Staff and Board

Contacts

Founder, Publisher & CEO

Ra Page 

Publishing Manager

(Editorial and Commissioning, Rights & Sales)
Sarah Cleave
Sarah.Cleave[at]commapress.co.uk

Engagement Manager

(Digital, Events and Courses)
Becca Parkinson
Becca.Parkinson[at]commapress.co.uk

Publicist and Editorial Assistant 

(Publicity, Editorial, Industry Day and HE outreach)
Zoe Turner
Zoe.Turner[at]commapress.co.uk

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Operations Officer

(Office Management, Book-keeping, IT support)
Basma Ghalayini
Basma.Ghalayini[at]commapress.co.uk

Editor at Large

Orsola Casagrande

Consultant Editors

Sarah Eyre
Dr Ana Miller
Trudi Shaw

Design

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

Website

Alex Kelly, Oxygen Computers.

If you're not sure which person you need to contact, email: 
info[at]commapress.co.uk   

Patrons

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. Peake 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 three acclaimed novels: The Scholar, Society Within and Snakeskin. 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 Fellow at the London College of Communication until December 2004 and works with selected Further Education partners in west 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.

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.
 
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.

Jill Lovecy
Jill is Labour Councillor for Rusholme Ward and a retired lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester.
 
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))
 
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.
 
Will Carr
Will Carr is Deputy Director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation (www.anthonyburgess.org), 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. 
 

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 joined Comma Press as Publishing Manager in January 2017. Prior to this she was Publishing Manager at Saqi Books and Telegram, where she oversaw the production, sale and distribution of literary fiction and non-fiction internationally. She was previously freelance Editor at Haus Publishing, and also worked in a communications role at the Migrants Resource Centre in London. She graduated from Glasgow University with a BA (Hons) in English Literature and French, and has a particular interest in women’s fiction in translation. Sarah was shortlisted for a London Book Fair Trailblazer Award in 2018. 
 

Becca Parkinson - Engagement Manager
Becca joined us straight from finishing her undergraduate degree at Lancaster University. She volunteered as Secretary then Chair of the Society of Young Publishers North branch (2017-2019) and in July 2018 received a Print Futures Award from The Printing Charity. Becca was longlisted for a London Book Fair Trailblazer Award in 2019 and 2020, and was also accepted onto the British Council's International Publishing Fellowship (2019-2020). In 2021 she became a Trustee of Manchester Literature Festival.

Zoe Turner - Publicity and Outreach Officer
Zoe graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a BA in English Literature having developed a specific interest in contemporary poetry. She went on to complete a Masters in Film and Television: Research and Production at the University of Birmingham. Zoe has previously run workshops to encourage community engagement with short form writing, and has worked alongside organisations such as Ort Gallery and The Barber Institute of Fine Arts to create films for digital engagement. She has also programmed film events for HOME and Flatpack Festival. In May 2019 she took over as organiser and co-host of Verbose, an award-winning spoken word night based in Manchester. In July 2019 she received a Print Futures Award from The Printing Charity and in January 2020 she was longlisted for a London Book Fair Trailblazer Award. In August 2020 she joined online feminist magazine The F-Word as their fiction editor and in 2021 she became a mentor for Arts Emergency. 

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. http://www.globalrights.info/

Consultants

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. 

Martyn Amos 

Martyn Amos is a Professor of Computer and Information Sciences at Northumbria University. He contributed to Comma anthologies Litmus and Bio-Punk, and co-edited Beta Life. In 2002 he took up a lectureship in bioinformatics at the University of Exeter, before moving to Manchester Metropolitan University in the summer of 2006, first as a Senior Lecturer before being promoted to Reader in 2010, and then to Professor in 2012. In 2018, he returned to his North-Eastern roots, and took up his current position at Northumbria. He works at the intersection(s) of computer science, biology, engineering and architecture.

If you are applying for a work experience placement please include your CV, cover letter and availability in an email to info[at]commapress.co.uk. 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'.