whats on




















































































































































Paul grew up in a hamlet near the border between England and Wales. After living and working in three different continents he settled in Northern Ireland in 1998.

During 2000 he started to write poems in his spare time, rekindling an interest in poetry that had lain dormant for decades. In 2006 he was selected by Poetry Ireland as an ‘emerging writer of real talent'. In 2009 he left his post to pursue a new career as a writer.

In 2011 Paul was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. Later that year, he began a weekly blog called ‘Writing to Survive’, about his cancer treatment and living with the threat of recurrence. The blog has garnered many plaudits and has hundreds of regular readers. After two recurrences and four major operations, he has been clear of cancer for the past three years.


Paul has won a series of awards in national and international poetry competitions:


Seamus Burns Writing Competition, 2nd Prize (2019)
Poetry Commission for Concern Worldwide (2019)
Billy Collins Masterclass Competition (2019)
Eyewear Publishing Pamphlet Competition (2018)
Mere Literary Festival Adjudicators Prize (2017)
Rush Poetry Competition, 3rd Prize (2017)
Federation of Writers Poetry Competition, 2nd Prize (2016)
Artists Embassy International Poetry Contest, 2nd Prize (2015)
Slipstream Poetry Competition, 3rd Prize (2015)
Ulster Tatler: The Book of The Month Award (2011)
Poetry Kit: Featured Poet (2011)
Sentinel Literary Quarterly Competition, 3rd Prize (2010)
Arts Council of NI Manuscript Development Competition (2009)
Poetry Ireland Introductions Competition (2006)


Cinammon Press Pamphlet Competition (2020)
Prole Books Pamphlet Competition (2018)
Writing Armistice Poetry Competition (2018)
York Literature Festival Poetry Competition (2018)
Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition (2018)
Allingham Poetry Competition (2017)
Cannon Poets Sonnet Competition (2017)
Mere Literary Festival Poetry Competition (2017)
Stanley Spencer Poetry Prize (2017)
Dermot Healy International Poetry Award (2016)
Doolin Writers Festival Poetry Award (2016)
Atlanta Review International Poetry Competition (2015)
Torbay Open Poetry Competition (2015)
Ealing Festival Poetry Prize (2014)
Jack Clemo Poetry Prize (2009)
Cannon Poets Silver Jubilee National Competition (2009)
Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Competition (2009)             Aesthetica Creative Works Competition (2009)
Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Prize (2009)


Paul is a acclaimed reader and performer of his work.

He has been selected to read at major arts festivals in the UK and Ireland, including: the Aspects Festival of Irish Literature , the Belfast Book Festival, the Belfast International Festival, the Dingle Arts Festival, the Lincoln Book Festival and the St Ives Literature Festival. In 2018 he was invited to read in the Scottish Poetry Library at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Paul has been featured four times on BBC Radio. He has made three appearances on Arts Extra, where he was interviewed by Marie-Louise Muir and he read a selection of his poems.

He has given public readings at numerous venues across the island of Ireland, including: Damer Hall (Dublin) for Poetry Ireland, the Irish Writer’s Centre (Dublin), the Market Place Theatre (Armagh), the Black Box (Belfast), the Crescent Arts Centre (Belfast), the Linenhall Library (Belfast), the Millennium Court Arts Centre (Portadown), the Dock (Leitrim) and Ó Bhéal (Cork).

Paul’s work has also been featured at journal and anthology launches in Belfast, Dublin, London, Montreal and York, amongst others.

In 2019 he undertook a poetry commission for Concern Worldwide. A video with Paul reading his poem ‘Breakfast in Kutupalong’ was used in their international media campaign to raise awareness of the plight of the Rohingya.


Paul is a longstanding member of the Writers’ Group at the Seamus Heaney Centre in Belfast. This group has been chaired by Ian Sansom, Sinead Morrissey and the late Ciaran Carson. Since 2013 he has been a Deputy Convenor of the group.

In 2014, he was Writer in Residence for Big Telly Theatre Company; he has also led writing and creative development workshops for a range of organisations in Northern Ireland.

Paul founded, organised and hosted The Squat Pen, a regular series of ‘words and music’ events that took place in theatres, arts centres, cafes and bookshops across the island of Ireland between 2013 and 2019.

He was the founding Chair of the Northern Ireland Literature Forum and a Director of Kabosh Theatre Company. He has also undertaken a range of senior management and governance roles in a number of educational, professional and charitable organisations, including: Concern Worldwide and Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.

Paul is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Emeritus Professor of Queen's University Belfast. He has a Ph.D and a M.Ed with distinction from the University of Manchester and a B.Sc from the University of London.

In a 25 year academic career, he specialised in creativity and learning in organisations. Paul published eight books, over 100 journal articles and was on the Editorial Boards of five academic journals.