Sarah Sanders

Sarah Sanders was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2020.

Sarah Sanders has worked in literature since 1996. In 2010 she co-founded Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions with Sharmilla Beezmohun to raise the profile of and offer opportunities to authors from all backgrounds. Speaking Volumes’ work includes their innovative Breaking Ground platform (2015 onwards), which has taken British writers of colour – including recent prize-winners Johny Pitts and Roger Robinson – on a series of tours to the USA, Europe and venues around the UK. In 2019, Breaking New Ground profiled the work of 100+ diverse British writers and illustrators through a booklet which was distributed to every school in the UK. She also spearheaded the organisation’s Ranting Poetry series Stand Up and Spit with poet Tim Wells, which highlighted the importance of political protesting poetry, often written by working-class poets across race lines, united in their fight for social justice.

Sarah has worked for Arts Council England for over twenty years, creating the first Live Literature funds in the 1990s and championing spoken word as an art form as well as support for individual performance poets. She has judged several poetry prizes including the inaugural BBC 1Xtra Words First competition to find six spoken word stars of the future. She is passionate about supporting writers who don’t have access to mainstream publishing.

Sarah’s previous work has included positions at BBC Education and the National Theatre. She was the first Literary Events Director at PEN International, producing two seasons of the five-day Free the Word! Festival in the UK and associated events in Jamaica, Mexico, Austria, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.


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