Our Team

With over 100 years of collective experience, our friendly team of teaching artists are here to provide excellent bespoke workshops.

John Stoddart

Co Founder/Director

John is an entrepreneur and writer who has been chairperson of Edinburgh Literary Salon facilitating and mentoring poets, writers and promoting their various events. Camena brings together his understanding of the benefits of arts-based work with his knowledge of the challenges facing the business world and education. He is a believer in a holistic approach to development and wellbeing; and the significant benefits engagement with poetry can bring to all aspects of life and business. 

Anita Govan

Co-Founder/Director, Lead Tutor

Anita Govan is the co-founder and director of Camena Ltd. She is a pioneering performance poet and visionary Teaching Artist. She co-founded the Scottish Youth Poetry Slam and functioned as the Stirling Makar from 2012-15. She is trained in theatre and in dance. She uses her wide, holistic set of skills as a community drama facilitator, where she has successfully developed various projects and events. Her collections of poems, Jane, was published by Luath Press. Anita subsequently developed her creative practice using poetry and performance at Edinburgh Acting School. During her time as a teaching artist at this institution, she discovered the transformative impact that poetry and performance could have. Anita trained under Keith Johnstone in Canada, returning to Scotland to integrate this practice and philosophy into her teaching practice. She has worked with Amnesty International, Scottish Heritage, Stirling University, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, Aberdeen Creative Learning Team and the Wellcome Trust.

“Delivered with heart, conviction and the insight that comes from years of valuable experience in the subject”

Blythe Robertson


Blythe Robertson works extensively across the public and creative sectors. His work on the global promotion of the arts includes stints with The Istanbul Review and The Bridge Awards, as well as projects such as Echoes of the City, which geo-located new creative works associated with unique places across Edinburgh city centre. He has been a partner of Book Week Scotland and Robert Louis Stevenson Day through his silent reading social event, Hush Hour. He was one of the Scottish Book Trust’s “Bookfellas”, a project which sought to reverse worrying trends in men not reading creative fiction. He led the Scottish Government’s internationally acclaimed work on health literacy. He made presentations with the United Nations Population Fund, the World Health Organization, and to conference audiences across the UK and Europe.

“Creative writing powerhouse in Stirling and beyond, as well as all-round friendly whirlwind of positive energy”

Dr Chris Powici — Poet, University Tutor, Literary Editor

Laura Fyfe


Laura Fyfe lives in central Scotland and is the current Stirling Makar. An education professional with an M.Ed in Educational Enquiry, she has taught in schools for nearly twenty years, facilitated writing workshops for ten and leads  RespectMe anti-bullying workshops for professionals. She writes poetry, fiction and non-fiction and mentors writers. A leading voice in writing communities across Scotland, she is a member of the Board of the Scottish Poetry Library and a Director of the Scottish Writers’ Centre. Her non-fiction books, Wellspring and Magpie Mind help people defeat procrastination and live more creative lives.

“He has a natural way of making folk feel comfortable in his company. This is ideal for encouraging and developing those who attend his workshops to explore their potential” Jennifer Harley

Chair of the Federation of Writers (Scotland)

Charlie Gracie


Charlie Gracie is a poet and prose writer. He is experienced in learning and organisational development. He To Live With What You Are was published with Postbox Press in 2019. He has authored two poetry collections: Good Morning (Diehard Press, 2010) and Tales from the Dartry Mountains (Diehard Press, 2020). He is the 2020 official Scriever for the Federation of Writers (Scotland). He is also Chair of the Scottish Writers’ Centre, and an experienced workshop facilitator. Charlie is a social work Practice Educator and has worked with the Universities of Stirling and Strathclyde. He has developed and delivered training for organisations in the statutory and voluntary sectors.

Jacob Sam La-Rose


Jacob Sam-La Rose has authored Breaking Silence (Press, year), which is currently studied at the ‘A’ level in school curriculums. His writing has been translated into Portuguese, Latvian, French and Dutch. His work as an artistic director, editor and educator focuses on young people, teachers, emerging poets and those who are generally invested in creative expression. For over twenty years, Sam-La Rose has devised and delivered poetry programmes independently as well as in partnership with institutions and agencies, nationally and internationally. Sam-La Rose is a poetry professor at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and poet-in-residence for English Heritage. He is director at the Barbican Young Poets programme.

“When you step into one of Jacob’s workshops everyone in that room becomes equal and that feeling is sustained and maintained by Jacob’s universal love for poetry.”

Deborah Stevenson

Tawona Sithole


Better known as Ganyamatope (his family name) is currently UNESCO artist-in-residence at the University of Glasgow, with research and teaching roles in the school of education and medical school. He holds other roles with Glasgow School of Art, University of the West of Scotland, University of Stirling, Newcastle University, and Scottish Book Trust.  His heritage inspires him to make connections with people through creative modes of teaching/pedagogy. He is widely published as a poet and playwright, and short story author. Tawona has co-founded Seeds of Thought, an independent arts collaborative.


“Tawona made us all forget that we were on zoom. This is absolutely a testament to the trust he developed with all the participants and how enjoyable each session was.”

Allan Othiello — poetry mentee