Development Team

Created by Amanda Harris at KEAP and well known Cornish writer Annamaria Murphy, The Writers' Block and Story Republic team encompasses writers, artists, and performers.

Amanda Harris - The Story republic

Amanda Harris

Director of KEAP

Amanda is a highly skilled developmental programmer who has initiated and led on innumerable projects in Cornwall including: Shop of Stories – story installations in empty shops, Carn to Cove rural touring scheme, and as a founder member of the writers’ collective Scavel an Gow.  She is also a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedh. Amanda has a love of literature both as a reader and writer.  She published her first novel, Behind the Lines, in 2018. As it took nearly ten years to bring to fruition, the follow up could be some time …

Annamaria Murphy

Annamaria Murphy

Artistic Director & Lead Writer of The Writers' Block

Anna is a long term member of Kneehigh Theatre latterly as a writer. Amongst others, she has worked with C-scape Dance, Theatre Alibi, Little Angel Theatre, Rogue, and BBC Radio 4. Most recently she has been writing for the Kneehigh ‘Rambles’ project, collecting stories on her walks, and has just completed the final series of Radio 4’s ‘Curious Under the Stars.’  Anna writes from her shed in the garden, where she hoards interesting objects with which to inspire her characters.


Headshot of Helen Reynolds - Development Director for KEAP

Helen Reynolds

Development Director, KEAP

Helen has worked for KEAP for 20 years, and in her enhanced role as Development Director she is responsible for the strategic, financial and operational overview of the organisation. Helen is experienced in organisation and project development, fundraising and finance. She is used to running large and small scale projects with many partners and many children in a variety of locations. She has a keen eye for detail, an excellent grasp of logistics and is a dab hand with a paintbrush and drill.  In her spare time Helen is a trad Irish musician and singer.

Grace Davies

Grace Davies

Venue and Marketing Co-ordinator

Grace joined us in June 2022 whilst we were still between buildings, and is a key part of our success as a venue. Grace programmes the space, listens and responds to our participants and teams, throws herself at anything that needs doing, and is the friendly face everyone meets at the door. Her role requires incredible organisational skills and flexibility, and The Writers’ Block could not function without her.

Jen McDerra - Creative Director of The Writers' Block.

Jen McDerra

Creative Director of The Writers' Block (from November 2023)

Jen has just completed a PhD with a thesis on Reuniting 20th century women in books and broadcast with their many achievements. She is also a Clore Fellow. The guiding principle for her work is the drive to acknowledge and support contributions to society by people whose voices and wishes have been neglected. Previously Jen has held roles within the literature sector, including Culture Programme Officer for Commonwealth Writers, Development Manager for The Reader, and Community Relations Officer at Barefoot Books.

Headshot to Connie Crosby - Artistic Director of The Story Republic.

Connie Crosby

Artistic Director of The Story Republic

Connie is a Cornish actor, director, and the Co-Artistic Director of Coppice Theatre. She has been with The Story Republic since it began in 2013. She has travelled all over the county with the group (and even over the Tamar to London!), performing songs, poems and stories with a Cornish twist. The Story Republic has been intrinsic in helping Connie to grow as a performer and a singer, as well as a director. Working alongside Anna Murphy has been a source of joy for the last decade and she takes great pride in stepping up as the new Artistic Director. She cannot wait to see what the future holds for The Story Republic!