Authors who will be speaking at Monty Lit Fest 2019 include:
Myfanwy Alexander was brought up in the hills of Montgomeryshire where she returned, not unlike a salmon but without fins, to raise her six daughters in a thatched cottage near Llanfair Careinion. As a writer and broadcaster, she has numerous credits for comedy drama and factual programmes, winning a Sony Comedy Award for her long-running satire show, The LL Files. She is the author of darkly comic fiction written in her native language, also available in English translation, including the best-selling Bloody Eisteddfod. Myfanwy is also a Powys County Councillor and the Cabinet Member for Education.
Simon Baynes grew up in Montgomeryshire where his father ran Lake Vyrnwy Hotel. After a career in the City of London, hemoved back to Montgomeryshire where he now focuses on writing and the local community. He ran a second-hand bookshop for five years, is founder of the Montgomeryshire Literary Festival, co-author of Lake Vyrnwy Hotel: The Story of a Sporting Hotel and author of The Forgotten Country House. His wife, Maggie, is an architect and he is Chairman of the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust; together, they have restored Bodfach Hall and its gardens where they live with their daughters, Clemmie and Francesca.
Tom Bulloughgrew up in Radnorshire. He is the author of four novels – most recently Addlands, a story of seventy years on a Radnorshire hill farm. At present, he is the final stages of another mid-Wales novel, A Bird Is Born Twice, having just completed a screenplay, Mr Burton, for Revolution Films/ Severn Screen, about the early life of the actor Richard Burton. Tom is a Visiting Fellow at the University of South Wales and the RLF Fellow at Swansea University. He lives in the Brecon Beacons.
Dr Peter Caddick-Adams is a writer, broadcaster and lecturer. He previously taught Military and Security Studies at the UK Defence Academy, Shrivenham for twenty years, and lectured in Air Power Studies to the Royal Air Force. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and Royal Geographical Society, he also wore uniform for over thirty years as an officer in the UK Regular and Reserve Forces, and has extensive experience of various war zones, including the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. His books include: Sand and Steel: A New History of D-Day (2019) Snow and Steel: The Battle of the Bulge 1944-45 (2014), Monte Cassino: Ten Armies in Hell (2012) and Monty and Rommel: Parallel Lives (2011).
Horatio Clare’s first book, Running for the Hills, an acclaimed account of a Welsh childhood, won a Somerset Maugham Award, was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and saw Horatio shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. His subsequent books include Truant, The Prince’s Pen, the best-selling travelogue, Down to the Sea in Ships (winner of the Dolman Travel Book of the Year), Icebreaker: A Voyage Far North and The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal. Horatio’s first book for children, Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, was awarded the Branford Boase Award 2016. His essays and reviews appear regularly in the national press and on BBC radio.
Gwen Davies has been editor of New Welsh Review since 2011 and a co-judge for the New Welsh Writing Awards since their inauguration in 2015. She has worked as creative editor at publishers including Parthian, founded the imprints Alcemi and New Welsh Rarebyte and is also a literary translator and writers’ mentor. She has been a Literature Officer at the Arts Council of Wales, a member and Chair of Literature Wales’ Writers’ Bursaries Panel and represented literature for the Arts Council of Wales’ Creative Wales Awards. She grew up in a Welsh-speaking family in West Yorkshire and now lives in Aberystwyth with her family.
[Gwen is acting as sole judge of the Aberystwyth University Prize for a Dystopian Novella and as co-judge with Cynan Jones of the Rheidol Prize for Writing with a Welsh Theme or Setting.]
Trevor Fishlock has travelled the world as a foreign correspondent, author and broadcaster. He began his career as a reporter in Wales for The Times. He was staff correspondent in India and New York and, later, Moscow bureau chief for The Daily Telegraph. He won the David Holden Award for foreign reporting and the prize for International Reporter of the Year in the British Press Awards. He started in newspapers at 16 and his latest book, Reporter, recounts a life of adventure as a journalist.
He has also written books on Wales, India, Russia, America, and 19th century exploration, including A Gift of Sunlight, the moving story of the Davies sisters of Llandinam and Gregynog.
When she’s not acting as Marketing and Publicity Officer at New Welsh Review, Julia Forster works freelance in marketing/PR for independent publishers and as an associate for Ruth Killick Publicity. She was on the Literature Wales writers’ bursary panel for six years, helping to award bursaries to both emerging and established writers. She’s a reader and mentor for The Literary Consultancy and runs author career workshops. Julia has published two books, the latest a novel called What a Way to Go (Atlantic Books, 2016). She is currently working on a pamphlet of poems.
Elizabeth Garner is the author of two novels: Nightdancing and The Ingenious Edgar Jones. She is currently completing her third: China Girls. She trained as a film script editor and has worked with a variety of UK and European production companies: Miramax; Gorgeous Enterprises; Gate TV. She is now a story-development editor for Unbound Publishing and has worked with a range of writers across both memoir and fiction. She also teaches for the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education, and is a founder trustee of the educational charity The Blackden Trust, which combines academic and creative disciplines to encourage the development of original projects for both teenage and adult learners.
Daughter of Alan Garner, OBE, Elizabeth will talk about how the design on a dinner service, the 4th Branch of The Mabinogion, and the Welsh valley of Llanymawddwy combined to inspire the creation 50 years ago of her father’s iconic novel The Owl Service.
Andrew Green was raised in south Yorkshire but has lived most of his life in Wales. He worked as a university librarian and information director, and for fifteen years he was head of the National Library of Wales. Since retiring in 2013 he has published In the Chair: How to Guide Groups and Manage Meetings (Parthian) and Wales in 100 Objects / Cymru Mewn 100 Gwrthrych (Gomer), and is working on two new books: a satirical campus novel in Welsh, and a history of walking in Wales. He lives in Swansea and is the current President of the Royal Institution of South Wales. He blogs weekly as ‘gwallter’.
Robert Harvey is a former member of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, was assistant editor of The Economist, and foreign affairs lead writer for the Daily Telegraph. His books include Liberators: South America’s Savage War of Freedom, A Few Bloody Noses: The American Revolutionary Wars, The War of Wars, and Mavericks. He lives in Meifod, Montgomeryshire.
Sir Simon Jenkins
Simon Jenkins is a journalist and author. He writes weekly for the Guardian and has edited the Evening Standard and The Times. He was chairman of the National Trust from 2008-14 and previously deputy chairman of English Heritage. He served on the boards of British Rail, London Transport and the Museum of London, chaired the Pevsner guides and is a trustee of the Churches Conservation Trust. His books include works on London’s architecture, the press and British politics. His best-sellers include England’s 1,000 Best Churches, and short histories of England and of Europe. He has also written on Welsh buildings and on railway architecture.
Cynan Jones was born near Aberaeron on the west coast of Wales in 1975. He is the author of five novels, published in over 20 countries. He has been longlisted and shortlisted for numerous prizes internationally, and has won the Wales Book of the Year Fiction Prize, a Betty Trask Award, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Award, and, most recently, the BBC National Short Story Award. He has also written stories for BBC Radio, a screenplay for the hit crime drama Hinterland, and a collection of tales for children. Other writing has appeared in numerous anthologies and newspapers, and in journals and magazines including Granta and The New Yorker.
Prue Keely Davies got the garden history bug on retiring from a career in broadcast journalism, where she had worked in TV and radio news and current affairs as a reporter and editor. It probably developed out of a lifelong love of landscape and historic buildings, combined with curiosity as to why people make gardens – even when they are surrounded by great natural beauty (That question has yet to be resolved!). Prue is also involved in the voluntary sector, as a member of the Board of Arts University, Bournemouth and of the prison charity, The Hardman Trust.
With over two million copies of her books sold worldwide, number one Sunday Times bestseller Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award-winning author of I Let You Go, I See You, Let Me Lie and, new for 2019, After the End. Clare’s novels have been translated into over thirty-five languages and I Let You Go and I See You were selected for the Richard and Judy Book club. Clare is patron of the Silver Star Society, a charity based at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, which supports parents experiencing high-risk or difficult pregnancies. She lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.
Matt Sewell, who has been described as “the Banksy of the bird world,” is an avid ornithologist, artist and illustrator. He is the author of Owls, Our Garden Birds, Our Woodland Birds, Our Songbirds, Penguins and Other Seabirds and A Charm of Goldfinches. Matt is a regular contributor to the Caught by the River website; has illustrated a host of publications, including for The Guardian and The Big Issue; painted walls for Helly Hansen, Puma and the RSPB, and exhibited in London, New York, Tokyo and Paris.
Matt will be bringing his popular ‘Spotting & Jotting’ workshop to Monty Lit Fest in which he will teach you how to draw your own bird book in 40 minutes, learning how to sketch all your favourite birds from drawing simple shapes, and how to spot them too.
Neil Spring is a bestselling author of psychological thrillers. His critically acclaimed first novel The Ghost Hunters (2013) was made into a one-off film by ITV in 2015, Harry Price: Ghost Hunter, starring Rafe Spall. The Watchers (2015) was shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize and is being developed for film by DNA Films. His new novel, The Burning House, set on the shores of Loch Ness, was published by Quercus in March 2019. Neil was educated at the University of Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He is Welsh and lives in central London.
Cathryn Summerhayes is a literary agent at Curtis Brown. Previously, she worked at WME for ten years, several British literary agencies and Colman Getty PR, where she worked on high profile book events including the Man Booker and Samuel Johnson Prizes. She is actively involved in Port Eliot Literary Festival and Hay and Edinburgh International Festivals. She was shortlisted for The British Book Awards’ Agent of the Year in 2016 and winner of this award in 2019. Her clients include Adam Kay, Mark Watson, Naomi Wood, Kirsty Logan, Susan Fletcher, Johanna Basford, Rose McGowan, Grace Dent, Ranulph Fiennes, Lucy Foley, Russell Norman, Mark Hix and Clemmie Hooper.
Cathryn will be in conversation with Neil Spring.
George Westropp spent 40 years in the City of London as a Fleet Street financial journalist, one of the pioneers of the financial PR industry, and then a Partner at accounting and consulting firm Deloitte & Touche. He has always been a writer and contributes articles to game fishing and countryside magazines, has self-published four historical novels and commentates on financial and business matters. He is also a Director (and former Chairman) of the London Press Club, one of the judges of the much-respected annual London Press Club Awards and Vice Chairman of Salmon & Trout Conservation UK.
Winners of The New Welsh Writing Awards 2019
Now in its fifth year, The New Welsh Writing Awards 2019 seeks the best short form writing (between 5,000 – 30,000 words) across two categories, the Aberystwyth University Prize for a Dystopian Novella and the Rheidol Prize for Writing with a Welsh Theme or Setting. New Welsh Review editor Gwen Davies and author Cynan Jones are co-judges for the Rheidol Prize and Gwen is sole judge for the Aberystwyth University Prize. In this panel event, Gwen and Cynan will introduce the winners of both categories, who will have just have been awarded with their £1,000 top prize at a ceremony at the Hay Festival, and the authors will read from their prize-winning works which will be published in e-book format in 2020 under the New Welsh Rarebyte imprint.