance. She is a member of the Institute of Bookkeeper (ICB) 2006, of the Payroll Management (PMD) and of Association of Accounting Technicians (MAAT).
The Hurst - The John Osborne Arvon Centre
Natasha began her career at The Kings Head Theatre in Islington. She moved onto setting up Foothold Theatre Company where she developed new writers and directed several plays on the fringe in London and Edinburgh. She crossed into television production becoming a producer of documentaries for all the major broadcasters and international distribution. In 2002 she set up Dreamfinder Productions to develop and produce films and television. She produced numerous films including BAFTA award winning Brown Paper Bag. What interests her about creative writing is the voice that it gives to everyone regardless of their background; it enables everyone to tell their story in which ever way they choose.
Assistant Centre Director
In 2006, Gabriela decided to take a Short Story Course at Totleigh Barton. After her first Arvon experience, she was inspired to do a Masters in Creative writing. She graduated with distinction, won the V S Pritchett award, co-founded writLOUD (now Hubbub) and began teaching workshops for writers and private clients. It was after a second Arvon course on life writing at The Hurst that Gabriela realised her love of remote places and big landscapes could no longer be denied, but she couldn’t give up her relationship with literature.
Assistant Centre Director
Jo studied Art History at UEA and spent three years working for authors and agents in London before a ten year stint at Madame Tussauds, discovering the vital stats of inter/national luminaries of the 1990’s. In 2008 she co-founded the region’s first major national contemporary art exhibition and in 2012 Jo founded Ludlow Open, which connects regional artists with the national fine art scene. Ludlow Open now runs two artist residencies (one at The Hurst), six artist development workshops, and a new showcase of regional contemporary art (also at The Hurst).
Senior Centre Administrator
When Arvon made a writing centre on his doorstep in 2003, Dan Pavitt set his sights on working there and achieved that goal one year after it opened, as The Hurst’s first Centre Administrator. With the greatest respect to the London Marine & Aviation Reinsurance market (his previous occupational habitat) he has found the transition to the arts sector, via a short stint in Further Education, hugely inspiring. He continues to relish his role – helping to provide an environment in which creative stars can shine – even when they don’t do their paperwork.
Anna found herself in ‘the best job in the world’ (hosting, feeding and generally looking after writers) via art history, a brief career in the legal profession and sundry pursuits including packing organic smoked salmon in the Clun Valley, a book group, a writer’s group and a firmly held belief that the opportunity to be expressive and creative is fundamental to everyone’s welfare.
Lumb Bank - The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre
Acting Centre Director
Zoë recently joined Arvon to cover Rosie Scott’s maternity leave. She has been involved in all aspects of arts, culture, heritage, tourism and creative industries, across the country, since embarking on her career. One of the first Arts Development Officers funded by the Arts Council, she has worked with a number of Local Authorities developing the arts in both rural and city areas and brokering partnerships between artists of all disciplines and the public, private and voluntary sector. Prior to embarking on a freelance career in May 2016, Zoë worked with Sunderland City Council to develop an arms length events management company that delivered regional events such as the Sunderland International Airshow and Sunderland Illuminations. Passionate about reading, she is hoping her time with Arvon will also kickstart her writing ambitions!
Assistant Centre Director
Jill has been working at Lumb Bank for five years, having come from an arts and theatre background. She was awarded an Arts Council grant to pay for a course at Lumb twenty eight years ago, loved it, and moved into the area soon after to raise her family, maintaining an interest in and a great fondness for Lumb Bank. During her time with Arvon she has met many remarkable people and acquired many new skills. These include basic plumbing techniques, the study of electricity for idiots and random cattle herding. Jill has enjoyed all the challenges and changing aspects of her job, the maintenance, the cooking and the hosting duties. She never tires of the stunning view from the terrace, the opportunity to spot wild life, and the meetings and friendships developed with writers from all walks of life. She has also been known to write the occasional poem and is looking forward to her fourth poetry course with Arvon, later this year.
Becky’s background is mostly in English teaching, learning and heritage projects, working with schools and community groups. Before starting at Lumb Bank she often walked in the surrounding woods, admiring the handsome house on the hill. She also produced a heritage trail, exploring the history of the tall chimneys in the valley below. Becoming Centre Administrator seemed a very natural next step and she loves being part of an organisation that nurtures such creative talent – and serves such delicious food!
Jack grew up in Hebden Bridge, and has worked in the catering industry for many years both in Yorkshire and France. He is passionate about food and cooking, and loves to make sure the writers at Lumb Bank are well fed during their stay. Jack also enjoys meeting all of the different people who stay at Lumb Bank, and hosting the evening readings by our tutors and guests.
Acting Centre Director
Eliza grew up four miles away from Totleigh Barton before going on to study a BA and then an MA in English. She spent a couple of years as an editorial assistant for an academic journal, wrote an A level study guide on The Great Gatsby and taught the Charleston to 3-99 year-olds from Devon to China. During the four years that Eliza has been at Totleigh she has had the privilege to hear the stories of hundreds of writers from all over the world and is committed to making creative writing (and the arts in general) as open and accessible as possible.
Sue studied Italian with French at the University of Exeter and therefore gained a great appreciation for the Italian classics. She has worked at Totleigh Barton since March 2013 and had her own book of rhymes for children published by Penryn Press in May 2015. Sue is also a Team GB age-group duathlete and has won medals in European and World championships from training in running and cycling on the Devon hills.