Staff and Board


Founder, Publisher & CEO

Ra Page 

Publishing Manager

(Editorial and Commissioning, Rights & Sales)
Sarah Cleave

Publishing Assistant

(Sales, Courses, Podcast Editor)

Nia Thomas


Operations Officer

(Office Management, Book-keeping, IT support)
Basma Ghalayini

Editor at Large

Orsola Casagrande

Consultant Editors

Sarah Eyre
Dr Ana Miller
Trudi Shaw


Dave Eckersall and Inez Hickman, with additional design work by Maria Crossan, Matt Roeser, Lisa Romero, Rachel Goodyear and Steve Moyler.


Alex Kelly, Oxygen Computers.

If you're not sure which person you need to contact, email: 


Maxine Peake
Bolton-born and RADA-trained actress Maxine Peake has enjoyed a prolific career in theatre, television, radio and film with many career highlights, including The Theory of Everything, Shameless, Dinnerladies, Three Girls, Peterloo and many other award-winning TV dramas and theatre productions. She is a Trustee at The Working Class Movement Library in Salford and Vice President of The Marx Memorial Library in Clerkenwell, East London. Maxine is a feminist and socialist and has often brought these views into her work. 

Courttia Newland
Courttia Newland was born in West London where he still lives and which inspires much of his writing. He is the author of four acclaimed novels: The Scholar, Society Within, Snakeskin and A River Called Time. His short stories have appeared in several anthologies. He is also the co-editor of IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain. Newland has, with his band of actors and an experienced director, cut his teeth in the world of theatre with his company, The Post Office Theatre Co. He was a screenwriter on Steve McQueen's Small Axe: Lovers Rock and Red, White and Blue. He was Fellow at the London College of Communication until December 2004 and works with selected Further Education partners in west London. In 2021 he was awarded a PhD from Kingston University London. 

The Board

Sarah Jane Eyre (Chair)
Sarah is an artist and lecturer, and a co-founder of Comma Press, with Ra Page. She is Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Photography at Blackpool and the Fylde College, and has been working in the Further and Higher Education sector for 9 years. She also has twelve years of experience of working in the book trade, being the former Sales and Marketing Manager of Carcanet Press, and art buyer for Waterstone’s, Deansgate. She graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a BA (Hons) in Photography, and has an MA in Documentary Film Production from University of Salford. Sarah has been involved in the region’s creative industries for 18 years, she hasworked as a photography studio assistant, an art workshop leader (for Castlefield Gallery, Manchester Gallery, Cornerhouse Gallery), co-organiser for Redeye: Northwest Photography Network’s exhibition masterclass programmes (in partnership with Harris Gallery, National Media Museum and Gallery Oldham), and set up Kiosk Gallery, an artist run pop - up exhibition space in Manchester. She has been involved with numerous Arts Council supported collaborative projects, with other artists and communities, including Bitmapping at Cornerhouse and Mid Pennine Gallery, and site specific projects with A Family Of.

Rob Appleby

Dr Rob Appleby is a lecturer in the high energy particle physics group of the University of Manchester. His primary research is into the physics of particle accelerators, including beam dynamics and lattice design, and he is involved in the International Linear Collider and Large Hadron Collider projects. He is also a member of the LHCb collaboration at the LHC, where he is responsible for machine induced backgrounds. (Mphys in theoretical physics (York, 1996-2000), PhD in theoretical particle physics (Manchester, 2000-2003), staff accelerator physicist (Accelerator Science and Technology CentreCCLRC, 2003-2005), Visiting postdoctoral scientist (LAL, 2004), Lecturer in accelerator physics (Manchester, 2005-present) and senior scientist at the Cockcroft Institute (2005-present)).

Kavita Bhanot
Kavita Bhanot grew up in London, lived for many years in Birmingham, then moved to India, where she directed an international literature festival and helped to set up India’s first literary agency. She recently completed a PhD at Manchester University, in Creative Writing and Literature. Her short stories and non-fiction have been published in anthologies, magazines and journals, two of her stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and she is the editor of the short story collection Too Asian, Not Asian Enough (Tindal Street Press, 2011). She is a reader with The Literary Consultancy and a regular book reviewer for The Independent.
Will Carr
Will Carr is Deputy Director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation (, working on writing, music, theatre and exhibition projects. He has previously worked in prisons and as a jazz pianist, and has held senior roles at the Poetry School, Arts Council England and the Wordsworth Trust. His edition of Anthony Burgess's novel The Pianoplayers was published by Manchester University Press in 2017, and his selection of Burgess's journalism The Ink Trade was published by Carcanet Press in 2018.
Ruth Daniel
Ruth is an award winning cultural producer, activist and social entrepreneur. She is Co-Director of Place of War - a support system for community artistic, creative and cultural organisations in places of conflict, revolution and areas suffering the consequences of conflict. She was Founder and Director of Manchester based independent record label, Fat Northerner Records (2003 – 2010); global grassroots music event and community founder and Director of Un-Convention; and Director of new seaside ‘festival of festivals’, One of These Days. Ruth is also a regular speaker at cultural festivals and events, including TEDX, British Council, International Alert, Primavera Sounds, Berlin Music Week.
James Draper
James Draper is Manager of the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, home of the UK's biggest and most successful postgraduate literary community. He has extensive experience of developing and delivering creative programmes, projects and events within higher education and in partnership with UK and international partners, specialising in enterprise, knowledge exchange, marketing and communications. As one of Manchester Met's first Enterprise Fellows, he launched the international Manchester Writing Competition in 2008, which has awarded £175,000 to writers-to-date. He has provided consultancy for arts, community and educational organisaitons looking to develop commercial activity, taught English and Creative Writing at degree level and was a founding Director of the Manchester Children's Book Festival.
Noor Hemani
Noor is a bookseller at Lighthouse Books in Edinburgh, a radical, left wing, queer, antiracist bookshop in the heart of the city. She sells books, chairs events and interviews writers - she got an award for being good at this in 2019. She also has another job working for a human rights charity where she does research and translation from Arabic to English. She has a degree in English Literature and a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic
Jill Lovecy
Jill is Labour Councillor for Rusholme Ward and a retired lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester.


The Staff

Ra Page - CEO, Founder and Publisher
Ra is the CEO and Founder of Comma Press. He has edited over 20 anthologies, including The City Life Book of Manchester Short Stories (Penguin, 1999), The New Uncanny (winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, 2008), and most recently Resist: Stories of Uprising (2019). He has coordinated a number of publisher development initiatives, including Literature Northwest (2004-2013), and the Northern Fiction Alliance (2016-present). He is a former journalist and has also worked as a producer and director on a number of short films. He read Physics at Balliol College, Oxford and has an MA in English from the University of Manchester. Ra has been recognised by the h100 Awards for the last two years running (2019/2020) for his contribution to the Publishing & Writing industry in the UK, and was included in The Bookseller 150 list in 2020, their annual guide to the book trade's most influential figures.

Sarah Cleave - Publishing Manager
Sarah Cleave is Publishing Manager at Comma Press and editor of Banthology: Stories from Unwanted Nations and Europa28: Writing by Women on the Future of Europe. Sarah is coordinator of the Northern Fiction Alliance and Associate Lecturer in Publishing at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has worked in independent publishing for almost ten years, including roles at Saqi Books and Telegram, and Haus Publishing.
Nia Thomas – Publishing Assistant  
Nia Thomas is Publishing Assistant at Comma Press. They graduated from The Courtauld Institute of Art with a First-Class degree in History of Art before moving back to Manchester and co-founding Salt Manchester, an independent magazine publishing on arts and culture in Greater Manchester. A freelance arts writer, Nia has interviewed various artists and poets such as Hans Ulrich Obrist, Lemn Sissay and Tarek Lakhrissi and previously worked as Operations Assistant at Reform Radio. In 2019, they were selected as a Barbican Young Visual Artist and published a photography book exploring placemaking in the West of Ireland. The work was exhibited in a group exhibition at the centre and later at the Feminist Literary Festival.
Basma Ghalayini - Operations Officer
Basma has an academic background in Management Information Systems and has worked in various finance roles within the past seven years in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors. Previously she was Senior Finance Officer at Cellusys Limited. She has worked with companies and individuals to help plan their short and long term financial goals, and has significant command of tax, investment and insurance issues, in relation to a number of different industries.

Editor at Large

Orsola Casagrande is a journalist, filmmaker, and activist. As a journalist, she worked for 25 years for the Italian daily newspaper il manifesto, and is currently co-editor of the web magazine Global Rights. She writes in Italian, English, Spanish and Turkish, and speaks Kurdish and French, as well as having basic conversational skills in Farsi and the Basque language. Based between Barcelona, Venice and Havana, Orsola writes regularly on Spanish, Catalan and Basque politics, as well as the Colombia peace process. She has collaborated with international peace mediator Brian Currin on peace negotiations in the Basque country, Kurdistan, and Colombia. She was a curator of Planet K, the Kurdish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2009, has translated numerous books (including The Book of Havana), as well as written several of her own.


Sue Fletcher - Marketing & Publicity
Sue is communications and engagement specialist with over 15 years' experience in creative, not-for-profit and education sectors. She has considerable knowledge of fundraising and communications for effective income development, and significant strategic experience as manager and as volunteer chair of Community Arts North West and Manchester Craft and Design Centre. She is currently Head of Marketing and Communications at Oldham Colliseum Theatre and acts as a consultant for Comma Press. She has previously provided training for PANDA, University of Manchester, and Salford University, and mentored arts professionals at various institutions including Octagon Theatre, Bolton, Walk The Plank and Z-arts. 



If you are applying for a work experience placement please include your CV, cover letter and availability in an email to info[at] We will try and respond to everyone but apologies if you don't hear back from us immediately. 
PLEASE NOTE: We are not currently able to offer work experience placements due to capacity for the foreseeable future, apologies. 

For information about submitting short fiction to Comma please see our Submissions Guidance under 'Resources'.