List of Members

More about our Members

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Anne Ballard

Before relocating to Edinburgh in 2015, Anne was Co-ordinator of Highgate Poets. She is a retired family solicitor and her pamphlet Family Division (Rafael Q Publishers 2015) is inspired by her work experiences. Her poems have been published in several magazines and placed in a number of competitions: in particular Poetry on the Lake: she won 2nd prize in the formal category in 2011 and first prize in the open category in 2015. Anne’s first poem written in Scotland will appear in an anthology of poems inspired by the history and architecture of Edinburgh.

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Jack Cooper

Jack grew up in Maidenhead, studied at Oxford, and has recently fulfilled a lifelong ambition by moving to London. He is Creative Editor of Are You Lost Yet, a zine that promotes the work of young creatives. His poems have appeared in magazines including The ISIS, Oxford Magazine, Blueprint Zine, Right Hand Pointing, notes Cambridge, and Bright Brains. Jack finds inspiration in British mythology, Japanese video games, and gay youth.

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Miriam Halahmy Website:

Miriam has published two collections of poetry, Stir Crazy (Hub Editions, 1994) and Cutting Pomegranates (David Paul, 2003). Her poetry is published widely, has been read on the radio and performed on stage. Miriam also writes fiction for children, teens and adults. Her cycle of three Young Adult novels, Hidden, Illegal, Stuffed, are published by Meadowside Books. She is also a writing mentor, journalist, reviewer and manuscript appraiser. Miriam has a special interest in supporting refugee and asylum-seeking writers through English PEN.

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Mary Hastilow

Mary Hastilow joined the Highgate Poets in 2012. She works as a housing manager and gardener, and is also a musician. She came 2nd in the 2009 Salopeot Open Competition, and 4th in the 2011 Kent & Sussex Open Competition.

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Norbert Hirschorn Website:

Norbert Hirschhorn is a public health physician, commended by President Bill Clinton as an “American Health Hero.” He lives in London and Beirut. He has published two collections: A Cracked River (Slow Dancer Press, London, 1999), and Mourning in the Presence of a Corpse (Dar al-Jadeed, Beirut, 2008), and appeared in numerous US/UK publications.

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Valentina Kotsuba

A native Russian speaker, Valentina started writing in English back in 2009. She is a prolific poet who has compiled five collections ready sooner or later to see the limelight. Having recently resolved to submit her work to competitions and publishers in the UK, she has already had some success with a special mention in the David Burland Poetry Prize. Since she joined Highgate Poets a little over a year ago, she had her debut as a published poet in the group’s 28th anthology Naming the Clouds.


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Anna Meryt

Anna has been writing poetry all her life, first publishing a poem about the Vietnam war in her school magazine. In the 90s, she had two poems published in anthologies of women’s writing. She has since had poems published in various anthologies and magazines including Red and The Dawntreader (Dec 2015). In 2011 she won the Lupus International poetry competition. Anna has two collections – Heartbroke (2013) and Dolly Mix (2014). In Sept 2015, she also published a memoir – A Hippopotamus at the Table. All books available on Amazon. Anna can be found online at


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Vicky Olliver

Vicky began writing poetry in 2006 following a knee injury which kept her off her feet. Her time is spent between London and South Gloucestershire, where she is managing the affairs of her elderly mother. She has been a member of Highgate Poets for six years and has recently had her first poetry pamphlet, A Handful of Clouds, Darkening, published. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, reading, eating good food and travelling to mountains. She can be contacted at:

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Paul Stephenson Website:

Paul Stephenson grew up in Cambridge. He studied modern languages and linguistics then European Studies. He spent several years living between London and the Continent, including most recently, three years in Paris. He was selected for the Arvon/Jerwood mentoring scheme and the Aldeburgh Eight. His first pamphlet ‘Those People’ (Smith/Doorstop, 2015) was a winner in the Poetry Business competition judged by Billy Collins. His second pamphlet ‘The Days that Followed Paris’ (HappenStance, 2016) was written in the wake of the November 2015 terrorist attacks. A third pamphlet ‘Selfie with Waterlilies’ is just published with Paper Swans Press (2017). He has a diary/blog at

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Jonathan Totman

Jonathan grew up in Sussex and now lives in Ely, Cambridgeshire. He was the Fenland Poet Laureate for 2015 and co-edits The Fenland Reed, a magazine for new writing. His poems have been published in magazines including Brittle Star, Envoi, The Interpreter’s House, Lighthouse, Obsessed with Pipework, Orbis and The Frogmore Papers. He has been placed in several competitions, most recently the 2017 Paper Swans Press Pamphlet Competition (highly commended).

Latest news from Jonathan...