Martha Sprackland

Lancaster alumna Martha Sprackland is now in the heart of literary London as Assistant Poetry Editor at the publishing house Faber & Faber.

"I have had ambitions to work at Faber since I was a teenager, mainly due to their place on the UK poetry scene as one of the great publishing houses. My passion for editorial work developed as I began to work in literary publishing, translation and in proofreading, as well as working more seriously on my own writing, and it's lovely to have everything I love come together in this one job."

After A-levels Martha taught English and Spanish in Madrid before enrolling at Lancaster University, where she graduated with a first class degree in English and Creative Writing.

This was followed by an MA with Distinction in 2012, earning her the Princess Alexandra Chancellor's Medal.

"As far as my time at Lancaster goes, I had an amazing time. Being supported in directing my own pathway of study - focusing on contemporary literature, for example - was a great advantage, and something Lancaster offers over other institutions."

A writer since childhood, Martha was twice the winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award in 1999 and 2005 and her work has been published in several publications including Poetry Review, Magma, Iota, Brittle Star, Literateur, The Cadaverine, 14, The Salt Book of Younger Poets (Salt, 2011) and Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam (2012).

Her passion for poetry led to her setting up Cake magazine in her first year at university and she now combines her full-time job with editing the magazine, which publishes contemporary poetry and review from new and established writers. Cake will from this year be available to buy in bookshops.

As Editor, Martha stresses that: "Cake aims to publish fresh, exciting work by new poets alongside work by those who have already enjoyed other successes. We want to level the playing field, to allow new writers (this not only referring to young writers, we add) to see their work in print, to recognise the names alongside their own, and to really feel themselves to be a part of the poetry machine."

She had a busy time at University, not only setting up Cake but also freelance proofreading, working as an assistant editor for the Poetry Archive as well as delivering poetry workshops and talks at local schools and colleges.

But she emphasised that the help provided by members of the English and Creative Writing Department at Lancaster proved pivotal in her career.

"The support from individual members of staff allowed me to start up a print magazine, which has gone from strength to strength, and is now stocked in bookshops. Creative Writing workshops both timetabled and extracurricular helped refine my own poetry, and I was able to have several pieces of work published which had their origins in class. One or two, in some form or another, will be collected with newer pieces this year in a pamphlet."