Penzance Literary Festival became a registered charity in July 2016. Our public record is available to view at the Charity Commission website.

Our trustees

Paul Hunter



Having worked for 35 years in the building materials industry in a variety of senior operational and commercial roles, I was able to take early retirement 2 years ago. This allowed a move to Penzance where I have had links for over 25 years.

I am a Trustee Director for a large £3bn pension scheme representing 35k members for the last 5 years and chair the Defined Contributions committee.

As a lifelong devotee of the arts in all forms, I am pleased to have the opportunity to promote the Penzance Litfest and ensure its future success. I also help with other organisations such as the Penlee Gallery, Morrab Library and the West Cornwall Decorative and Fine Arts Society.

Robin Knight



Prior to my retirement from 40+ years as a Biomedical Scientist I was the National Head of the NHS Blood & Transplant Red Cell Immunohaematology Reference Services, with responsibility for a budget of £10 million, a staff of 230 working in ten different laboratories across England.

During my career I played an active role in three professional bodies that included organising national and international scientific meetings. I have published 24 peer reviewed scientific papers and co-authored and edited five text books, two of which were published by the World Health Organisation.

Since my retirement from the NHS I continued for a further five years to act as a Scientific Consultant to the Malawi Blood Transfusion Service and still act as an advisor to a community development organisation working on the Kachin-China border in northern Myanmar. I am now devoting more time to local activities as a volunteer for two environmental groups, trying to write more creatively and for the Penzance Litfest.

Linda Camidge

Linda Camidge


Linda enjoyed a teaching career, including 27 years as Head of English at Mullion School, before retiring in 2014. Since then she has worked as a writer and performer. Linda contributed a chapter to the recent Penwith Local History Group book Women of West Cornwall and is working on her own book about aspects of the history of Penzance. She co-founded History Through the Looking Glass, which has staged a number of productions locally, notably the Dylan Thomas in Cornwall walks and indoor shows; Linda co-wrote and co-performs in all of these shows. She also has a leading role in local writing forums Sunday Speakeasy and Writers Cafe, is an active member of the local folk music community, and volunteers regularly at the Acorn Arts Centre. Linda has a PhD in 15th century cultural history and is currently treasurer of the Literary Festival.

Teresa Benison

Teresa Benison

Teresa began her career in the antiques trade as an auctioneer then as a dealer working the London trade markets of Bermondsey and Portobello – but after a few years she gave it all up to focus on her writing. At the same time she embarked on an Open University degree. Graduation coincided with the publication of her first novel, A Rational Man to be followed by The Arrogance of Women (Random House). Since then she has taught creative writing for the University of Cambridge and, having moved to Cornwall to refocus on her writing, she founded Penzance Writers’ Café and became involved with the running of the Penzance Literary Festival, with a particular interest in developing the Creative Writing and Publishing strands.

Kay Driver

Currently Director, Mill House Consultancy: Governor, The Duchy College: Member Cornwall Countryside Access Forum, Penwith Organic Growers Group, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Honorary Treasurer of Tiny Soul and Volunteer at the National Trust Visitor Centre, Penzance.

Formerly led 3 national charities, appointed Advisor to Ministers in Westminster and Scottish Parliaments and elected Honorary Treasurer to Eurogroup for Animals (Brussels) with service as a Trustee with The Teaching Awards Trust and Independent Director of a Health Authority.

Interests – literature, politics, cinema / theatre, family, horses, farming.

Tim Hannigan

Tim Hannigan

Tim Hannigan is a freelance author and travel journalist.

He was born in Penzance in Cornwall in the far west of the United Kingdom and specialises in writing about Indonesia and the Indian Subcontinent. He has contributed features and images to various newspapers and magazines in Asia, the Middle East and the UK.

Tim formerly worked as a professional chef, before studying journalism at the University of Gloucestershire. He is the author of two books: Murder in the Hindu Kush (The History Press, 2011), which was shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Prize, and Raffles and the British Invasion of Java (Monsoon Books, 2012) which won the 2013 John Brooks Award. He is also the author of an academic essay on travel journalism in Specialist Journalism (Routledge, 2012), and has worked on guidebooks to Nepal and Cornwall.

John Pestle

A trainer and employment relations person by trade now operating on a freelance basis. I have lots of experience of working for different types of festivals in various capacities and have been part of the organising team of the Penzance Literary Festival for around five years. I am also a local community radio presenter and community correspondent mainly concentrating on social and cultural issues.

Spencer Smart


Born in Suffolk in 1966, Spencer Smart has worked as a technical author and marketing consultant since the late 1980s. He has written and published four books and republished Crosbie Garstin’s Penhale trilogy. Spencer has been involved with the Penzance Literary Festival since the 2015 event.

Rachel Viney

Rachel Viney

Rachel’s first full-time job was as Publicity Manager for an independent London publishing house. Stints at the BBC and in commercial radio were followed by a move into TV as a policy executive at the Independent Television Commission (ITC). Rachel went on to study for an MA in European Cultural Policy and Arts Management at Warwick University and work for herself as an independent media consultant – something she still does today. She’s also been a partner in a publishing business, producing publications for international photojournalists. Rachel has written widely on media and cultural topics, and is the author of two books about broadcasting.