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Helen crosses her arms and smiles to one side. She has short black hair, and wears glasses, red lipstick, geometric earrings, and a purple jumper over a floral shirt. She stands in front of a bookcase.

Helen Bowell

Poet / Producer / Editor / Critic

Hello! I'm Helen, a writer based in London. My debut pamphlet The Barman was published by Bad Betty Press in 2022, and was selected as the Poetry Book Society Summer 2022 Pamphlet Choice. At turns domestic and surreal, it traces the relationship between the speaker and an unnamed barman backwards through time. Find out more about the book and order a copy from me here.

You can find my full biog here, but here are a few highlights about what I do.

I'm currently working on Bi+ Lines, an Arts Council England funded project involving workshops and the first anthology of bi+ poets in English in 2023.

I am a co-director of Dead [Women] Poets Society, a live literature organisation which "resurrects" women poets of the past, and which completed an Arts Council England funded national tour 2019-21. In 2020, we guest-edited an issue of Modern Poetry in Translation with a focus on dead women poets.

I'm a graduate of The Writing Squad and am now part of its mentoring team, CORE2I've also worked with individuals to edit their manuscripts and poems ready for publication - get in touch if this is something you're interested in.


I'm a graduate of the London Library Emerging Writers programme, the London Writers Awards and the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. I am a Ledbury Poetry Critic and have had reviews published in Magma, The North and Poetry Wales. My poetry has been commended in Winchester, Verve and Mslexia's competitions and published in magazines and anthologies like Ambit, bath magg, Butcher's Dog, fourteen poems, Under the Radar, 100 Poems to Save the Earth and The Book of Bad Betties. I've also had three co-translations (created with Amanda Wong) of Classical Chinese poems published in Modern Poetry in Translation and Poetry London.

I've taught workshops on nature poetry, poetic form and the surreal for organisations like Spread the Word and Creative Future; I've also facilitated translation workshops for the Poetry Translation Centre. In 2021, I was Poetry Business's digital poet in residence and wrote 'plant portraits' on demand at Kew Gardens' Secret World of Plants festival. I have read at Southbank Centre's London Literature Festival, Brainchild Festival, The London Library Lit Fest, at the National Centre for Writing and all manner of other venues.

I produce events at the Poetry Translation Centre, was an Education Officer at The Poetry Society from 2017 to 2023, and have written two successful Arts Council England Project Grant bids.

I'm interested in in-betweenness, queerness, medieval legends, language(s) and the surreal. I also play the cello! If you have any projects for me, get in touch.

Photo: Kashif Haque.

The Barman by Helen Bowell front cover

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