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Mslexia, the magazine for women who write |

About the magazine

Debbie Taylor

Editorial Director

Debbie TaylorDebbie Taylor is the founder of Mslexia and is now its Editorial Director. She studied at University College London, where she gained a First in Psychology, followed by a PhD, then took up a fellowship at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases. Her career as a writer began in a village on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, where she began writing about what used to be called the Third World. Since then she has worked as Editor at New Internationalist and Writing Women magazines and as writer, researcher, project manager for many organisations, including Oxfam, Anti Slavery, BBC 2, Channel 4, UNICEF, WHO. Her full-length books of fiction and non-fiction include Women: A World Report (Methuen), My Children, My Gold (Virago), The Fourth Queen (Penguin) and Hungry Ghosts (Penguin). She grows all her own veggies and lives in a decommissioned lighthouse at the mouth of the Tyne with poet W N Herbert and their daughter Isobel.

Claire Malcolm

Partnerships Director

Claire MalcolmClaire is the Director of New Writing North, the writing development agency for the North East of England. She is a graduate of the Cultural Leadership MA at City University and in 2006 received a New Writing Encouragement Award from the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain for her work with writers. At New Writing North she leads on writer development, festival production, publishing, commissioning and strategic and business development. She is a Specialist Advisor on Literature for Creative Scotland and a board member of Wunderbar Festival and Designed and Made.

Danuta Kean

Books Editor

Danuta KeanDanuta Kean is books editor of Mslexia and deputy director of the Creative Enterprise Centre at Brunel University, where she also lectures MA creative writing students on publishing. She is respected as a trenchant analyst of the book industry and wider media, her work appears in national media including the Financial Times, Independent and Daily Mail, as well as a variety of publishing websites and publications. As well as books, she is passionate about film and music. You can follow her on Twitter @Danoosha.

Isabel Smales


Isabel Smales

Isabel joined Mslexia in the Spring of 1999, narrowly missing the first issue, and has been shackled to the finances and administration ever since. Despite the years these will be the first words that she has contributed for wider circulation.
She is a qualified accountant and has a number of years experience in such varied fields as cattle breeding, farming and estate management, and retailing. She has two grown-up rugby playing sons, is an active Pony Club mother and commentates and stewards at horse trials up and down the country. When not working she enjoys sailing and when other commitments allow she plans to circumnavigate the world.

Helen Baynes

Administration Manager

Helen Baynes

Helen Baynes has an undergraduate degree in English studies from Stirling University and a postgraduate Masters in arts management from Northumbria University. Home is a working dairy farm in the village of Slaley, Northumberland, where she lives with her husband Richard, her son Tom, and a whole menagerie of animals including a dog, three cats, chickens, and of course a whole herd of pedigree Shorthorn & Ayrshire cows.

Martha lane

Subscriptions and Projects Manager

Martha LaneMartha started as a volunteer in 2008 but now manages Mslexia’s competitions. She has just completed her MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She writes for children and young adults at home, constantly distracted by cats. She’s a massive fan of film and travel and likes to combine the two, once ending up on the red carpet in Sarajevo.

Sarah Chapman

Administration Manager (Maternity Cover)

Sarah ChapmanSarah came to Mslexia from managing a bookshop and seems destined to always work with books in some way. She has an MLitt in English Literature from Newcastle University, which hasn't put her off reading voraciously. She moved to Newcastle from London and still occasionally has trouble understanding Geordie taxi drivers. She has a book review blog at and tweets as @bibliomouse. She likes cake, coffee, pandas and fiction, and can make the Sunday papers last all week.

Victoria Levay

Marketing Manager (Magazine and Projects)

Victoria LevayVictoria joined Mslexia as administrative assistant back in 2008 and has since made her way up through the ranks to advertising and directory manager. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University and is a scriptwriter in her spare time, specialising in theatre and radio. She loves cinema, reading in bed, and is a bit of a fitness-fiend – which is balanced out by a deep-routed love of cake. She tweets as @VictoriaLevay.

Robyn Henderson

Marketing Manager (Digital and Sales)

Robyn is the newest member of the Mselxia team and is responsible for all things web-based. She is in the final year of her Creative Writing MA at Northumbria University, and specialises in script for TV. She tweets at @robynthenderson, has a dopey cat called Albus and is the only native Geordie in Mslexia's Newcastle-based office.

Alba Griffin

Administration and Subscriptions (Maternity Cover)

Alba came to Mslexia as a volunteer in 2012 and has since returned to provide maternity cover. She recently completed an MA in Latin American Interdisciplinary Studies at Newcastle University and is a lover of languages and international fiction. Alba has dabbled with literary translation and enjoys cooking, travelling and going to gigs.

Carolyn Jess-cooke

Poetry Advisor

Carolyn Jess-CookeCarolyn Jess-Cooke lives in Gateshead. Recipient of an Eric Gregory Award, a major Arts Council Award, the Tyrone Guthrie Prize for poetry, a Northern Promise Award for Poetry, and a prize in the Cardiff Academi International Poetry Competition, she has published her poems everywhere from Poetry London to the The Stinging Fly. Her poetry collection, Inroads is published by Seren, and she has also published 4 nonfiction books in film. She likes chocolate, writing in the bath, and is addicted to buying pyjamas.



Do you have strong leadership skills and a background in business or the cultural sector? Mslexia is currently looking to recruit a new Chair of the board and new board members...

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Volunteer at mslexia

Mslexia runs a series of six-month placements for volunteers – and some shorter-term project-based placements – in our busy office in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. To apply, read the role description below and send us a completed application form along with your CV.

Volunteer Role Description »

Volunteer Application Form »


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