Authors at a glance

In 2018, we attracted a fabulous array of authors and speakers to the Penzance Literary Festival. Click on ‘read more’ for a profile.

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Jenny Alexander

‘Bean’ David Bottomley

David, aka Bean, is autistic, dyslexic and non-binary gendered. Last year, while lying on a bed in casualty following a nasty traffic accident, he was diagnosed with life-limiting (terminal) renal cancer. His mental wiring is such that he doesn’t think in words or pictures, but in ideas, patterns and concepts. This makes him excellent at […]

Tim Brown

My first writing experience began with a job move from Cornwall to Salisbury Plain in 2006, and learning that the area is not only famous for its ancient stones but that it was a key staring point in the story of aviation history in Britain. An Air Traffic Control Officer for most of my working […]

Natasha Carthew

Natasha Carthew has been published previously as a poet and young adult writer and her books have been nominated for the Carnegie Award and shortlisted for several national awards including the Branford Boase. Born and raised in Cornwall, she lives on the coast with her girlfriend of twenty-two years and spends most of her time […]

Peter Clark

Dr Peter Clark OBE is a writer, translator and a travel and cultural consultant. He has known, travelled, worked and lived in the Middle East for over 50 years, has translated eight books from the Arabic, and written and edited more than a dozen other books. An authority of the culture of all countries of […]

Keri Davies

Keri Davies tumbled accidentally into the fictional village of Ambridge in 1992. He has worked on The Archers as a producer, senior producer and web producer. Since 2003, he has been an Archers scriptwriter. Keri has directed over 700 episodes, including the notorious armed raid on the village shop. He has written over 300 Archers […]

Mary Druce

Mary Druce lives in Mullion with her husband Rob and greyhound Patsy. She has a keen sense of the ridiculous, and loves to write quirky poetry. She has won prizes for her work, and has published a book of poems.

Elizabeth Ducie

When Elizabeth Ducie had been working in the international pharmaceutical industry for nearly thirty years, she decided she’d like to take a break from technical writing—text books, articles and training modules—and write about some of her travel experiences instead. She took some courses in Creative Writing and discovered to her surprise that she was happier, […]

Kim Durham

The character he plays in radio soap ‘The Archers’, Matt Crawford, may talk like a cockney spiv made good but Kim Durham grew up in a well-heeled area of Surrey. He trained initially as a teacher before becoming interested in fringe theatre and touring with a small company around the Netherlands. Stage work since has […]

Iestyn Edwards

West End and international headliner Iestyn has performed privately for all the senior members of the British Royal Family. He is writer and presenter of Channel 4’s ‘Madame Galina’s Whirlwind Guide to Ballet’, and former principal with British Youth Opera. Iestyn has also appeared as Pantomime Dame, at the special invitation of Dougie Squires. His […]

Johanna Egar

Johanna Egar is an actor, theatre director, teacher, storyteller and emerging writer. She moved from Lancashire five years ago, kicked off her clogs and dipped her toes in the Cornish literary scene, where recent performances of her work have been popular at various festivals and events around the SouthWest.

Felicity Finch

Felicity Finch was born in Teesside, England. She is an actress, known for Murder in Belgravia: The Lucan Affair (1994), The Sculptress (1996) and Bleak House (1985). She is also known as the voice of Ruth Archer in The Archers.  

Marie Godin and Mo Akadream

Marie Godin and author Mohammed Omer (A.K.A. Mo Akadream) will be representing Pluto Press, a radical political publishing house. Founded in 1969, Pluto Press is one of Britain’s oldest radical publishers, but their focus remains making timely interventions in contemporary struggles. Though their collective outlook has developed over time, they proudly identify as anti-capitalist, internationalist […]

Simon Grennan

Simon Grennan is one of today’s most exciting comics artists and scholars of comics. He has pioneered the practical art of comics as social history and biography and undertaken groundbreaking new work in adaptation and in the very earliest history of British comics. His last graphic novel was one of The Guardian Books of the […]

Robin Hanbury-Tenison

Although he is now Cornwall-based, explorer Robin Hanbury-Tenison OBE has undertaken a breath-taking range of journeys since his first round-the-world trip in 1957. His adventures have included Saharan camel treks, driving cattle across Spain and film-making in Sarawak. Robin has also been Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Cornwall, co-founded (and been President of) Survival […]

Adam Hart-Davis

Adam Hart-Davis is a freelance writer and lecturer–former presenter on television of Local Heroes, Tomorrow’s World, What the Romans (and others) Did for Us, How London was Built and many other series. He has collected awards for both television and radio, as well as four medals and 14 honorary doctorates. He has read several books, […]

Chris Higgins

Chris Higgins was born and bred in South Wales but has a Cornish grandfather and has lived in west Cornwall for the past 40 years. She taught English at various local schools including Penwith College, Humphry Davy and St Ives Secondary and has worked at the Minack Theatre. Nowadays, when she is not spending time […]

Alan Hines

Birte Hosken

I was born and grew up in North Germany. In 1989 I came to Penzance as part of a twinning exchange group and during that first visit to Cornwall I met my husband. For many years I supplied articles about all kinds of news and events in West Cornwall and beyond to the daily newspaper […]

Liz Hurley

Liz is a successful self-published author who has done two collections of lifestyle columns, a History of Mevagissey and a collection of walking guides. She will share her experiences of the steps and the marketing involved in self-publishing. Liz has run Hurley Books, with her husband Steve, in Mevagissey for nearly 20 years.  

John Daniel Players

The John Daniel Centre is a day centre for adults with learning and related disabilities. We involve a diverse group of members and start planning and rehearsing in January. We have found that these performances help boost confidence and teamwork as well as being great fun. Three reasons why: It’s a great motivator for both […]

Patricia Le Gallez

Patricia Le Gallez – I was born into an Anglo/Italian family in  Leeds just before WWII. Then at the age of 19, I took a train to Penzance and almost on impulse decided to swap the industrial North for the Cornish way of life. Once here I commenced training as a nurse, at the West […]

Robert Lock

Began a degree in Applied Biology but decided science wasn’t for me. Worked in Paris as a washer-up, a tour director taking US students round Europe, then began freelance photography and finally work on newspapers, though I continued to write as well and gathered a selection of complimentary rejection letters. Sent the manuscript of my […]

T M Logan

TM Logan was born in Berkshire to an English father and a German mother. He studied at Queen Mary and Cardiff universities before becoming a national newspaper journalist. He currently works in communications, in the field of higher education, and lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children. T.M. Logan’s debut thriller Lies was […]

Ken McKechnie

I am a geologist turned novelist. After 35 years exploring some of the remotest regions of the world, mining metals, gold and diamonds,I took up writing, my inspiration the extraordinary men and women I worked with around the world.

Denise McSheehy

Denise McSheehy͛s prize-winning first collection Salt was published by the Poetry Can. She received an Arts Council bursary for the development of work in progress and her poems have appeared in many magazines and been successful in major poetry competitions. Two recent important anthologies, Her Wings of Glass and The Book of Love & Loss, […]

Mandy Morton

Mandy Morton was born in Suffolk, and pursued a successful music recording career before joining the BBC to produce and present arts-based programmes. More recently, Mandy co-presents The Eclectic Light Show on Cambridge 105 Radio. Magical Mystery Paws, the sixth book in the No. 2 Feline Detective Agency series, is published in July. For the […]

Noel O’Reilly

Noel was a student on the New Writing South Advanced writing course, led by the writers Susannah Waters and Catherine Smith. He is a journalist and editor at the international firm RBI. Noel plays the saxophone and has written stage musicals that were performed by an amateur theatre company in London and Holland. His first […]

Beth Sagar-Fenton

Beth is a journalist/radio producer living in Penzance and her writing is currently confined to radio scripts mostly for the BBC. Beth admits to often getting imposter syndrome when phoning people and telling them she’s from the BBC.

Michael Pennington

Michael Pennington is an Honorary Associate Artist of the RSC and a founding Artistic Director of the English Shakespeare Company. He has played any of the great classical roles, most recently King Lear in New York and on a UK Tour. Other theatre work includes the title roles in  numerous Shakespeare plays and leading parts […]

The Penzance Stanza

M. J. Oliver’s first collection of poetry was recently awarded 2nd prize by New Welsh Writing. Her poems have appeared in many periodicals and anthologies in UK and US; five have been set to music by Cornish composer, Judith Bailey. Prizes won include those judged by Paul Muldoon and Ruth Padel. She edits Piccolina, a […]

Cathy Rentzenbrink and Nina Stibbe

Cathy Rentzenbrink is the author of The Last Act of Love and A Manual for Heartache and is currently working on a novel and a book about books. Cathy regularly chairs literary events, judges prizes, interviews authors, reviews books and runs writing workshops and thinks that most lives would be enriched by more reading and […]

Peter Sjöstedt-H

Peter Sjöstedt-H was brought up near Penzance (in Pendeen), and has returned after a decade-long sojourn in the capital. Peter is an Anglo-Scandinavian philosopher of mind and a metaphysician who specialises in the thought of Whitehead, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, with special regard to panpsychism and altered states of sentience. Peter received a Bachelor’s degree in […]

Zeb Soanes

Zeb Soanes is a familiar and trusted voice to millions.  He is a BBC Radio 4 Newsreader for those who wake up to The Today Programme and puts the nation to bed with The Shipping Forecast.  On television he has presented the Proms and performs with orchestras throughout the UK, narrating popular works for children, including Peter and the Wolf, The […]

Susan Soyinka

Susan Soyinka has worked as a teacher, lecturer and researcher, spending ten years of her early career in West Africa. On her return to England, she retrained as an educational psychologist, and after discovering her Jewish roots, worked for nine years in the Jewish community in London. Retirement has given her the time and energy […]

Lydia Syson

Lydia Syson’s first book was a biography of the eighteenth-century fertility guru, James Graham, who was known as the Electric Doctor.  She has since written three critically acclaimed historical novels for young adults, each in some way inspired by the radical backgrounds of earlier generations of her family. With Mr Peacock’s Possessions, her adult fiction […]

David Taylor

In a long career as an investigative journalist David Taylor has always shown a keen eye for a good story. Reporting for BBC Panorama and World in Action he fronted ground-breaking exposes on political and police corruption, sanction busting intrigues, gangland killings and the nuclear threat. Now, as a novelist, he tells an equally compelling […]


Telltales is a night for writers, readers and listeners in Falmouth. Originally set up by Clare Howdle, Telltales is now run by the writing community itself, with regular reading nights taking place in Falmouth and beyond.

Third Knock Theatre

Paul Attmere has worked with theatre companies across the UK and Europe. He now lives and works in Lithuania. This is his first solo performance.

Emma Timpany

Emma Timpany was born in New Zealand and has lived in Cornwall for the last seventeen years. Her publications include the novella Travelling in the Dark (Fairlight Books 2018) and the short story collection The Lost of Syros. She is co-editor of Cornish Short Stories: A Collection of Contemporary Cornish Writing. Emma has won short […]

Nicola Upson

Nicola Upson was born in Suffolk and read English at Downing College, Cambridge. She has worked in theatre and as a freelance journalist, and is the author of two works of non-fiction. Her series of detective novels featuring Josephine Tey began with An Expert in Murder, and has been described as ‘historical crime fiction at […]

Dew Vardh and guests

Bert Biscoe – Cornish poet, politician, songwriter – Trurra Pol Hodge – Cornish linguist and dialectician, teacher, translator, performer – St Agnes Megan Chapman – Poet, rap artist – Story Republican – Falmouth Des Hannigan – poet, climber, travel writer, fisherman, zawn explorer – Morvah Johanna Egar – actor, theatre director, teacher, storyteller and emerging […]

David Whittaker

David Whittaker was born & bred in Ireland. He is a bookseller, publisher (Wavestone Press) photographer and independent researcher living in rural Oxfordshire. David has published nine books, several of which are Cornish related – including Tony O’Malley: An Irish Artist in Cornwall and Give Me Your Painting Hand: W S Graham and Cornwall, which […]

Sarah Winman

Sarah Winman was an actress, working in theatre in her twenties and early thirties but by 1992 she says she ‘started having my own words’ and turned away from other people’s scripts and realised she wanted to write a novel. It would be another 20 years until that novel was written and published. She wrote […]

Raynor Winn

Since completing the South West Coastal Path, Raynor Winn has become a regular long-distance walker and writes about nature, homelessness and wild camping. She now lives in Cornwall with her husband Moth and their dog, Monty. The Salt Path is her first book and is a Sunday Times bestseller.

David Young

David Young was a journalist for more than 25 years with BBC World radio and TV. Now a full-time author, his debut novel Stasi Child, reached the Top 20 of the Bookseller’s Fiction chart and was a top five e-book bestseller. The novel won the 2016 CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger and was longlisted for the […]