Authors at a glance

In 2016, we attracted a fabulous array of authors and speakers to the Penzance Literary Festival. Click on ‘read more’ for a profile and featured books.

  • Adrian Rodda

    Adrian Rodda, a retired English teacher, reads his verses as part of the programme offered by the Cornish Folk music group, An Gof. He has also given talks to several Old Cornwall Societies and taken people on guided walks around the areas mentioned in the tales, offering readings en route. Adrian has been placed in […]
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  • Adriana McClary

    Adriana McClary
    Anna is a German national and has lived in St.Buryan now for more than 30 years. For near enough 40 years she has been married to a ‘Porthcurnow man’. She has always been fascinated with the history of Penwith and it was a natural process for her to become the The Tour Guide of Penzance Town
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  • Amanda Jennings

    Amanda Jennings writes psychological suspense and is the author of Sworn Secret, which was published in the UK, US and Italy. It was an Amazon kindle Top 5 bestseller in the UK, a Top 100 bestseller in the US, and reached the number 1 spot in Italy. Her second book, The Judas Scar, was published […]
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  • Andrew Lanyon

    Born 1947. Aged 11, Andrew won a camera in a comic competition but failed 11-plus. Worked for Stanley Kubrick and as assistant editor of Ambit Poetry Magazine. Winner of film, painting and book awards. Inventor of a character who discovers art is a visually transmitted virus and who isolates integrity, marketing it as a paste. ‘Lanyon […]
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  • Andrew Miller

    Andrew Miller was born in Bristol in 1960. He has lived in Spain, Japan, Ireland and France, and currently lives in Somerset. He is the author of six novels; his fiction has been translated into over 30 languages. His new novel is The Crossing. Set in the present day, he sees a blossoming relationship between […]
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  • Angela Stoner

    Angela Stoner is an experienced teacher, storyteller and writer.  She has been running creative writing workshops, courses and retreats since moving to Cornwall in 1998. Her work appears regularly in literary magazines and her two published books Once in a Blue Moon,(Fal publications, 2005) poetry Weight and Flight  (Oversteps books 2010) reflect her interest in […]
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  • Anne Taylor

    Anne Taylor is a writer, journalist, teacher and workshop facilitator. She co-tutors the online Introduction to Therapeutic and Reflective Writing course for the Professional Writing Academy ( and has a healthy interest in all things to do with medicine and literature – oh, and she loves throwing herself in the sea.
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  • Bert Biscoe

    Bert Biscoe and Pol Hodge are Cornishmen. Bert was brought up in Stithians and Pol in Troon. They met before the Cornish were on the census, or a national minority, before the World Heritage Site, and before Kernewek was protected by a Charter, and before Objective 1, the University and hi-speed broadband. They read and […]
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  • Bookshop Band

    The Bookshop Band
    Now in its sixth year, and with an ever-growing reputation, the Bookshop Band makes a welcome return to the Litfest with a new programme of songs inspired by books – some of them by authors appearing at this year’s event. Fans of the Band’s unique sound won’t want to miss this. And if you’re new […]
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  • Bridget Holding

    author photo
    Bridget Holding founded ‘Wild Words’ and ‘The Society of Writers-In-The-Wild’ in 2011. She is a writer and UKCP registered psychotherapist. She has been a tutor of creative writing for the Lifelong Learning Department of The University of Exeter
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  • Colin Stringer

    Colin Stringer was born in St. Ives but has come a long way since; all the way to Heamoor, via Huddersfield. After three successful shows at Gulval Mead, he moved up North to become a rock star in the all-Cornish, Anne Gwirder. Eighteen months and two unsuccessful shows later he moved back to Penzance and […]
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  • Colin Taylor

    Sergeant Colin Taylor has been in the police force for over 20 years. The last six years he has spent policing the Isles of Scilly where he lives with his family. He also runs the Isle of Scilly Police Facebook page where he regularly posts the dramatic events as they unfold on the Island. His comedic […]
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  • Des Hannigan

    Des Hannigan has been a journalist, travel writer, and photographer for over thirty years, first as a news reporter for Cornish newspapers and the Press Association and latterly as a writer for publishers such as Lonely Planet and AA Publishing. He has written and contributed to over fifty books about travel in a number of […]
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  • Duncan Yeates

    Duncan Yeates is a poet and academic. His work can be found in Wave Hub: New Poetry from Cornwall and his own limited edition poetry pamphlet series entitled  Lallocropia. Duncan is currently completing a PhD focusing on the work of the Camborne miner poet, John Harris.
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  • Gavin Knight

    Gavin Knight’s first book, Hood Rat, about gun and gang crime in the UK’s cities, was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and the Crime Writer’s Association Non-fiction Dagger in 2012. To research it, he spent two years with criminals, frontline police units and gang members from the inner cities of Britain. His work has appeared […]
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  • Gill McNeill

    Gill cropped
    Gill  has been teaching and directing Drama and Theatre in London and more recently Penzance for many years. After two Edinburgh Shows and major Community Theatre productions up country, she now leads the regular Acorn Accolades Adult Drama workshops on Tuesday mornings.
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  • Gray Lightfoot

    Gray Lightfoot… dreamer, poet, bus driver Gray is a performance poet who lives in Penzance. His job as a bus driver allows him to play with words in his head as he drives past bus stops full of angry, waving passengers. As the first Lightfoot of his bloodline to be born out of Cornwall for well […]
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  • Grevel Lindop

    Grevel Lindop
    Grevel Lindop lives in Manchester, where he was formerly Professor of English at the University. His books include Travels on the Dance Floor (a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and shortlisted for Authors’ Club Dolman Best Travel Book 2009); A Literary Guide to the Lake District (a Lakeland Book of the Year); and […]
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  • Jak Stringer

    Jak Stringer 7408 -® Jono Whitehead web res
    History Through the Looking Glass was set up in 2015 by two long-term residents of Penzance who love performance, love interesting places and love history. We bring you the history of West Cornwall as it might have been, using original sources – newspaper reports, journals and letters have all featured – but use our imaginations […]
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  • Jane Moss

    Jane Moss is an author and writing tutor who grew up in Cornwall and returned here, permanently, three years ago. One of her earliest memories is of being swept off her feet by a wave at Porthcurno. She survived and now runs The Writing Retreat near Lamorna Cove –
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  • John Crace

    John Crace is the Guardian’s parliamentary sketch writer and author of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. He writes the Digested Read for G2.
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  • John Martin

    John Martin is a former librarian and lifelong crime fiction reader. He spent 30 years working in public libraries before leaving Leicestershire Libraries in 2012. He was a member of the judging panel for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award from 2009-2012, and is a regular speaker on crime fiction. His first book, Crime Scene […]
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  • John Phillips

    John Phillips was born and presently lives in St. Ives. For many years, he lived in Slovenia. His most recent publication is Heretic. His other books include What Shape Sound and Language Is. His work has appeared in several anthologies, as well as many magazines in the U.K. and abroad.
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  • John Sutherland

    John Sutherland is the Lord Northcliffe Professor Emeritus of Modern English Literature at UCL, and has spent most of his academic career working up to that august post. ‘Emeritus’ is the Latin for ‘without merit’. John has written many books on many subjects (including Is Henry V a War Criminal—OUP) and most recently, Stars, Cars and Crystal Meth […]
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  • Julie Myerson

    Julie Myerson
    Julie Myerson is the author of Home: The Story of Everyone Who Ever Lived in Our House and nine novels, including the best-selling Something Might Happen, which was longlisted for the Booker Prize. In the words of the Observer, she ‘has a talent for making the unthinkable readable. The results are riveting.’
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  • Juliet Pickering

    Juliet Pickering is an agent at the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency. She worked for Waterstones as a fiction buyer before joining A P Watt in 2003, and become an Agent in 2007.  Juliet moved to Blake Friedmann in 2013
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  • Karen Sullivan

    Karen Sullivan is publisher of Orenda Books, a small independent founded in late 2014 to publish literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, about half in translation. Karen will discuss how and why she started Orenda Books, which was shortlisted for the IPG Nick Robinson Newcomer Award, the ideology behind the list, and the […]
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  • Katharine Norbury

    Katharine Norbury
    Katharine Norbury was abandoned as a baby in a Liverpool convent. Raised by loving adoptive parents, she grew into a wanderer, drawn by the landscape of the British countryside. One summer, following the miscarriage of a much-longed-for child, Katharine sets out – accompanied by her nine-year-old daughter, Evie – with the idea of following a […]
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  • Kathryn Aalto

    Kathryn Aalto is a writer, designer, historian and lecturer. For the past twenty-five years, her focus has been on places where nature and culture intersect: teaching literature of nature and place, designing gardens, and writing about the natural world.  She is the author of The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired […]
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  • Katrina Naomi

    Katrina Naomi
    Katrina Naomi’s poetry has appeared in The TLS, The Spectator and The Poetry Review, and has been broadcast on Radio 4. Her second collection, The Way the Crocodile Taught Me, has just been published by Seren (2016), following the pamphlet Hooligans, (Rack Press, 2015). Previous publications include: The Girl with the Cactus Handshake (Templar Poetry), […]
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  • Laurie Garrison

    Lauie Garrison has had successful careers in two disparate fields: lecturing in Victorian literature and digital marketing. She now combines her expertise from both these fields to help writers use the online world to complete, publish and promote their books
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  • Lisa Woollett

    Lisa Woollett 2
    After a degree in psychology Lisa studied documentary photography at Newport School of Art. She then worked as a freelance photographer for 12 years – past clients include The Independent on Sunday, Barnardos, The Daily Telegraph, The Observer and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
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  • Livia Morant

    Livia Morant will understudy Rose-Mary Harrington’s readings of The Ivy House Diary. Livia has been involved in amateur drama in the area for many years and is currently an active member of the St. Peter’s Players, Newlyn.
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  • Lucy Cooper

    Lucy Cooper is a writer with a love of folklore, fairy tales and mythology. She grew up in the wilds of West Penwith. Her fascination with tales from cultures around the world has taken her from the temples of China to the back roads of Bulgaria, and lots of places in between. She is the […]
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  • Luke Thompson

    Dr Luke Thompson is a writer and editor from mid-Cornwall. This year, he publishes a debut pamphlet of poetry, the clearing (Atlantic Press), a full-length biography of Cornish poet Jack Clemo, Clay Phoenix (Ally Press), and a sequence of illustrated short fiction (Guillemot Press). Early 2017, his non-fiction work A Noctuary will be published by […]
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  • M J Logue

    Writer, mad cat lady, re-enactor, and 17th century historian. Been slightly potty about the clankier side of Ironside for around 20 years, and lists amongst her heroes in this unworthy world Sir Thomas Fairfax, Elizabeth Cromwell and the revenge playwright John Webster (for his sense of humour.) When not purveying historically-accurate cake to various re-enactment […]
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  • Martin Banks

    Martin trained at the New College of Speech and Drama and then gained an MA in Theatre Studies at Warwick University. He has worked as a professional actor, director, administrator, lecturer and examiner. His best selling book, The Mysterious Loss of the Darlwyne : A Cornish Holiday Tragedy, has been the subject of both ITV and […]
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  • MCMC Spoken

    Since leaving University, MCMC Spoken has gone from strength to strength, carving out her reputation as a poet, working with local producers and rappers to make hip hop tracks, hone here freestyling skills and perform at spoken word gigs both locally and across the UK and Europe. Her love of poetry has led her to […]
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  • Michael Smith

    Michael Smith is an authority on Polar exploration who has written nine books, appeared in TV and radio documentaries and lectured at many literary festivals and other prestigious venues, including:  The Queen’s Gallery Buckingham Palace, Royal Geographical Society, National Library of Ireland, National Museum of Ireland, Princess Grace Memorial Library Monaco, Queen’s University Belfast, the […]
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  • Mike Sagar-Fenton

    Mike Sagar-Fenton
    Mike Sagar-Fenton was born and bred here in Penzance. He is a regular columnist in the local press, author of eight published books on local themes, and also spent four years as director of Penzance’s Golowan Festival. He combined his love of writing and theatre by having his satirical play The Rise and Fall of […]
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  • Patrick Barkham

    Patrick Barkham
    Patrick Barkham was born in 1975 in Norfolk and was educated at Cambridge University. He is a Natural History writer for the Guardian where he has worked for the last 10 years, reporting on everything from the Iraq War to climate change. His first book, The Butterfly Isles, was shortlisted for the 2011 Royal Society […]
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  • Penzance Local History Group

    Formed in 1990, PLHG is a friendly group with a serious intent: we research and write up local history. We use old documents, oral history, books in and out of print, and investigate the landscape. Our books so far have included In and around Penzance during Napoleonic Times, Treasures of the Morrab based on Morrab […]
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  • Pol Hodge

    Bert Biscoe and Pol Hodge are Cornishmen. Bert was brought up in Stithians and Pol in Troon. They met before the Cornish were on the census, or a national minority, before the World Heritage Site, and before Kernewek was protected by a Charter, and before Objective 1, the University and hi-speed broadband. They read and write […]
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  • Rachel Joyce

    Rachel Joyce
    Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and has been translated into 34 languages. Rachel […]
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  • Rachel Lambert

    Rachel Lambert is a forager, wild food guide and author. Based in Penzance, she has been teaching foraging since 2007 and is passionate about sharing these skills and edible de-lights with others. She is the author of the sell out book; Wild Food Foraging in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (2015) and her new […]
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  • Raymond Tallis

    Raymond Tallis
    Raymond Tallis is a philosopher, poet, novelist and cultural critic, and a retired physician and clinical neuroscientist. For the last decade Tallis has been a full-time writer. He has published fiction, poetry, and 25  books on the philosophy of mind, philosophical anthropology, literary and cultural criticism. His most recent book –  The Black Mirror. Fragments […]
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  • Robin Lenman

    Until his retirement in 2003, Robin was Senior Lecturer in History at Warwick University, specialising in German and European political and cultural history and publishing on the German 19th-century art world. He was commissioned to compile the Oxford Companion to the Photograph after his interests turned to photographic history. Robin has lived in Penzance since 2000, and in 2008 […]
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  • Sarah Turner

    Sarah Turner lives in Devon with her husband and their two boys. She has written for The Telegraph, The Daily Mirror, MumsNet,, The Huffington Post, and has a regular column for Exeter Life. She won awards for Best Writer and Best Baby Blog at the MAD Awards 2015.
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  • Seth Hampshire

    I’m a beat poet, well that’s one defenition. When I was at university I quietly started writing poetry, but always for myself. For one of my project I was meant to hand in a book with images and text in but instead I handed in a book with a CD in the cover. The photographs in the […]
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  • Sophie Buchan

    Sophie Buchan, Senior Commissioning Editor at Weidenfeld & Nicolson Fiction  
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  • Spokes

    Spokes was originally set up by three creative writing students from Falmouth University. Their monthly nights at Penryn Town Hall have been drawing large audiences who are treated to a diverse range of material from storytelling, poetry, spleen venting, music and even the occasional interpretive dance.
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  • Steph Haxton

    An historian specialising in 16th and 17th century British history and Cornish history in particular, Steph Haxton lives near Penzance. She has been a teacher, living history consultant, heritage education manager and is a lapsed re-enactor. Add a Tudor castle as one of her workplaces, and you have the ‘ingredients’ of this author!
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  • Sue Kittow

    Sue Kittow lives in Falmouth and is the author of three unusual books on Cornish walks. She is a well known journalist, having interviewed the likes of Bill Bryson, Patrick Gale, Lionel Shriver, Ian Rankin, and Rosamunde Pilcher. Sue is also a columnist, sailing correspondent, a published poet and a singer. Her connection to West […]
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  • Tom Stockley

    Tom Stockley is an organiser, performer, writer, designer and occasional statue based in the South West. Informed by a century of counter-culture, his practice is parasitic and flirts with the humour, beauty and sadness of every day life by any means necessary (including spoken word as t.s. idiot, video based collaborations and DIY venue Space 37). Among his influences […]
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  • Wyl Menmuir

    Wyl Menmuir
    Wyl Menmuir was born in 1979 in Stockport. He lives on the north coast of Cornwall with his wife and two children and works as a freelance editor and literacy consultant and is also writer in residence at Richard Lander School, Truro. When he’s not writing, you’ll find him out on the water or up […]
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