Authors at a glance

In 2019, we attracted a fabulous array of authors and speakers to the Penzance Literary Festival. Click on ‘read more’ for a profile.

Adrian Rodda and An Gof

Adrian Rodda interprets Cornish history and folklore through his verse. He has performed at festivals and open mic sessions and leads guided walks in Penwith to present his verses in their original inspirational landscapes. The eight musicians, who form the band An Gof, are from a variety of backgrounds but came together through a shared […]

Matt Watts

Matt grew up in Newlyn, before moving away at 21 to study a degree in Forestry & Conservation in Inverness. He worked as a countryside ranger for four years in the Outer Hebrides, then in a similar role for the Hertfordshire Council, before returning “home” to Penwith to take up his current job as Access […]

Sue Ellery-Hill

Sue was born in Penzance in Cornwall to Brenda and John Wootton, and grew up with strong Cornish roots and influences. She only returned to creative writing in recent years, publishing a book of Brenda’s poetry, Pantomime Stew, and another containing probably the largest ever collection of Collective Nouns, Gallimaufry. In 2018, Sue was awarded […]

Will Coleman

Will calls himself a ‘cultural entrepreneur’ – author, film-maker, musician, director, performer and educational consultant. He is Artistic Director of Golden Tree Productions – delivering highest-quality cultural projects celebrating the distinctiveness and diversity of Cornwall. Yes, he is “that Man Engine bloke”.

Kate Clanchy

Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1965, poet Kate Clanchy was educated in Edinburgh and Oxford. She lived in London’s East End for several years, before moving to Oxford where she now works as a teacher, journalist and freelance writer. She is a regular contributor to The Guardian newspaper and teaches Creative Writing at the Arvon […]

Hanna Jameson

Hanna wrote her first novel at the age of seventeen. After travelling the USA, Hanna developed a particular fascination with the country which led to her studying for a BA in American History. She’s incredibly tuned in to the political climate in the US, particularly in recent years, and increasingly she was finding that the […]

Philip Hoare

Philip Hoare’s is the author of several books, including Serious Pleasures: The Life of Stephen Tennant; Noel Coward; Oscar Wilde’s Last Stand; Spike Island; England’s Lost Eden; and Leviathan, or, The Whale, winner of the 2009 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction. He lives in Southampton.  

Jane Johnson

Jane Johnson is a Cornish writer and publisher. She has written several historical novels (including The Tenth Gift, about the Barbary pirate raid on Penzance) and as a publishing director for HarperCollins is the UK publisher of George RR Martin, Dean Koontz, Robin Hobb and many other bestselling authors. In 2005 while researching a novel […]

Sara McDonald

Sara lived in the Middle East as an army wife for many years, before moving to Cornwall and putting down roots.  Her first novel, Listening to Voices was followed by The Sleep of Birds, both set in Cornwall and published by Headline. Her acclaimed Sea Music was a change in direction and was  picked up by […]

Dan James

Dan is a Cornish born author and Postgraduate Philosophy of Science from Exeter University Worked as a copywriter and magazine article writer and has run his own design and web development agency Valles is his first popular science book

Damian Barr

Damian Barr’s memoir Maggie & Me was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and the Sunday Times Memoir of the Year, and won him Stonewall Writer of the Year. Damian writes a column for High Life magazine and hosts his celebrated Literary Salon at The Savoy. The Guardian, Observer and Financial Times put […]

Rose Tomaszewska

Rose Tomaszewska has been working in publishing since 2011 at Quercus, and now commissions fiction and non-fiction for the literary imprint riverrun.

Louise Boland

Louise Boland is CEO and founder of Fairlight Books a small publishing house established to publish and nurture new writers of literary fiction. Seeing friends struggling to find good reads from under a deluge of photo-fit e-novels, and seeing writer friends struggling to find homes for quality fiction, she decided to set up Fairlight Books. Since […]

Grace Vincent

Grace Vincent is Senior Publicity Manager at Little, Brown Book Group, working across the company’s literary imprints which include Virago, Fleet and Corsair. Grace has been at L,B for 5 years, working her way up from Receptionist at Constable and Robinson. Authors she works with include: Chris Brookmyre, Jane Harper, John Waters, Celeste Ng and […]

Isabel Losada

Isabel Losada is a British author best known for her second book, ‘The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment’ which obtained a surprise cult status. Her narrative non fiction books combine humour with a serious look at their subject matters. Isabel has achieved wide recognition as a ‘spiritual writer’ but recently confused her readers by writing about […]

Adele Jarrett-Kerr

Adele is a Trinidadian writer living in the Falmouth area with her husband and three daughters, whom they home educate. She was born and grew up in Trinidad and Tobago, in theCaribbean, and moved to Brighton when she was nineteen. In the fourteen years since, she has moved further and further west: first to Bristol, […]

Alan Hollinghurst

Alan Hollinghurst is the author of five novels, The Swimming-Pool Library, The Folding Star, The Spell, The Line of Beauty and The Stranger’s Child. He has received the Somerset Maugham Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction and the 2004 Man Booker Prize. He lives in London.

Catrina Davies

Catrina Davies was born in Snowdonia to Welsh parents and grew up around Land’s End, Cornwall. She has worked as a DJ, gardener, circus cellist, cleaner, TEFL teacher, dog walker, flower-picker, builder and waitress. Her first book The Ribbons are for Fearlessnessis a memoir about busking from Norway to Portugal.

Elizabeth Buchan

Elizabeth Buchan was a fiction editor at Random House before leaving to write full time. Her novels include the prizewinning Consider the Lily, international bestseller Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman and The New Mrs Clifton.

Nicholas Jubber

Nicholas is an award-winning travel writer, author of three previous books (The Prester Quest, winner of the Dolman Travel Book Award; Drinking Arak off an Ayatollah’s Beard, and The Timbuktu School for Nomads, which was a New York Times pick for 2016). He has talked previously at numerous festivals including the Oxford Literary Festival, Beyond […]

Petrus Ursem

Petrus grew up in the Netherlands and studied literature at the University of Utrecht; painting and printmaking at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, The Hague. He moved to Dorset in 1998, worked as artist and manager of the arts at Salisbury Hospital, until he and his partner, singer/composer Helen Porter, set up Gresham House […]

Penny Shutt

Dr. Penny Shutt qualified from Edinburgh Medical School in 2009 and practised as a doctor in the north of Scotland for three years before going on to specialise in psychiatry. She has extensive experience running Edinburgh’s student suicide helpline, Nightline, and working for The Samaritans. For Nightline, she developed and launched e-mail and instant messenger versions of […]

Tom Vowler

British writer Tom Vowler’s story collection, The Method, won the ​Scott Prize and the Edge Hill Readers’ Prize, and his novels include What Lies Within and That Dark Remembered Day. He is an Arvon tutor and has a PhD in creative writing. Tom is the short fiction editor with Unthank Books, and is an all-rounder […]

Liz Shakespeare

Liz Shakespeare has been writing for nearly thirty years and has published six books inspired by the landscapes, the people and the history of Devon. The family stories she has grown up with and the sense of being deeply rooted in the area have been a powerful influence on her writing. She is interested in social […]

Joanna Verran

Joanna Verran is Emeritus Professor of Microbiology at Manchester Metropolitan University. In addition to her laboratory-based research, she has always been keen to use arts and the humanities to help audiences engage with science. She is a National Teaching Fellow and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In 2019, she was awarded the […]

Victoria Osborne-Broad

Victoria worked in libraries before moving to Cornwall, a border crossing which transformed her work. Her Jewels of the Rainbow trilogy is set in places she knows and loves. On giving up the day job she joined a writers’ group and never looked back, publishing her first book in 2018.

Serena Trowbridge

Dr Serena Trowbridge is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Birmingham City University, where she teaches a range of topics including Victorian poetry, and Victorian Literature and Psychology. She has published on a wide range of related topics including Pre-Raphaelite poetry, ecological writing, Gothic, and lunatic asylums. She particularly enjoys talking about sex, death and […]

DL Baylis

DL Baylis is a former journalist who lives in Cornwall with her family. She says ‘I’ve come to understand that while writing takes discipline and stamina, the desire to tell stories floats up out of your soul.’

Barbara Armstrong

Barbara has lived and worked in Cornwall since 1984, encouraging reluctant and not so reluctant teenagers to enjoy writing creatively. She has entered writing competitions with some degree of success and likes to present her friends with parodies of their latest escapades. A voracious reader, Barbara believes that everyone has the skills to write something […]

John Lugo-Trebble

I am a Puerto Rican Bronx native exiled to the wilds of Cornwall by fate and circumstance. Having lived in New York, London, Berlin and Prague, my husband and I moved to West Cornwall where we live in a barn with our adventurous cats and lots of stars. I am heavily influenced by urban landscapes […]

Alex Woodcock

Alex Woodcock is a writer and stonemason. After completing a doctorate on medieval sculpture he worked at Exeter Cathedral for six years, where he helped repair the internationally significant west front. He has published work on Romanesque and Gothic stone sculpture, surrealist artists and the landscapes and geology of the south and southwest coasts of […]

Amanda Harris

I am director of Kernow Education Arts Partnership and co-creator of The Story Republic and The Writers’ Block, the Writing Centre for Cornwall. I co-founded Scavel an Gow writers collective and have been writing short stories for many years. Behind the Lines is my first full-length novel which has been published through Scryfa.

Barbara Eaton

I have lived in The Lizard for 27 years. After a career teaching in  Cambridge language schools I began researching and writing historical biography, most of which are centred on European wives in India during the Raj. I love travelling with my husband, Tim, and experiencing different cultures: India, Tibet, Bhutan, Mongolia, Iran , Syria, […]

Frank Pickering

I was born in Sheffield, qualified in education at the University of Reading and was a teacher of English in Wiltshire and Dorset. I have lived in Cornwall over 20 years and have continued to write poetry, prose and music. My first novel, Ice, was published in 2017. I was a founder member of the […]

John Harvey

John Harvey was born in London, where he now lives, while considering Nottingham his spiritual home. For many years he lived in Zennor, and remains a frequent visitor to the Cornish coast. Initially a teacher of English & Drama, he has been a full-time writer for more than forty years. The first of his 12 […]

Jonathon X Coudrille’s Gwelhellin

Cornwall’s unique 7-piece Trio GWELHELLIN stars multi instrumental Melody Maker Top Soloist Jonathon X Coudrille,  guitarist Anthonius Apple and Percussionist Dangerous David Painter. With skill, gravitas and occasional hilarity they splice Vintage Jazz guitars, Russian Balalaika, 7-string Banjo, Veteran Trumpet, Authentic Gypsy Songs, Blues, Boogie-Woogie and European Waltzes to conjure delight. “Clever and Entertaining” (St […]

Ben Cox

Ben Cox is a student of myth and story whose work traces along the boundaries in search of nourishment for our times. A keen attention, and careful listening, guide his approach to revealing images from below the surface of the planet and its peoples. Ben brings a fresh perspective through a linguistic phenomenology grounded in […]

Philip Marsden

Philip Marsden is the award-winning author of a number of works of travel, fiction and non-fiction, including The Bronski House, The Spirit-Wrestlers, The Levelling Sea and, most recently, Rising Ground (Granta, 2014). His new book, The Summer Isles: A Sea Voyage, will be published by Granta in October 2019. He is a Fellow of the […]

Anna Pincus

Anna Pincus is Director of Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group and works to end indefinite detention. She is the founder, co-editor and co-organiser of Refugee Tales, published by Comma Press.

Laurence Green

Like Charles Causley, Laurence Green lives in the place where he grew up and was employed as a teacher at his old school, where he worked for 30 years. He has had seven books published between 2009 and 2018. These include a novel set in Launceston and the Torres Straits, two collections of ghost stories, […]

Michael Bird

Michael Bird is a writer, art historian and broadcaster. His books on modern British art include The St Ives Artists: A Biography of Place and Timeand studies ofSandra Blow, Lynn Chadwick, George Fullard and Bryan Wynter. His bestselling history of art for children, Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories, has been translated into twenty languages. Michael […]

Horatio Clare

Travel writer, memoirist and children’s author Horatio Clare was born in London in 1973. He read English at the University of York and later worked as a BBC radio producer on cultural programmes ‘Front Row’, ‘Nightwaves’ and ‘The Verb’. As a freelance journalist he has contributed numerous travel pieces to newspapers and magazines, as well […]

Jane Corry

Jane Corry is a Sunday Times best-selling author, published by Penguin. She is a regular contributor to The Daily Telegraph and writes the Diary of a Modern Granny column for My Weekly magazine. Jane’s experience as writer in residence for a high-security male prison helped to inspire her books. She also writes award-winning short stories. […]

Jenny Kane

Former archaeologist and medieval historian Jenny Kane is the author of a series of romantic novels set in Cornwall (Sennen, St. Just and Truro featuring) as well as several historical novels published under the name Jennifer Ash and two children’s picture books. She has recently produced four audio scripts for the revival of ITV’s 1980’s […]

Liz Fenwick

Award winning author of The Cornish House, A Cornish Affair, A Cornish Stranger Sky, Under A Cornish Sky, The Returning Tide, One Cornish Summer and a novella – A Cornish Christmas Carol. The Path to the Sea will be out on 6 June 2019. After ten international moves, she’s a bit of a global nomad. […]

Anna McClary

For the past seven years, Anna has been the one and only bilingual tour guide specialising in Penzance and Mousehole, travelling with cruise ship visitors on coaches through Penwith and hoping to entice them to return for a longer holiday. This year, she presented her virtual coach tour through Cornwall to a German Landfrauen (WI) […]

Spencer Smart

Born in Suffolk in 1966, Spencer Smart headed for a life in west Cornwall many years ago where he lives with his family. He has worked as a technical author and marketing consultant since the late 1980s. Spencer’s first thriller No Regrets introduced Dutch detective Pieter van Es, who fled Amsterdam for a not-so-peaceful new […]