Sarah Hesketh was brought up in Pendle, East Lancashire. She attended Merton College, Oxford and obtained a BA in English Literature. During her time at Oxford she served as president of the University Poetry Society and as an editor of Oxford Poetry Magazine. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from UEA and in 2007 her collaboration with composer Alastair Caplin was performed at the Leeds Lieder Festival. Her first full collection of poetry Napoleon’s Travelling Bookshelf, was published in 2009 by Penned in the Margins and was highly commended in the Forward Prize 2010. In 2013 she was poet in residence with Age Concern working with elderly people with dementia, and in 2014 she published The Hard Word Box (Penned in the Margins, 2014), a collection of poems and interviews inspired by this experience. The book was longlisted for the Medicine Unboxed Creative Prize. In 2015, she was commissioned by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust to produce ‘Grains of Light’, a sequence of poems based around the story of Holocaust survivor Eve Kugler. Her work has also appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies such as Agenda, The White Review, Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot, and Birdbook III. She is the editor of The Emma Press Anthology of Age.
For five years she was the Assistant Director at the literature and free speech charity English PEN and since 2012 she has worked as a freelance project manager for organisations including the Poetry Translation Centre, The Reading Agency and Free Word, managing projects including World Book Night and International Translation Day. From 2015-17 she developed and co-managed the Mixed Borders Residency for London Parks and Gardens Trust. In 2014 she was shortlisted for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize which recognises the achievements and celebrates the promise of women in the publishing industry.