The Committee


Emma Thompson – Chair

Emma is a third year Archaeology and Ancient History student. Come talk to her if you fancy a chat about ancient civilisations and dirt, but not dinosaurs, because her course (sadly) does not include dinosaurs of any sort.

Starting off as a playwright, Emma loves social theatre and gets excited by anything Brechtian. However, she’s also got a fantasy novel in the works that may – one day – be completed. Since joining Writers’ Bloc, she has expanded into poetry, having performed at Grizzly Pear and other local nights, as well as writing for The Journal.


Hannah Ledlie – Secretary

Originally from Edinburgh, Hannah is Writers’ Bloc token Scot (although you probably couldn’t tell from her accent). Before coming to university she was only interested in short stories, but after joining the society and attending her first Grizzly Pear poetry night, she started writing performance poems and successfully auditioned for the university’s slam team two years in a row. As a team they came first at the national competition, UniSlam, in 2018 and represented the UK at the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational in Chicago; two of the best experiences of her life. When she’s not writing, she’s napping, playing table tennis, or drumming (but probably napping).


Jessica Wood – Treasurer

Jess is a second year Political Economy student, but after abandoning her actual economics options as fast as humanly possible she spends most of her time arguing about politics in the pub. Despite being from Yorkshire she clearly isn’t smart enough to be inspired by the moors, and instead spends her time writing far flung sci-fi/fantasy novels. In spite of manning the door at Grizzly Pear you won’t be seeing her on stage, because she’s likely the only member of the committee (or the society) who can’t write a poem to save her life.


Matthew Magill – Social Secretary

Matthew is a third year English student from Northern Ireland. He should probably know more about literature than he does, but you can still talk to him about all that book-stuff and maybe some arty things too; he will pretend to know all about it.

Mainly spouting poetry at WB’s Grizzly Pear night, Matthew is also interested in theatre (find him workshopping some half-assed idea with John Hills) and panickily writing storylines for his RPG From Seven Souls. In his free-time, he’s running the Occult & Paranormal Society, crying over anime, or pole-dancing (it’s a mixed bag).


Sierra Malia Fransen  – Publications Officer

Sierra is originally from Aspen and can probably understand any Dumb and Dumber (1994) reference you make about her hometown. She moved to Birmingham in 2015 to study English Literature and Creative Writing and has been enamoured with the city ever since. Ideally, she writes prose and screenplays, hoping to work in book to film adaptation. Though, she often reduces her work to short, strange poems. Sierra is the new journal editor for writers’ bloc and finds the organisational feat riveting because she likes crafts and planning like a nerd. When Sierra isn’t writing or reading, she enjoys skiing and traveling.


Jonah Corren – Literary Events Officer

Jonah is a second year English Literature student, hailing from West Dorset. He isn’t nearly as widely read as he should be, instead spending his time watching far too much TV, playing chess or table tennis, and from time to time writing poetry and songs. He is also taking up the position of ‘Songwriter’s Secretary’ on the Live Music Society Commitee.

Jonah is a frequent performer at various spoken word nights around Birmingham (and Bridport, if you happen to be in the area), and he is extremely excited to be taking up the reigns of Grizzly Pear, Writer’s Bloc’s flagship spoken word evening at The Bristol Pear, Selly Oak. If you don’t come, he will take it personally.


Liv Driver – Online Communications Officer

A city lover from a small town in Hampshire, Liv is currently in her second year studying English Literature. As a huge fan of Carol Ann Duffy and Alice Walker, she is excited to be combining her passions for literature, feminism and queer culture. Having started performing spoken word poetry in early 2018, she is looking forward to delving further into the world of performance this year.

Liv has a fierce love for music, her friends, travelling, and Indian food. She spends most of her time wishing she lived in the south of France, or at least somewhere sunnier than Birmingham. She can usually be found poring over records at the Diskery, or sat beneath the disco ball in her room, working on multiple unfinished screenplays.


Vanessa Bell – External Relations Officer

Vanessa is a second year English Lit student from Reading, although she’s originally from South Africa (and yes, she’s heard that Mean Girls reference more times than she can count). She dabbles in poetry and screenwriting, but specialises in writing fragments of novels she will never complete, often at ungodly hours of the night.

In her free time Vanessa can usually be found in the pub, at home watching Netflix, or trying not to be crushed under an ever-growing pile of notebooks. She recently got into a bidding war over some troll dolls on eBay for a DnD campaign, but she likes to pretend she’s cool.


John Hills – Screenwriters’ Bloc Director

John is an English Lit student in his third year, so you can talk about books and stuff if you like. He’s the Director of Screenwriters’ Bloc as he is definitely the most qualified person for the job… He mainly writes short stories and screenplays. A couple of his smaller scripts have been made into short films (by him and his equally inept friends). His stories and several opening chapters of novels are generally left to fester in his notebooks, having been abandoned in favour of alcohol or terrible movies.