About Tom Chivers

Photograph by Travis Elborough

Photograph by Travis Elborough

Tom Chivers is a writer, publisher and arts producer. He was born in 1983 in south London and educated at St Anne’s College, Oxford. His publications include the poetry collection How To Build A City (Salt Publishing, 2009), the pamphlets The Terrors (Nine Arches Press, 2009; shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award) and Flood Drain (Annexe Press, 2012), and, as editor, the anthologies Adventures in Form and Mount London: Ascents in the Vertical City (Penned in the Margins, 2012 & 2014). His second collection, Dark Islands, was published by Test Centre in 2015 in a limited edition. He lives in Rotherhithe with his wife and daughter.

‘Chivers’s writing feels refreshing and necessary, a genuine, lyrical appraisal of contemporary life.’
– Luke Kennard, Poetry London

‘Dark London history, dredged and interrogated, spits and fizzes with corrosive wit. Tom Chivers understands the risks he risks, the play in a taught rope.’
– Iain Sinclair

The Terrors is a prose-poetry fusion of 18th-century London and online modernity. It makes for a new kind of street ballad.’
– Ali Smith, The Guardian


Projects and commissions

In 2008 Tom was Poet in Residence at the Bishopsgate Institute. In September 2009 Radio 4 broadcast his documentary about the poet Barry MacSweeney. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2011. In the same year, his poem ‘The Event’ was made into an animated film by Julia Pott for Channel 4’s Random Acts.

In 2013 Tom worked with Cape Farewell on ADRIFT – an investigation of urban landscapes. As part of this project, he devised two ‘urban pilgrimages’ – site-specific audio walks along London’s lost rivers – for Bishopsgate Institute and Southbank Centre. In November 2013 he was commissioned to make a psychogeographical dream-walk up the River Hull, resulting in the long poem Flood Drain (Annexe Press, 2014). In 2014 he was shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Prize and co-created (with James Wilkes) The Listening Post: an immersive audio installation for LIFT Festival at Battersea Arts Centre.

Tom is currently working on a creative non-fiction book, London Clay: Journeys in the Deep City.

‘engrossing yet meditative’
– Natasha Tripney, The Guardian on the Neckinger Pilgrimage

‘Part historical/cultural research project, part exercise in acute environmental observation, Chivers’ ode to the Walbrook is an immersive, beautifully executed exercise in urban psychogeography.’
– Sarah Lester, Wild Culture



Tom is Director of Penned in the Margins, a multi-award-winning independent publisher and arts producer which joined Arts Council England’s National Portfolio in 2015. From 2008 to 2011 he was co-Director of London Word Festival, for which he commissioned and produced a wide range of productions and events, receiving a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Award for his work. Tom started his career at East London arts consultancy the hub, and has worked with a variety of organisations in the arts including Free Word Centre where he was Digital Editor 2011-12. He was a Board Member of the Poetry Book Society 2009-2013 and is currently a Board Member of Inpress Books. He writes the occasional review for Exeunt Theatre Magazine.



As editor

Published work


Magazines / journals

3:AM Magazine, The Alchemy of the Verb, Ceramic Review, Charm Offensive, Dawntreader, The Edgeless Shape, Fire, Fuselit, Gists & Piths, Isis, Likestarlings, The Journal of Wild Culture, The London Magazine, Magma, Nthposition, Oxford Today, Poiitiki (Greece), Silkworms Ink, Tall Lighthouse Review, Tears in the Fence, The Reader, Trespass, The White Review, X Magazine.

Reviews and articles have appeared in: Arts Professional, CEN Magazine, Culture Wars, Exeunt, Incorporated Writing, Inprint, The New Wolf, Poetry London, Poetry News, Smoke: A London Peculiar, Tears in the Fence and Time Out.

Selected Events

The Battle of Ideas, Bishopsgate Institute, Birmingham Book Festival, Dasein Poetry Festival (Athens), The Eden Project, Essex Poetry Festival, Goethe-Institut (Thessaloniki), Hackney Literature Festival, Ledbury Poetry Festival, LIFT Festival, London Literature Festival, Moray Walking Festival, Musuem of London in Docklands, North London Literature Festival, Poetry Hearings (Berlin), The Science Museum, Poetry International at the Southbank Centre, Rich Mix, The Sage Gateshead, Soho Theatre, Spitalfields Festival, Stoke Newington Literary Festival, The Thames Festival, The Troubadour, The Whitechapel Gallery and Wurmfest (Dublin).

Talks and workshops for the Arvon Foundation, the hub, Lit Up, The Poetry School, Spread the Word, and the Universities of Brunel, East London, Exeter, Greenwich, Middlesex, Thessaloniki (Greece) and York St John.