Our teachers, course leaders, and manuscript assessors...

Petra McQueen

Petra McQueen has over forty publication credits including: The Saturday Evening Post, The Guardian, You Magazine, Writers' Forum, Lakeside Review and Open Road Review. She has also won sixteen writing competitions to date. The most recent of these are: The Writers' Forum, The Open Road Review, Strands International Short Story Competition, Grace Dieu, National Association of Writers’ Groups, and The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award.


She has taught English, Drama and Creative Writing for over twenty-five years. She has a Creative Writing MA (distinction) from Essex University, where she also worked as a lecturer.


Past achievements include organising a Literature Festival with over forty events in ten different venues; co-editing ‘The Red Thread’: an anthology of new myths, written in Greek and English; and performing pieces live for the Essex Book Festival, the University of Essex and Patrician Press.


Petra McQueen is the founder of The Writers’ Company, is a manuscript assessor, and teaches many of its courses. Please click here to see her testimonials.

Kate Worsley

Kate Worsley is an award-winning novelist who spent her early career as a feature writer for national newspapers and magazines. Conran Octopus published her interiors guide PERSONAL SPACE in the UK and Sweden, and her 18th-century Essex seafaring novel SHE RISES (Bloomsbury), won the New Angles Prize and the HWA Debut Crown, and was shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award in the US.


She studied English Literature at UCL and has an MA in Creative Writing (Novels) from City, University of London. She is an alumnus of the WCN Escalator literature development scheme and the recipient of an Arts Council Grant for the Arts for her second novel, set in 1930s rural East Anglia.


She was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Essex University from 2014 to 2017, and has been a visiting lecturer in creative writing at City, University of London since 2015. She also teaches and mentors for the National Centre for Writing and designs and delivers workplace writing workshops for the Writing Project.

Kate Worsley is a course leader, manuscript assessor and mentor for The Writers' Company. Please see here to see her fantastic testimonials.

Helen Chambers

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After teaching for 25 years, Helen Chambers took an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Essex in 2016. She won the Fish Short Story Prize in 2018 and in 2019 was nominated for Best Microfictions. You can read more about these, and her 50+ publications on her blog.


Helen is usually to be found with her head in a book or out walking. Sometimes she combines the two with the Wivenhoe Open Air Shakespeare Company - she has both directed and acted, though usually not at the same time. She most recently directed a filmed version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Lockdown which you can watch here. You can read Helen's testimonials here.

Helen is accepting manuscripts of short stories and anthologies at present. Please read here for details about our manuscript assessment service and contact her here

Sue Dawes

Sue is working towards her doctorate in Creative Writing at Essex University, specialising in Speculative Fiction.   Her recent conference papers include: World building,  the Feminist Utopia, and Epigenetic Inheritance in Science Fiction. Sue has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University.

Sue has more than 35 writing credits to her name across several genres.  She has won crime writing and speculative fiction competitions and was short-listed for the Debut Dagger award in 2013.  


Sue is an associate editor for Short Fiction Journal, a Beta reader for several published authors and helps to run a thriving community writing group, which includes running workshops.

Sue believes it is a privilege to read other people’s work and she particularly enjoys genre fiction.  With a writing and editing portfolio that spans literary fiction to science fiction and flash fiction to articles and novels, Sue is very flexible in her approach to new writing.

Sue is a manuscript assessor for The Writers' Company. She can be found on Twitter @wivenhoewriters

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Arlene Francey-Lyne


Arlene is a coach, writer, homeopath and raving fan of Mother Earth.


She writes regularly at her blog, The Flourishing Woman: an online resource filled with inspiration and practical tips to help you uncover, and tend to, what really matters to you.


Loving yourself first, letting go of ‘shoulds’, and being ‘good enough’ are key themes in Arlene’s work and life.


Arlene’s career path started in an Arts Council funded organisation supporting poetry publishers, and wound its way through business planning to senior management in the charity sector. Since 2005 she has been helping others transform their lives with homeopathy and life coaching.


As a coach for The Writers Company, Arlene offers a workshop to help you uncover an authentic vision for your creativity, a Making It Happen programme, and courses to set your life up to honour your writing.


You can find Arlene's website The Flourishing Woman here.


Catherine Caumont

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Catherine Caumont is a psychodynamic counsellor, registered with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. She has experience as a counselling tutor and clinical supervisor, and has long had an interest in creative writing.

Her interest in Life Writing and her training in running writing groups is used to enhance and complement her counselling practice. Catherine is a member of Lapidus and is offering Therapeutic Writing and Writing for Wellbeing taster sessions and courses at The Writers Company.

When she is not writing or counselling, Catherine will often be out in nature, either on her native Suffolk coast or adopted “second home” on the fells of Cumbria.

Juliet Lockhart

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Juliet Lockhart is Artist in Residence at The Writers Company. Juliet has a curiosity for unearthing stories.  Her practice is bound up with storytelling and she uses art as a stimulus for her writing; exploring collections in museums and galleries, engaging with the natural world and creating mixed media pieces that weave their way into her stories.

Her work both as educator and artist makes connections: connecting people to the past and allowing them the space to tell their story; connecting place to story through walking in the footsteps of others; connecting hand, eye and heart through the process of making.

Juliet Lockhart studied Textile Design at West Surrey College of Art, Fine Art at University College Suffolk and has an MA in Literature and Creative Writing from The University of Essex.  She is founder and Artistic Director of LockARTS, an arts in mental health charity.

She teaches art and creative writing through her charity LockARTS, specialising in bringing the arts and heritage together to promote positive wellbeing. Juliet is a mentor for the Writers Company.  You can find out more via her personal website here, and LockARTS here.    

Sebastiana Black

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Sebastiana is a Mindful Self-Compassion teacher, a voice movement therapist, a singer songwriter and an integrative arts counsellor working with young people. She has been facilitating therapeutic workshops and retreats in Norwich, UK and in the Czech Republic for over a decade. She works with drama and dance movement therapy students at University of East Anglia and University of Derby. In her private practice she offers guidance to anyone who wishes to explore any aspect of their voice, whether it is the acoustic, creative, inner or metaphorical voice, and its healing potential. She assists singers of different abilities and others in having a more open, flexible, expressive and embodied voice.

Most recently she has been enjoying guiding people to develop a more compassionate inner voice that can support their creativity and wellbeing. Her work includes mindfulness and self-compassion tools and practices in order to help artists and everyone to bring more acceptance, resilience and joy into their creative life and life in general, and become kinder to themselves.

Sebastiana sings in the award winning short film Malka. She brings to audiences world music in her ceilidh and concert band Zaramo. With her duet The Fire Doves she has recorded two albums which include her original songs. You can find Suzanna's website here.

Elizabeth Ferretti

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Elizabeth is a graduate of the Arts Council Escalator programme, received an Arts Council award for her novel in progress (with research trips to Chernobyl and Sweden), and was recognised for her specialist ELT writing in a recent international award. 

She helps writers, published and unpublished, get the best from their manuscripts. Recent projects include a time-travelling film script, a thriller set in 1980s Berlin, and a coming-of-age drama set in rural Australia, due for publication in 2021. 

Elizabeth teaches creative writing for The Young Walter Scott Prize, working with young writers in dramatic settings; for the National Trust on Orford Ness in Suffolk; and is founder of Writer Revealed – support and wellbeing in writing. She has been a Writer in Residence for Suffolk Mind, and is a trustee of The Barbellion Prize – the international book prize dedicated to the furtherance of ill and disabled voices in writing.

Her personal website can be found here. For free writing prompts from Elizabeth follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Lelia Ferro


Lelia has 25 years experience as a journalist, editor, publisher, producer, digital content strategist, and poet. She held a senior editorial role at Channel 4 for 10 years, and is currently working towards her doctorate in Creative Writing at the University of Essex titled - 'How We Live In Essex, a poetic exploration of people and place'. She has three 1st class postgraduate degrees - an MA in Creative Writing, and PGDip in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the University of Essex, and a Broadcast Journalism accredited MA from Bournemouth University.


Lelia is a local leader in the genres of psychogeography - which she defines as, 'the interrelationship between people and place', and community writing. She has held poetry residencies, working through the community, at Firstsite in Colchester, Colchester and Ipswich Museums, 'Snapping the Stiletto' - Essex County Council, Metal in Southend, Suffolk Art Link, and The Art Place in Chelmsford - in association with Macmillan cancer support. In addition to her poetry writing, Lelia is currently producing a book on community writing techniques and facilitation, bringing together many disciplines including community therapy, journalistic techniques as creative research, and collaborative poetry. She has taught poetry across the county, and is passionate about cultivating new and diverse voices. She most enjoys writing poetry about the lives of 'ordinary' people, who she finds extraordinary. 

Although Lelia has had work published in many anthologies, and has published several titles of her own, she is less concerned with literary accolades, preferring her own journey of working through the community, and self publishing in her Facebook community group, 'Married to the Marshes'. Lelia has excellent links in publishing through a wide range of media and platforms, and enjoys playfully exploring opportunities in this space, creating work that is timely, collaborative, and engaging.