Guests / J

Meet all our On Home Ground guests

Jean Bleakney

Poet Jean Bleakney (née Kerr) was born in Newry in 1956. She studied biochemistry at Queen’s University Belfast and worked in medical research for eight years. Having exhausted the appropriate section of the local library, she discovered, a few stacks along, Wendy Cope’s Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis. Interest piqued, she began putting words together and, in 1993, she started attending the weekly writing workshop at Queen’s. Her first collection of poems, The Ripple Tank Experiment, was published in 1999, followed by The Poet’s Ivy (2003) and ions (2011). Her poems have appeared in various magazines including Poetry Ireland Review, The Rialto, THE SHOp, Metre, TLS and The Yellow Nib. Also online at several sites including Poetry Proper Vol, 2 , Poetry International and From The Fishouse.

Jim Bradley

Gardening expert Jim is a well known local gardening expert and has been involved with BBC Northern Ireland gardening programmes for the past 30 years. Jim's pedigree is impressive as his ancestor is the famous 19th century plant hunter, Augustine Henry, who brought a range of plants such as clematis and honeysuckle from China to Europe. Downing his spade and lifting his pen Jim is a well know writer and commentator on 'Green Industry' matters in the USA. He is an established presenter for the American Nursery and Landscape Institute, Garden Centers of America and the Independent Garden Centre Association on garden centre issues He is also a regular contributor to 'Garden Chic' a specialist garden centre magazine.

Joel Simon

Animator Joel is originally from Belgium, where he studied fine arts at the Royal Academy in Liège and later Design in England, where he discovered the joys of claymation. This enlightening experience turned into a passion for animation, spending his first two years after college creating Ciderpunks, a multi-award winning animated mockumentary. Establishing Flickerpix Animation Studios in Belfast in 2003, Joel has directed animated programmes for clients such as Comic Relief, CBBC, Channel 4 and Sesame Workshop USA. For BBCNI, Joel directed the comedy series On The Air, based on real radio phone-ins from the BBC’s Gerry Anderson Show. With the Flickerpix team, he has worked on numerous animated TV commercials, and award winning shorts, such as MACROPOLIS and Horn OK Please, which screened in over 100 festivals and has won 16 international film awards to date.

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