Authors & Speakers 2016

Eve Ainsworth (Desert Island Books, Thurs 14 April 2016)
eve ainsworth

Eve Ainsworth always dreamed of being a writer and spent most of her childhood telling stories to herself in her back garden. She worked in a large secondary school, supporting teenagers with their emotional and behavioural issues, whilst also concentrating on her writing. Eve has had competition success with her short stories, most recently in Prima and Writer’s Forum. A short story has also been published in The Weekly News. Her previous Young Adult novel, The Art of Kissing Frogs, was shortlisted for the Greenhouse Funny Prize (June 2012). Her first Young Adult Novel – Seven Days – about bullying from both perspectives, was published by Scholastic in Feb 2015 and has been listed as a top Young Adult read in 2015 by The TelegraphCrush, a novel about controlling/abusive relationships will be published in February 2016. Eve lives in Crawley, West Sussex with her husband and two children.



Stephen Bailey (Comedy Night, 12 April 2016)
Stephen Bailey
Stephen Bailey is a comedian, television presenter and writer. Familiar to many for Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother’s Bit on the Side, he is making noise on the comedy circuit by being fun, charming and sassy. A skilled improviser, Stephen is ‘annoyingly sharp’ (The New Current) and can currently be seen supporting Katherine Ryan on her UK tour, where NO topic is off the table. 


Lynne E Blackwood (Literary Feast, Thur 21 April 2016)
 Lynne E Blackwood
Lynne E Blackwood began writing in April 2012 after illness terminated her professional activity as a community project development consultant working with women asylum seekers and ethnic minorities.Her writing is drawn from a long life rich in emotions and events, and also stories from the people she has been privileged to meet and listen to. Her Anglo-Indian (Parsi) descent and emotional heritage play strongly in writing sensitivities, reflecting a mosaic of experiences and cultures. Lynne is currently incorporating fact with fiction and creating an anthology of short stories based on her Scottish/Anglo-Indian family history and memories.


Suchitra Chatterjee (Literary Feast, Thur 21 April 2016)
Suchitra Chatterjee

Suchitra Chatterjee is a regular contributor to the renowned GSCENE magazine and Brighton & Hove Black History Project.  She writes a regular Facebook blog about her wheelchair odysseys and in November 2015 the magazine Sussex Life published an article she had written about the grave of Thomas Highflyer, a child slave from the 1860’s who had been lain to rest in a Brighton cemetery.   

Since 2007 she has been writing plays including “Let Justice be Done” (2008) with Maureen Hicks about the Abolition of Slavery, “Stand up to Hatred” (2009), about bullying and disability during the Holocaust, “Love in Progress” (2010) a tale of arranged marriage, music, gypsies and getting what you want in life and “If You Go Down to the Woods Tonight” (2011), a children’s Halloween radio play. She is working at the moment with Tanglehead Productions and Spiral Arts as a co-writer on a play about FGM called CUT which will be part of the Brighton Fringe 2016.   

“Baldev’s War” (which will be performed at Crawley Wordfest on Thu 21 April)  is a love story with a supernatural touch.  A young Indian officer and a Jewish nurse meet in a Brighton military hospital during WW1 and fall in love under the wily but wise eye of a Sikh cook Baldev Singh.  In a time of colonial racism, and simmering sexual tension the dark spectre of Ma Kali is never far away and high up on the Sussex Downs the flames of inevitable change are about to be ignited…


Chie (Manga Workshop – Get Stuck in Day, Sat 16 April 2016)
Chie’s biography is coming soon…


Rachel Cowell, Wordfest Co-Director, Artist and Treasure Hunter (All Day Craft Table and Book Binding Drop-in – Get Stuck in Day, Sat 16 April 2016)Rachel Cowell

Rachel was born in Scotland but grew up in Sussex. She studied at Worthing College of Art and Design completing a General Art and Design course over three years, then onto study Three Dimensional Design at Middlesex University. After graduating she focused mainly on 2D works in the form of mixed media pieces, inspired by colour, movement and everyday things. Recognising the importance of inspirational art in our lives, Rachel set up her business Ginger Moo with the aim of promoting mainly local, fresh and largely undiscovered artists work through commercial and domestic projects.

Ginger Moo Gallery was established in 2009 continuing to champion artists work and leading a wide range of creative projects locally and further afield. Rachel works to develop as an independent artist whilst finding new links with fellow creatives, organisations and businesses.



Julia Crouch, WORDfest Patron (Desert Island Books, Thurs 14 April 2016)Juliacrouch@

Julia started her working life as a theatre director and playwright before retraining as a graphic designer and setting up her own website design and illustration business, which she was able to fit around starting a family. She has an MA in Sequential Illustration from Brighton University and has completed an Open University Course in creative writing, focusing on writing fiction for adults. Through this, she discovered NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month encourages participants to write a 50,000-word novel during November] and after that, there was no looking back. Her first novel Cuckoo came out in hardback in the UK in March 2011. Her second novel, Every Vow You Break, was published in March 2012, and third, Tarnished – also nurtured during NaNoWriMo – in March 2013. Julia’s fourth novel, The Long Fall, came out in June 2014 and she is currently working on novel number five about some bad things happening in Elephant & Castle. She now spend her days writing at an untidy desk in a shed at the bottom of her garden in Brighton.



Hannah Eaton (Graphic Novel Illustration Workshop – Get Stuck in Day, Sat 16 April 2016)

Hannah Eaton was born in London and now lives in Brighton. She is an artist, writer and performer, and works with young people in care. Naming Monsters (Myriad, 2013) is her first book; an excerpt from it was shortlisted for the 2012 First Graphic Novel Competition. After receiving a BA in Fine Art from the University of Oxford and studying for an MA in Cultural Studies and teacher training, she worked with children in residential settings and in primary school. She has delivered comics workshops with adults and young people, and is currently working on her second graphic novel for Myriad.


Hannah Engelkamp (Lunchtime Talk & Film Screening, Wed 13 April 2016)hannah engelkamp 2

Hannah Engelkamp is a experienced editor who, in the summer of 2013, spent almost six months walking 1,000 miles around Wales with a donkey called Chico, starting and finishing from her home town of Aberystwyth. She has just finished the book and feature-length film about the journey, which was funded by a triumphant crowdfunding campaign that raised £35,000 and ended 25% over budget, with 831 backers. Engelkamp says: “Walking with a donkey was only strange by being about 60 years late. We were walking on green lanes and drove roads made for animal traffic – get out of your car and that history is still there, and easily revived.” She has also just been voted one of the UK’s top ten most inspiring contemporary female adventurers by the Guardian.


Jeff Gardiner (Creative Writing Workshop – Get Stuck in Day, Sat 16 April 2016)
Jeff gardiner
Jeff Gardiner is the author of five novels (most recently ‘Pica’ from Accent Press), a collection of short stories, and a work of non-fiction. Jeff is also an editor, teacher and extras actor for film and TV. For more information, please see his website or blog.


About Grinstock Comedy Club (Comedy Night, 12 April 2016)
Grinstock Comedy Club-01

Grinstock Comedy Club has been running for seven years, making it one of the country’s longest running independent comedy clubs. It has been nominated two years in a row by Dave TV and Absolute Radio for Comedy Club of the South. It has also put together Crawley Wordfest’s comedy launch night for 2016.


Antonia Hayes (New Faces of Fiction, Fri 22 April 2016)
Hayes, Antonia - credit Angelo Sgambati
Antonia Hayes is an Australian author who grew up in Sydney, spent her twenties in Paris and currently lives in San Francisco. Her work has been published in Best Australian Essays, Meanjin, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Daily Life and others. Antonia has worked in publishing as a publicist and a bookseller, and co-directed Australia’s National Young Writers’ Festival. Relativity is her debut novel, published in the UK in April 2016.


Sue Hendra (Supertato – Get Stuck in Day, Sat 16 April 2016)
Sue Hendra

Sue Hendra graduated from University of Brighton in 1994 and has been an illustrator of children’s books since then. She has worked on more than titles, including the fabulously funny Barry the Fish with Fingers, Spider Sandwiches, Wanda and the Alien, Norman the Slug with the Silly Shell and Supertato – the focus at Crawley Wordfest 2016. Sue lives in Brighton with her partner (and co-author) Paul Linnet and their young daughter.

Russell Hicks (Comedy Night, 12 April 2016)
Russell Hicks
One of the most exciting comics to come out of America, Russell is branded one of the ‘Top Six Comics to Watch’ by LA’s Stand Up Talk Magazine and is considered to have “a very sharp wit”, with the “pessimism of Jack Dee mixed with the deadpan aggression of Denis Leary”, according to Russell has headlined the nationally acclaimed US student circuit, has many TV credits in the USA and is in high demand this side of the pond too, appearing at venues across the UK. He will be compere for Wordfest’s comedy night.
Alison Joseph (Killer Women, 19 April 2016)
 Alison Joseph
A crime writer and award-winning radio dramatist, Alison Joesph is the author of the series of novels featuring Sister Agnes, a contemporary detective nun, and also ‘Dying to Know,’ a crime novel about particle physics. Her most recent novel (out autumn 2015), Murder Will Out, is the first of a new series featuring Agatha Christie as a detective.
Jackie Malton (Killer Women, 19 April 2016)
Jackie Malton
A retired MET detective turned story consultant and writer, Jackie Malton has worked on more than 500 episodes of crime drama including The Bill, Jury II and Prime Suspect (she is best known as the inspiration behind the main character, DCI Jane Tennison). She has also written radio drama Be Mine, aired on BBC Radio 4 in 2012, about a charismatic ex-con and recovering alcoholic, who has been in prison for 26 years for murder. Jackie studied creative writing at the University of Sussex and obtained an MA. She is a regular contributor to radio and TV programmes including Front Row, Saturday Morning Live, Woman’s Hour, Hard Talk, Drama Connections and Live with Gabby.

Matt Martin, (Photozine Workshop Photocopy Club – Get Stuck in Day, Sat 16 April 2016)

matt martin

Matt Martin is a photographer, Curator and a publisher based in London. He started the photocopy club in 2011 and is the curator at Doomed Gallery. Matt’s photography focuses on documentary and portrait with strong links to youth culture and DIY processes.

K.T Medina (Killer Women, 19 April 2016)
Kate Medina - credit Philippa Gedge
A psychologist and former troop commander in the Royal Engineers, Kate Medina released her debut White Crocodile in 2014, set in the landmine fields of Cambodia and featuring strong yet, emotionally damaged mine-clearer Tess Hardy who is seeking the truth behind her ex-husband’s death. Her new book, Fire Damage, is released in March 2016 and will be the first in an exciting new crime series featuring clinical psychologist Dr Jessie Flynn. While studying for a Psychology degree, she joined the Territorial Army, rising to Troop Commander in the Royal Engineers. She then joined global military intelligence publisher, Jane’s Information Group as Managing Editor, Land Based Weapons. Whilst at Jane’s she worked with mine clearance charities in Cambodia.
She lives in London with her husband and children.
Louise Millar (Killer Women, 19 April 2016)
Louise Millar
Originally from Glasgow, Louise is a journalist and author of four critically acclaimed psychological thrillers – The PlaydateAccidents HappenThe Hidden Girl and, most recently (autumn 2015) City of Strangers. Her latest book sees photojournalist Grace Scott returning from her honeymoon to find a burglar lying dead in the newly-weds’ Edinburgh flat. The closer to finding out what happened, the more dangerous it gets. She started her journalism career on Smash Hits and the NME and was Senior Editor at Marie Claire for five years. Her role there involved interviewing hundreds of women affected by crime, which led to her interest in the psychology of the subject. Originally from Glasgow, now living in London, she has recently moved the setting of her novels back to Scotland. Her novels are published in ten countries.
Ola (Comedy Night, 12 April 2016)
Ola (real name Olawale Gbaja-Biamila) is a stand-up comedian, writer and actor with natural originality and stage presence. He has appeared on Comedy Central, London Live, ITV4 and MTV Base and written for BBCR4’s The Now ShowThe News Quiz and Nathan Caton’s Can’t Tell Me Nothing. He performs all over the UK and as far afield as the European Continent and Dubai. Ola’s most recent work, ‘The Comedian and His Future Wife’, received 5-stars at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Ola is renowned for his intelligent, edgy humour.


James Parsons (Comic Drawing Workshop – Get Stuck in Day, Sat 16 April 2016)
James Parson‘s biography is coming soon…


Richard Pendleton (Write Like a Reporter & Write Like a Journalist workshops– Get Stuck in Day, Sat 16 April 2016)

Richard Pendleton‘s biography is coming soon…


Amy Proud (Illustration Workshop – Get Stuck in Day, Sat 16 April 2016) 
amy proud
Amy Proud grew up in a shoe-making, beer-brewing town in England with her mum and dad, two sisters and many, many pets. She went to Loughborough University and studied Fine Art but after graduating and working in a primary school, realised what she really wanted to do was make children’s books.Izzy and the very bad burglar is her first picture book, published by Sky Pony Press. She is represented by Plum Pudding Illustration agency.

Talia Randall (Get Stuck in Day, Sat 16 April 2016)
talia randall

Talia Randall is an artist whose work is rooted in spoken word but who skips between poetry, theatre and music. Whether she’s collaborating with circus artists, musicians, theatre directors or performing her spoken word, Talia’s work is driven by her need to discover the experiences that shape us. Talia has performed at major venues and festivals across the UK including The Southbank Centre, The Roundhouse, Battersea Arts Centre, The Whitechapel Gallery, Glastonbury, Latitude and The Edinburgh Fringe. Talia is also an experienced educator and has worked with thousands of young people on creative writing projects, empowerment programmes and her ‘incrEDIBLE poetry’ workshops (poems you can eat!)


Akila Richards (Literary Feast, Thur 21 April 2016)

Akila Richards is a published writer, poet and spoken word artist of Liberian and German heritage. She performs and reads in a variety of academic, cultural, professional and community settings. Akila became involved in theatre and playwriting greatly inspired by the consciousness raising artistic expression in the 80s. Her short story Eleven Years was published in an anthology by Penguin in 2008 and so was her poem Red Saviour appeared in the RED anthology by Peepal Tree Press in 2010 Akila is currently writing her first short stories collection.

Adam Riley (Comedy Night, 12 April 2016)
Winner of the London Comedy Store’s ‘King Gong Show’ in June 2015, Adam Riley is dead-pan, straight faced but funny with it. With over 200 shows behind him, including at London’s Up The Creek open mic comedy club, he has entertained audiences across the country with his straight talking kind of humour.

Philip Sherman, Booster Cushion Theatre (Get Stuck in Day, Sat 16 April 2016)
Phil Sherman

After finishing a degree in Accounting in Manchester, Philip started training to be a mime in London in the early 1980s, working with Decroux and Lecoq teachers. He then furthered his studies with practical clowning, dance, acrobatics, comedia del arte and a little bit of trapeze. Additionally, he has worked with community arts via Haringey Arts Council to Collage Arts at the present day. He formed The Booster Cushion Theatre for Children in 1989, specifically to work with children and to encourage them to take greater interest in books. Since then Booster Cushion Theatre has performed to over 300,000 people in schools and theatres all over the country providing quality work with care and commitment. Booster Cushion Theatre’s shows involve a high level of audience participation on the part of the children. They are designed to foster a feeling of strong involvement and the joy of using their imagination.


Rebecca Thornton (New Faces of Fiction, Fri 22 April 2016)

Thornton, Rebecca

Rebecca Thornton is a journalist and runs an online advertising business. Her work has been published in Prospect Magazine, Daily Mail, The Jewish News and The Sunday People. She was Acting Editor of an arts and culture magazine based in Jordan, and she’s reported from Kosovo, London, and the Middle East.

Rebecca is an alumna of the Faber Academy writing-a-novel course,  where she was tutored by Esther Freud and Tim Lott.  Her first novel The Exclusives will be published by Bonnier in April 2016.


Phil Viner (Desert Island Books, Thurs 14 April 2016)
Phil Viner Author photo 2

PD Viner is the author of the Sad Man and Dani Lancing series of crime novels.

A TV series based upon The Last Winter of Dani Lancing is in production for 2016 and he is busy writing a new novel, a TV series and trying to understand his seven-year-old daughter’s maths homework. In his past life he worked in film and theatre in Europe & America, and created the SmartPass Guides and Shakespeare Appreciated – audio guides to Shakespeare and classic literature. Two of his crime novels – The Sad Man and The Ugly Man are available FREE as ebooks. Phil lives in Brighton, drinks coffee and sits around dreaming all day.


Sam Watkins (Author Workshop – Get Stuck in Day, Sat 16 April 2016)
sam watkins

Sam Watkins voraciously consumed books from a young age, due to a food shortage in the village where she grew up. This diet, although not recommended by doctors, has given her a lifelong passion for books. She has been a bookseller, editor and publisher, and writes and illustrates her own children’s books. At one point, things all got a bit too bookish so she decided to be an art teacher for a while. She has a five (and a half) year old son, a yellow camper van called Daphne, several carnivorous plants and six stick insects. She can sometimes be found dangling from rocks or strumming her guitar at a campfire and singing silly songs about cockatoos.


Amy Zamarripa Solis (Literary Feast, Thur 21 April 2016)

Credit: Phil Burrowes, Avant Photographic

Amy Zamarripa Solis is a Mexican-American writer and cultural producer based in Brighton. Her writing has appeared in national and international publications. She is the founder of Writing Our Legacy and co-founder of award-winning story platforms Grit Lit and Flash Lit Fiction. She has made the UK her home since 1997. She is currently working on a collection of short stories and an artist film as part of the No Place Like Home project, funded by the British Council and Arts Council England.