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Photo credit: Justin David, Inkandescent
I’m a performance poet with three published collections of poetry and the author of a novel. My poetry has been anthologised by Bloodaxe, Nine Arches and the Emma Press among others, and for the past year, I’ve hosted the LGBT+ radio show Out in South London on Resonance FM, showcasing gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans authors, musicians, comedians and other creatives like me.
Recent notable gigs include four times at Glastonbury on the Poetry & Words Stage, Women of the World (WOW) Festival at the South Bank Centre and headlining a national tour with Hammer and Tongue. I’m a Literary Death Match champion, Spread the Word LGBT Hero and Diversity Role Model. I’m also a freelance editor, Chair of Poetry London and the Pride Network at Hachette UK.
I’ve taught workshops for the National Portrait Gallery and various schools and colleges around the UK, and I lecture on creative writing and careers at Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education. My first love is still spoken word, but I also love radio and presenting and organising real-time and virtual events.
My other interests include cooking, vintage dresses, cat memes and coffee.
I'm an experienced editor of fiction and non-fiction whose current clients include Bloomsbury Publishing and Oxford University Press. I've also worked on books that went on to be published by Penguin Books, Duke University Press, Pearson and Unbound, and helped self-publishing authors find their voices. I provide editorial assessments, structural and line-editing and proofreading.
To see my full experience as an editor, please visit my profile on Reedsy.com.
Check out what some of my previous clients have said:
‘Sophia worked with me on my novel, which was published by Unbound. Her structural and copy-editing skills are thorough and thoughtful, with great attention to detail, and her approach to delivery was timely and effective. She was a pleasure to work with and I have no reservations in recommending her editing services.’
John-Paul Flintoff, award-winning journalist, author and performer
‘Having worked with Sophia for several years in-house at Bloomsbury, I’ve sought her out several times on a freelance basis and am always thrilled with her wonderful expertise, excellent ideas and unfailing reliability. I always look forward to the next time we can work together.’
Lisa Carden, former Routledge, HarperCollins and Bloomsbury in-house editor, now freelance editor and writer
‘Sophia Blackwell is undoubtedly one of the most skilled editors I have worked with over the past decade. She’s an extremely insightful and wise editor in relation to structure, content and style, as well as being an eagle-eyed copy editor. We’ve worked together on multiple fiction and non-fiction projects for major UK and international publishers, and each time she has performed wonders with the manuscript. Sophia is also one of the most efficient editors I know – the job is always done on time and to the highest standards. I can now hardly imagine publishing my work without having had Sophia’s masterful scalpel work over the text!’
Roman Krznaric, social philosopher and author of Carpe Diem Regained and The Good Ancestor
Writing can be lonely: a solitary endeavour in which you don’t know if you’re on a good track, and just a little steer can make all the difference. Working with Sophia gave me the confidence to crack on. She was honest about where I needed guidance, and supportive where she felt I was onto something. She helped me to feel accountable for making progress with my manuscript. In many ways, Sophia was my coach through my first draft phase. She was always available, and brought her skill and experience to the writing process. I’m very grateful to have found her.
Alex Smith, Founder/CEO, The Cares Family
‘Sophia was the ‘midwife’ on my last two books. Being helped by Sophia to bring my books to life was a great and joyful experience for me. Sophia somehow manages to get into the skin of the writer and deeply connects with potential readers. She helped me, as an amateur author, to find the language and tone that truly communicates what I wanted to share with my audience.’
Martin Kalungu-Banda, BBS Consulting
It was a pleasurable experience working with Sophia. Work was delivered ahead of deadline and was very patient with responses on my part.
I hope to be able to work with Sophia again.
Jenica Leah, author
Please note, I do not make direct introductions to publishers. I do not work with competitors to my employers, and need to be notified of anything that might cause a conflict of interest. Whether or not I can work on your book, I respond to all queries promptly and can always provide advice for next steps.
WRITING & PERFORMANCES
I have performed four times on the Glastonbury Poetry and Words stage and on various Polari national tours, including the WOW Festival at the South Bank. I have written and performed four and a half shows at the Edinburgh Fringe and devised other original events including Hammer and Tongue Slam at Battersea Power Station, Invisible Outlaws with Laura Macdougall and The Persisters with Jacqueline Saphra. With Paula Varjack and VG Lee, I was one of the original cast members of Rosie Wilby’s The Breakup Monologues and I've performed in various musical, comedy and theatre cabaret shows including Funny Women.
From 2016 to 2019, I was the host and organiser of Below Stairs literary cabaret night at Blacks Club on Dean Street in Soho. Guests included Rosie Garland, the Antipoet, Elvis McGonagall, Amy Leon, Beverley Bie Brahic, Jacqueline Saphra, Dean Atta, Alexis Gregory and Megan Beech among others. From 2010 to 2019, I also hosted music at most of London’s member’s clubs, regularly at Black’s but also the Groucho, the Ivy, the Century Club and Soho House, as part of The Society of the Golden Slippers with Jen Roberts and Simba Max Bhebhe.
I also provide the following:
• Live poetry performances of 20-90 minutes
• Bespoke workshops for adults and young people
• Hosting literature, music and cabaret events
• Event organising and promotion
• Keynote speeches on creative writing and the publishing industry
• Interviewing authors and chairing literary panels
• Presenting and editing radio and making weekly one-hour programmes from home
IN THE PRESS
‘Exceptionally talented…magic radiates from her performances, which are captivating, moving and often hilarious too.’
“Some of Sophia Blackwell’s poems read like Nico should be singing them to John Cale’s viola, some as if Shakespeare’s slut sister taught him all he knew, others are new as the new dawn. Dirty, juicy, knowing, open-works for me.”
“As soon as I finished this raw, addictive, affectionate poetry collection, I went back to the start and read it all again.”
“Searing, sexy and profound, a stone genius poet.”
PAST RADIO SHOWS
Sophia speaks with more guests and discusses a wide range of topics
20th April 2021
Safe: Sophia speaks to writer and theatre-maker Alexis Gregory about his new filmed production 'Safe' (online from Monday 19 April 2021), created by Alexis and performed by an out-LGBTQ cast.
13th April 2021
This episode includes Part 2 of Sophia’s interview with Nick Field on his music project, Songs Nobody Taught Me, and an interview with Elizabeth Chakrabarty on her new novel, Lessons in Love and Other Crimes.
6th April 2021
Sophia speaks to musician Janette Mason and plays two tracks from her Wall-to-Wall Bowie project featuring David McAlmont and Sam Obernik. Interviews and original music also from Nick Field and Zoe Konez.
23rd March 2021
Sophia speaks to singer and beatboxing champion Grace Savage about her brand-new track, Rag Doll, and interviews the project managers of Queer Heritage South about their latest online productions.
8th March 2021
International Women’s Day: Rebellious Women. With musical mashups and guests including author Jane Traies, Sophia investigates the lives of lesbians from the early to late twentieth century.
9th February 2021
It’s a Sin: A special episode focused on discussion of the new TV show from Russell T. Davies, with guests including Simon Maddrell, Stewart Whoo, Luke Turner and Paul Burston and former nurses and community workers Valerie Harvey and Teresa Edmans.
2nd February 2021
Sophia talks to bestselling crime novelist Val McDermid about her novel, Still Life and her upcoming online appearance with Rosie Garland at The Coast is Queer Literary Festival.
19th January 2021
Sophia interviews YA author Juno Dawson about her new non-fiction book, What’s the T?, for trans and non-binary youth. Features tracks from Cobbler and various UK poets from the new album, This is a Good Place to Kiss, including Justin Lewis and Sophia herself.
12th January 2021
Sophia talks to Ruth Coker Burks, who helped hundreds of AIDS patients in 1980s America, and author, journalist and model Jamie Windust.
1st December 2020
Rosie Wilby and Sophia speak to singer-songwriter Lucy Spraggan about her new album and single, 'Sober'.
4th August 2020
Sophia talks to Polari Prize founder Paul Burston and two of the 2020 judges, Keith Jarrett and Cerys Evans. Plus, an interview with artist Andrew Logan and a brand new track from musician Tom Heath.
28th July 2020
This week: Sophia speaks to YouTuber and debut author Calum McSwiggan, singer-songwriter Sarah Walk and author Mark Gevisser
7th July 2020
This week: Sophia speaks to Out in South London creator, Rosie Wilby, singer-songwriter Katy Rose Bennett and spoken word artist and activist Lisa Luxx.
16th June 2020
This week: Sophia speaks to Evelyn Pittman of Opening Doors London and to Iranian author Golnoosh Nour about their new short story collection.
21st July 2020
This week: Sophia talks to Florida-based novelist Kristen Arnett about her new novel Mostly Dead Things, and Eleanor Crewes about her graphic memoir The Times I Knew I Was Gay.
30th June 2020
This week: Sophia speaks to YA novelist William Hussey about his new LGBT novel for young adults, Hideous Beauty.
9th June 2020
This week: Sophia talks to Ian Macrae, work psychologist and author of several books, most recently Myths of Social Media.
14th July 2020
This week: Sophia speaks to Julie Cohen about her new novel, Spirited; Justin David about his novella, The Pharmacist; and musical duo Catbear about their new track, Love and War.
23rd June 2020
This week: Sophia speaks to author Justin Myers about his new novel, the Magnificent Sons.
2nd June 2020
Sophia speaks to Michael Arditti about his new novel The Anointed and to author and champion cyclist Emily Chappell about her second book, Where There's a Will. Music by CATBEAR, Una and Haim.