Andy Willoughby is a poet and playwright from Middlesbrough. He was the town’s laureate in the early 2000’s. He is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and English at Teesside University where he teaches on BA and MA programmes. He is co-director of Ek Zuban Press and Literature development established in 2003 with fellow Teesside poet Bob Beagrie. They have co-developed and delivered many creative writing, poetry slam and drama projects with schools, community groups and for major organisations such as the NHS, Creative Partnerships and New Writing North as well as most of the major councils in the North East. He has been a poetry coach for Apples and Snakes on Olympic and World Cup projects. He is the co-director and MC of Middlesbrough’s longstanding Electric Kool-Aid Cabaret of the Spoken Word.He has worked on many Arts Council funded projects including the recent international mentoring project InterCity Flow with poets from Middlesbrough, London, Copenhagen, Turku, Avignon and Den Haag.
Andy has also produced a number of large scale new drama projects including the new Playwrights Lab at Stockton Arc resulting in the Short Sharp Festival in 2013. He is a dramaturg and writing mentor with Redcar drama lab producing the successful Summer Shorts Festival at Redcar Tuned in 2016 and is currently working on Salamander Songs a dramatic reflection on the end of steel working on Teesside to be produced in 2017.
Andy has been going working with Finnish poets and musicians since 2000 and due to his and Beagrie’s efforts with partners there an exchange has been running in various forms between South West Finland and North East England from 2002 to the present. This played a large part in helping develop Middlesbrough’s successful T Junction International Poetry Festival of which Beagrie and Willoughby are key members of the organising committee. He is also an international board member of Turku Runoviiko and of the Finnish socially focused arts organisation Kiila. they have worked together on many projects including translation and refugee workshops.
Andy has been published in numerous anthologies such as ‘Oral : An Anthology of British Performance Poetry’ (Sceptre 1999), ‘With Both Feet in the Mud 2 - an Anglo- Dutch Anthology’ (Old Brewerie Press 2009) ‘North-bound’ (Vane Women 2016) and ‘New Boots and Pantisocracies’ (Smokestack Books 2016). His solo work includes ‘The Wrong California: Middlesbrough Poet Laureate Poems’ (Mudfog Press 2003) and he has two collections with Smokestack Books: ’Tough’ (Smokestack 2004) and ‘Between Stations’ (2016).
He has collaborated with Finnish poet Riina Katajavuori in ‘Peripheries’ (Ek Zuban 2006) and with Bob Beagrie in ‘Kids’ (Mudfog Press 2011) and Sampo:Heading Further North - Poems inspired by Kalevala (Red Squirrel Press 2015). He has also edited several project anthologies with Beagrie for Ek Zuban including ‘The Flesh of the Bear: Poems from North East England and South West Finland’ , ‘Breakout: An Anthology of New Writing from The Teesside Scene’ (Ek Zuban 2013) and ‘Intercity Flow’ (Ek Zuban 2015).