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  Hilda Sims


Hylda Sims has been with Write Anglemany times but no matter how often, she's still 'a regular' on the 'wanted' list!

“There’s no line between poetry and people, poetry and politics, poetry and song', says our special October guest performer, whose words and music make us want to rhyme, sing, laugh and weep. She helps us remember ‘who we are, how we were …’

As the 'love child of itinerant, communist, market traders, Hylda was educated at Neill’s (truly ‘free’) school, Summmerhill. When she was a teenager, Ivor Cutler bought her a guitar. She's been singing and performing around the coffee bars of Soho, ever since - with the City Ramblers Skiffle Group in Soho’s Skiffle Cellar, on TV and radio and even in Moscow. She also does solo singing around the folk clubs and as resident ‘Elizabethan minstrel’ in the Elizabethan Rooms. Kensington.

Hylda writes poetry, novels. She's written three so far, as well as two poetry collections, and songs (Songs she hopes will make people laugh). Her poetry has appeared in many poetry collections and magazines.

Her book, 'Inspecting the Island', based on the school she had the good fortune to attend, was published by an imprint of LibEd who specialise in alternative education. – Summerhill doesn't believe in forcing children to go to class if they don't want to. Neill believed if children wanted to learn, they could get more in a few months than in four years of 'forced' learning. Her narrative poetry sequence, 'Reaching Peckham', was set to music, performed at Dulwich Festival and on the London fringe and published in pamphlet & tape form.

Hylda's been a folksinger, teacher, communard, landlady and single parent. She also taught English in London and Spain, table tennis to kids in London, founded and lived in a community on the South Yorkshire Moors and received a BA and an Msc in Russian studies from Hull University and the LSE.

She gigs at many Festivals and has been seen at most venues in the London area, while co-running a poetry and live music event at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden. She has a wide experience of performing both musically and poetically. She co-ran Poetry & Jazz every Saturday at the Poetry Café in London’s Covent Garden, with Jo Roach, on behalf of the Poetry School. Before that she ran, with Wendy French and Peter Hore, the Dulwich International Poetry Competition.

Hylda's philosophy of poetry?

'I'm unable to come up with a philosophy or point of view. Personally I seem to prefer writing about ‘out there’ rather than ‘in here’. Feely gets a lot of space these days, but poor old Thinky doesn’t do so well. I’d like to change that. Since the appalling consequences of the New York bombings in 2001 it seems even more important to write thoughtfully about ‘out there’, but it’s not at all easy to do so.


'Wow! Fantastic!'after my gig there.' (Ivy House Community Pub manager, Harry)

'Hylda makes us want to rhyme, to sing, to laugh and weep. You can't just read Hylda. You have to join in. And at the end you can't help but cheer.' (Mimi Khalvati)

'Hylda has a natural charm and confidence that make people want to listen.' (Petersfield Herald)


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