beavers newMatt Beavers

Matt is Literature Programme Manager at the British Council where he is responsible for literature programmes in the Americas and Sub-Saharan Africa. He has managed partnerships with international literature festivals in several countries, has led the literature department’s collaboration with the UK City of Culture, and worked on skills development programmes for emerging writers and storytellers in South Sudan, Sudan, Colombia and Jamaica amongst others. Prior to this Matt was a project coordinator at British Council Germany where he coordinated the British Council’s Berlin Literature Seminar which has brought new literary voices from the UK to Germany for over 30 years.

Within the literature team Matt’s specialisms include poetry, spoken word and storytelling, and he is regularly on the lookout for exciting voices in the UK poetry scene and how to connect them with writers and audiences around the world.

swithun cooper

Swithun Cooper

Swithun joined the Literature team as Research and Information Manager in November 2014. He manages the library at the London offices, writes a monthly bulletin covering news and developments in UK literature, and researches authors, festivals, new projects and specialist areas for the team to focus on in their international events. He chaired the new writing panel on behalf of the British Council at the International Literature Showcase 2015.

Swithun previously spent five years as the library assistant and rare books archivist at the Poetry Library, Southbank Centre, during which time he ran site-specific reading and writing workshops and assisted with the organisation of Poetry Parnassus. He has also worked as the events manager at the Royal Society of Literature, where he programmed schools outreach workshops with the charity First Story and organised talks by writers including Hilary Mantel, Margaret Atwood, Ali Smith and Stephen Kelman. His writing has appeared in Intelligent Life, The TES, and The London Magazine.

 Rebecca Hart c James Gifford MeadRebecca Hart

Rebecca is a Programme Manager responsible for literature programmes in East Asia and the Market Focus partnership with The London Book Fair. Her specialisms include literature in translation, publishing and evaluation. In East Asia she has worked on seasons in Korea, Indonesia and Japan, and programmes involving short story writing in Myanmar, graphic novels in Korea and poetry in China amongst others.

After receiving a BA in History and English Literature from Queen’s University, Canada, Rebecca moved to the UK to study for an MA in History of International Relations from the London School of Economics where she focussed on cultural encounters between people from South Asia and Britain. After graduating, Rebecca worked at Foyles bookshops in London as a fiction specialist, Books Buyer and then as a Manager opening the shop in Westfield Stratford just before the London 2012 Olympics.


BC profile photo RK 3 Renata Karas

Renata joined the Literature team in October 2021 as a temporary re-assignment opportunity in the role of Literature Coordinator. She provides support for all aspects of British Council literature projects in the UK and overseas. 

  11.04.18 British council 39 SR squareSinead Russell

Sinéad Russell is Director Literature at the British Council as part of a job share with Rachel Stevens. Together they oversee our programme of work with writers and other literary professionals, building relationships between the reading, writing, translation, literature development and publishing communities in the UK and around the world. She has worked in the Literature team since 2004 and has developed literature programmes in countries around the world, from Brazil to Iraq to Myanmar. 

As Senior Literature programme Manager, she worked on projects with Europe and on major global programmes, including a partnership with the Hay Festival, the International Literature Showcase and the Drawing Words exhibition of children’s picture book illustration.  She has been a Trustee for spoken word organisation Apples & Snakes, and an Artistic Assessor for Arts Council England, and is also a BACP-registered therapeutic counsellor. Prior to the British Council, she read English Studies at the University of Durham, taught English as a Foreign Language in Japan, and worked for libraries in the London Borough of Hounslow.   

Rachel Stevens photo Feb 2026 Rachel Stevens

Rachel Stevens is Director Literature at the British Council, job sharing with Sinead Russell. Together they oversee the inclusion of contemporary British Literature and the UK literature sector within the British Council’s global programmes, and facilitate connections between the UK literature and publishing communities and their counterparts around the world.  Rachel has worked for the British Council since 2003 in a number of different roles, including at Counterpoint, the British Council’s cultural relations think-tank.  She has a special interest in literature in translation, and has worked on major literature programmes across the Middle East, South Asia, South America and Russia.  She was a Trustee for Modern Poetry in Translation and read English Literature-History of Art at the University of Leeds.  


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