Who are Writers’ HQ?

A rag-tag band of scruffy nerf herders and a secret cult hellbent on dismantling the capitalist patriarchal hegemony!


Our community is what makes Writers’ HQ really great, and that starts with our incredible team

Boss lady


Sarah Lewis


Founder of original Brighton Writers’ Retreat. Constantly trying to escape her family to write while simultaneously reaching new heights of procrastination. Sarah writes endlessly and is never satisfied. She graduated in the top 20% of her MA creative writing class at UEA, won the David Higham Award, won an Arts Council grant to complete her first novel under the mentorship of critically acclaimed author Peter Hobbs, was one of the NWS10 talented early career writers, and gained a rarely given special mention in the BBC Short Story Award and then got completely sidetracked by Writers’ HQ and helping other writers sort their shit out. Procrastination level: 100!

Our awesome gang of author types

Round of applause for our amazing crew of retreat reps, webinar hosts, workshop facilitators and all round super beings! This lovely lot deliver your weekly retreats, online sessions and open mic nights, and help make our community the very best place on the internet with their generosity and support.


Anika Carpenter

Anika Carpenter lives and works in Brighton, UK. Her flash fiction can be found online in various publications, including – Ellipsis Zine, Janus Literary, The Molotov Cocktail and Reflex Fiction. Her work has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Prize and the Bridport Prize. You can find her via her website @StillSquirrel or at The Flash Cabin, a cosy spot on the virtual vista where she hosts online workshops and courses.


Kathy Hoyle


Kathy runs our Coventry retreats and also hosts online Weekend Retreats, Mini Retreats and Flash Face Off. She holds a BA (hons) and an MA in Creative Writing and has a passion for Flash Fiction, Short Stories and jammy dodgers all of which fuel her soul equally. She says she will write a novel one day but nobody believes her. You can find her procrastinating over on twitter


Aakriti Kaushik

Aakriti runs the Birmingham Retreat. She is a PR professional and ex-journalist, writing about STEM, engineering and electronics, and gender and women issues. She is currently working on her first fiction novel. Aakriti is also an accredited mindfulness meditation teacher, and a strong advocate of yoga.


Veronique Kootstra


Veronique runs the Edinburgh retreats and also hosts online Weekend Retreats, Journaling and 60-min Novelling. She writes short stories, flash fiction and has recently finished her first novel. When she’s not writing you can usually find her in the cinema or on Twitter


Paul Macauley

Paul has been making things since he was small. All the way from tiny Batman costumes made of bin-bags to becoming an award winning writer and theatre maker. As a writer and maker he is working on a novel (who isn’t, right? Keep going everyone!) and a short film and a novella and a theatre show and… you get the picture. Seeing others realising their creative ambitions inspires him, so he also works as a creative coach – helping people to live, make and share what they love.

Find out more at his website


Lexi Radcliffe-Hart

Lexi runs the Cambridge retreat and can be seen on screen for journaling, 60-min novelling and online retreats. In a long term relationship with WHQ, she writes and procrastinates over short stories and promises this year, she WILL finish the novel she started at those first retreats in Brighton.


Melissa Stirling Reid


Melissa runs our Glasgow retreats, along with many of our online workshops from Journaling, to Flash Face Off, to the Mini and Weekend Retreats. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from Strathclyde University, a fondness for stories featuring sandwiches, and she writes fiction and creative nonfiction.

Join our amazing writing community!

  • It’s FREE!
  • Hang out with a bunch of like-minded writers on our community forum
  • Join our monthly online writing retreats
  • Try out free writing courses
  • Get support, resources, pep and vim to keep you writing
  • Did we mention it’s free?

Want to be a better writer?

Or just to laugh at bum jokes? Either way, you need the famous Writers’ HQ newsletter. You know what to do – put your thing in the thing.