Ruth Hogan was brought up in a house full of books and grew up with a passion for reading and writing. She loved dogs and ponies, seaside piers, snow globes and cemeteries.
She studied English and Drama at Goldsmiths College, University of London. After graduating she foolishly got a proper job and for ten years had a successful if uninspiring career in local government before a car accident left her unable to work full-time and was the kick up the butt she needed to start writing seriously.
It was all going well, but then in 2012 she got cancer, which was bloody inconvenient but precipitated an exciting hair journey from bald to a peroxide blonde Annie Lennox crop. When chemo kept her up all night she passed the time writing and the eventual result was her debut novel The Keeper of Lost Things. Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel is inspired by an altogether more positive experience – eloping with her partner to get married in the Royal Pavilion in Brighton.
She lives in a chaotic Victorian house with an assortment of rescue dogs and her long-suffering husband. She still loves seaside piers, particularly The Palace Pier at Brighton and would very much like a full- size galloping horses carousel in her back garden.
Ruth Hogan’s debut, The Keeper of Lost Things, has sold over 830,000 copies across all formats. That’s 1,306 copies sold every day since 24th Jan 2017 or 54 copies sold every hour
or almost one copy sold every minute since publication.
Her most recent novel, Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel, focuses on mothers and daughters, families and secrets and the astonishing power of friendship.
Matt Gaw is a writer, journalist and naturalist who lives in Bury St Edmunds. His first book, The Pull of the River, was released last year and chronicles the adventures of Matt and his friend James as they explored Britain’s rivers by canoe.
Matt has had work published in the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Times. He works with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, edits Suffolk Wildlife and writes a monthly country diary for the Suffolk Magazine.
The Pull of the River, ‘a journey into the wild and watery heart of Britain’, has been described as a beautifully written debut exploring nature, place and friendship. There are moments of real peril and breath-taking encounters with nature. Their travels take them from the Waveney and the Lark and other rivers close to home, to the exhilarating white water of the Wye, the vast expanse of a Scottish loch and wild camping on the Thames. Matt has written an ode to the great art – and joy – of adventure.
Bury born Nicola Upson is the author of a best selling series of crime novels featuring a fictional Josephine Tey who, in real life, was a noted writer of detective novels herself.
Her novel, The Death of Lucy Kyte was inspired by the 1827 Red Barn murder of Maria Marten in Polstead. Her murderer, William Corder, was hanged in Bury St Edmunds and his death mask, and a book covered in his skin, are amongst the most popular of Moyse’s Hall’s exhibits. We are delighted that Moyse’s Hall is the venue for this special evening.
Nicola will be talking about her crime novels, as well as her recently published novel Stanley & Elsie about the life of the painter, Stanley Spencer, as observed by his housemaid, Elsie Munday. “An intriguing story of artistic temperament, domestic turmoil and remembrance” and taking questions from the audience.
Sam Byers is the author of Idiopathy (2013) and Perfidious Albion (2018). His work has been translated into multiple languages and his writing has appeared in Granta, The New York Times, The Spectator, and The Times Literary Supplement. Idiopathy was included on the Waterstones 11 list of debut novels to watch out for; shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Prize and the Desmond Elliot Prize; and won a Betty Trask Award. Perfidious Albion was longlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, and shortlisted for the Encore Prize.
Sam was born in Bury St Edmunds and studied at the UEA. His debut Idiopathy is described as ‘a novel of love, narcissism, and ailing cattle.’ The satirical writing is based on the spread of a BSE-live disease. Perfidious Albion has been described as ‘The best book about British politics I have read in some time’ by John Harris at the Guardian.
Sophie Hannah is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling crime writer, published in forty-nine languages and fifty-one territories. Her books have sold millions of copies worldwide, and in 2013 her novel The Carrier won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards.
In 2014, with the blessing of Agatha Christie’s family and estate, Sophie published a new Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders, which was a bestseller in more than fifteen countries. She has since published two more Poirot novels, Closed Casket and The Mystery of Three Quarters, both of which were instant Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers.
Most recently, she has published a self-help book called How to Hold a Grudge: From Resentment to Contentment – The Power of Grudges to Transform Your Life.
Sophie is Course Director of the new Master’s Degree in Crime and Thriller Writing at the University of Cambridge, and the founder of the Dream Author coaching programme for writers. She lives with her husband, children and dog in Cambridge, where she is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College.
Joshua Winning is the critically acclaimed author of The Sentinel Trilogy, the only young-adult dark fantasy series set in Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge. His thriller Vicious Rumer was published by Unbound in 2018. As well as writing books, Joshua is contributing editor at Total Film magazine, and regularly writes for Radio Times, SFX and Den of Geek. He also co-hosts the movie podcast Torn Stubs.
Georgina Harding is the author of five novels: The Gun Room, Painter of Silence (shortlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize), The Solitude of Thomas Cave, and The Spy Game (a BBC Book at Bedtime and shortlisted for the Encore Award) and Land of the Living which was published this year to huge acclaim, one critic saying; “Vivid, illuminating and unbearably tense, Land of the Living is a masterly meditation on trauma, on beauty, on the idea of home and on the limits of love.”
Georgina’s first books were works of non-fiction: In Another Europe, recording a journey she made across Romania in 1988 during the worst times of the Ceausescu regime and Tranquebar: A Season in South India, which documented the lives of the people in a small fishing village in the Coromandel coast.
She is currently writing a cycle of novels about one English family’s lives in the wake of war. This started with The Gun Room and continues with Land of the Living.
Dr Francis Young
Francis Young was born in Bury St Edmunds and educated at Culford School. He studied at Cambridge University where he was awarded a PhD in History. Francis was a teacher for several years before turning to writing full-time. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and lives in Peterborough with his wife and two daughters. Francis is the author of 12 books focussing on the history of religion and belief, often with a particular focus on Suffolk and Bury St Edmunds.
Ann–Marie Howell was born in Nottingham and moved to Bury St Edmunds in 2001. She works for a local authority but in 2015, she graduated from the Curtis Brown Creative Writing Course for Children ready to write her debut novel The Garden of Lost Secrets.
This historical mystery is inspired by the discovery by National Trust staff of a 100-year-old gardener’s notebook at Ickworth House near Bury St Edmunds. Set during the chaotic and troubling times of World War One, it tells the story of 12-year-old Clara who is sent away to stay with her Uncle and Aunt at the Gardener’s Cottage nestled in the walled garden of the grand Ickworth Estate. There, she finds herself caught up in eerie, thrilling escapades and exciting hair -raising adventures. Clara and her friends face frightening danger and need immense courage to unravel the mysteries of the garden.
Although The Garden of Lost Secrets is billed as a book for 9-12 year olds, we asked Ann-Marie to appear at the Festival after she was enthusiastically recommended to Julia by Karen Cannard as a book which appeals to all age groups.
Erica James is the number one international bestselling author of twenty-one novels, including the Sunday Times top ten bestsellers Summer at the Lake, The Dandelion Years and Song of the Skylark.
She has sold over five million books worldwide and her work has been translated into thirteen languages. Erica won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award for her novel Gardens of Delight, set in beautiful Lake Como, Italy, which has become a second home to her. Her authentic characters are thanks to her fondness for striking up conversation with complete strangers.
Erica moved to Suffolk from Cheshire in 2014 and since then East Anglia has featured in her books. The latest, Swallowtail Summer, features a house on the Norfolk Broads and the family to whom it means so much.
Poet Wendy Cope was born in Erith, Kent in 1945 and read History at St Hilda’s College, Oxford.
She trained as a teacher at Westminster College of Education, Oxford, and taught in primary schools in London. She became Arts and Reviews editor for Contact, the Inner London Education Authority magazine, and continued to teach part-time, before becoming a freelance writer in 1986. She was television critic for The Spectator magazine until 1990.
She received a Cholmondeley Award in 1987 and was awarded the Michael Braude Award for Light Verse (American Academy of Arts and Letters) in 1995. Her poetry collections include Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis (1986), Serious Concerns (1992) and If I Don’t Know (2001), which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award. Two Cures for Love (2008) is a selection of previous poems with notes, together with new poems. Further collections include Family Values (2011) andAnecdotal Evidence (2018); she has also published Christmas Poems (2017), which features her new and previously-published Christmas-themed poems, and a collection of prose, Life, Love and The Archers (2015).
She has edited a number of poetry anthologies including The Orchard Book of Funny Poems (1993), Is That The New Moon? (1989), The Funny Side: 101 Humorous Poems (1998) and The Faber Book of Bedtime Stories (1999) and Heaven on Earth: 101 Happy Poems (2001). She is also the author of two books for children, Twiddling Your Thumbs (1988) and The River Girl (1991). Wendy Cope is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and lives in Ely, England. In 1998 she was the listeners’ choice in a BBC Radio 4 poll to succeed Ted Hughes as Poet Laureate. She was awarded an OBE in 2010.
Charles Mugleston was born in Ipswich in 1954 and currently lives in Felixstowe. He first encountered our Suffolk Bard Edward FitzGerald’s (1809 – 1883) poem aged eight. His local church organist was a member of the Cowell family – Edward Byles Cowell introducing E.F.G to a transcript of the Bodleian Library Oxford Ms of The Ruba’iya’t of Hakim (wise) Umar Khayya’m and Canon Maurice Byles Cowell (Edward’s brother) buried his great grandmother in Ashbocking Churchyard.
An interest in the theatre led him from school to local amateur to professional productions including a reading as Charles Dickens of A Christmas Carol at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1985. He gave his first reading of The Ruba’iya’t of Omar Khayya’m in 2009 at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich for the Bi-centenary Celebrations and this magic carpet of a poem has taken him far and wide ever since…www.omarkhayyamtheatrecompany.com
Writer, musician, designer and and co-founder of QuirkHouse Theatre, Jackie Carreira, has published two novels and a play. Talking in the Library was QuirkHouse Theatre Company’s first ever production back in 2014, and quickly became a firm favourite with audiences.
She has twice been a winner of the Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama, and her debut novel, Sleeping Through War won a Chill With A Book Award in 2018. Her new novel, The Seventh Train, was published in April and is a life-affirming exploration of the human spirit via the Greater Anglia rail network.
Her favourite place to write is in railway cafés. The Seventh Train was born over several cappuccinos at Paddington station.
Pauline Manders has been writing contemporary crime novels since 2010, all of which are set in and around Suffolk.
Her books are available in Waterstones and local independent bookshops, as well as Suffolk, Norfolk and North Essex libraries.
Utterly Crushed featured in the Suffolk Libraries Suffolk Loves… selection. Pauline was invited to talk at the Felixstowe Book Festival on a Set in Suffolk theme in 2016, and this inspired her to become a founder member of the Stowmarket Library Skulduggery in Stowmarket event – an annual literary crime festival. She has also been featured in Suffolk Age UK magazine and been a sofa guest on BBC Radio Suffolk Radio’s Lesley Dolphin show.
Pauline was born in London and trained as a doctor at University College Hospital. Having gained her specialist surgical qualifications, she left the city for pastures green and moved with her husband and young family to East Anglia, where she worked in the NHS as an ENT Consultant Surgeon for over 25 years.
Pauline retired from medicine in 2010 and at last had time to pursue her interest in writing crime fiction, which she likens to following clues in order to reach a diagnosis. She has also become an active member in a local carpentry group, and follows her husband’s interest in classic cars, as well as living deep in the Suffolk countryside – all of which seep into her novels.
Pauline’s novels make up the Utterly Crime Series (8 in the series but can be read as stand-alones). They feature the sometimes outrageous, but always flawed characters, Chrissie Jax, Nick Cowley and Matt Finch; and the refreshingly normal D.I. Clive Merry.
Rachel Churcher is an independently published author of Young Adult fiction. Her quest to discover what she wanted to do with her life produced an unconventional CV, featuring degrees and diplomas in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, and Writing for Radio, alongside jobs in magazine editing, IT training, design, and construction.
Inspired by her background in Geography and Science Fiction, Rachel wrote her five-book Battle Ground series in the aftermath of the 2016 Brexit referendum. The series imagines life in an isolationist and totalitarian UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence, and focuses on the friendships between her characters.
Rachel runs a Young Adult book club, and lives in Bury St Edmunds. She has a book-buying habit, a peppermint tea addiction, and plenty of ideas for her next novels. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she was allowed to bring all her books.