This Year's Authors

Information about the authors taking part in the 2015 festival are listed below alphabetically.

Anna Freeman

Anna is a novelist, multiple poetry slam champion, creative writing lecturer at Bath Spa University and producer for Bristol Old Vic. Her first novel, The Fair Fight, won The Tibor Jones Pageturner Prize 2013, and has been optioned for TV drama by the BBC.

AJ McKenna

AJ describes herself as a fat trans lesbian known mainly for shouting at people about death threats, hair removal cream and public toilets. A multiple slam-winning performance poet, journalist, educator and LGBT rights activist, AJ uses her unique combination of humour, passion and vulnerability to tackle prejudice head-on and to make audiences think.


Bidisha began writing for publications at 14 and signed her first book deal at 16. She is now a Booker Prize Foundation trustee and Guardian journalist with two published novels, the travelogue Venetian Masters (2008) and the internationally acclaimed reportage Beyond the Wall: Writing a Path Through Palestine (2012). Asylum and Exile is her fifth book. 

Edson Burton

Edson published his first collection of poetry, Seasoned, in 2008. His first full-length production was the acclaimed Children of Salt. Edson has written plays for theatre and radio, including his most recent, De Wife of Bristol, broadcast in 2014. Edson is a regular guest on several Radio 4 programmes including Poetry Please and Off the Page. 

Helen Lederer 

Helen started out as part of a group of early 1980s comedians, including Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, the late Rik Mayall and Ben Elton who made their names at London’s Comedy Store. She is best known for her role as dippy Catriona in Absolutely Fabulous, as well as creating the 'Girl at the Bar' in Naked Video.

Helen Lederer

Helen Lederer

Holly Davey

Holly is a lens-based artist working with ideas around performance, architecture and memory. Her process means that she works closely with ideas surrounding place and archival collections mostly online and library/museum based. She has recently researched the collection at Bath’s Holburne Museum, with a particular interest in the three Holburne sisters.

Ian Buxton

Ian has been working in and around the whisky industry for over 20 years, but has been drinking professionally for a good deal longer. He began writing regularly for Whisky Magazine shortly after it launched, and now also writes for The Keeper, Country Life, Scotland Magazine, Scottish Field and in Russia for Whisky and Magnum magazines. He has published a number of books, including 101 Legendary Whiskies. 

Imogen Robertson

Since 2009, Imogen has written five novels in the Westerman and Crowther crime series which is set in the late 18th century, beginning with Instruments of Darkness. The new volume in the series, Theft of Life, is set in London against the background of the transatlantic slave trade. Imogen is currently Writer in Residence at the University of Plymouth.

Isabel Galleymore

Isabel Galleymore's first pamphlet, Dazzle Ship, was published in 2014 by Worple Press. Her poems have featured in Poetry Review, Poetry London and The Rialto and received first prize in this year's London Magazine Poetry Competition. She is currently finishing her PhD at the University of Exeter where she is also co-editor for The Clearing - an online magazine of writing about place and landscape. Isabel looks forward to taking up her place as the next Charles Causley Poet in Residence.

John Hegley

Starting out as a busker in the late 1970s and fronting the Popticians in the 1980s, John has since performed his words, sung and spoken across the BBC, produced ten books of verse and prose pieces, two CDs and one mug. His writing covers dog hair, potatoes and handkerchiefs in a philosophical framework. He performs regularly around the country and is an urgent ukulele player.

Judy Finnigan

Judy is a bestselling author, television presenter and columnist. In 2004, Judy's name became synonymous with discovering and sharing great fiction, through the Richard and Judy Book Club, where authors including Kate Mosse, Rosamund Lupton and Victoria Hislop were championed and brought to the attention of millions of readers.

Justin Coe

An endearingly warm and funny performance poet and compere, Justin's generous sense of the silly has made his poetry popular with children, but he can also pack his humour-full performances with energy, honesty and pathos. His performances have been enjoyed by audiences at poetry evenings, comedy gigs and festivals all over the world.

Mark Sennen

Mark is the author of the successful, Plymouth-based DI Charlotte Savage series of thrillers that include Touch, Bad Blood, Cut Dead and Tell Tale.

Matt Haig 

Matt suffered a breakdown in his early twenties. He now believes that reading and writing books saved his life, and that “in a world trying to increasingly isolate us from our environment and our true selves, books are our route to freedom, and to each other”. His novels include the bestsellers The Last Family in England, The Radleys and The Humans.

The Guardian summed up his writing as “funny, clever and quite, quite lovely”, while The Times and the New York Times called him "a writer of great talent.”

Paul Dodgson

Paul is a writer, radio producer, composer and teacher. He has written 15 plays for BBC Radio 4. He spent 18 months as part of the EastEnders writing team, wrote Monsters We Met for BBC 2 and has written music, lyrics and scripts for numerous musicals and stage plays. Paul teaches creative writing all over the world.

Shagufta K Iqbal

Shagufta K’s vivid thought-provoking work beautifully transports audiences to a world where gender, race and culture are examined through a fresh, passionate and exciting perspective. She is a bilingual poet, interested in bringing poetry to a wider audience, particularly through the use of spoken word, theatre and movement, and conveying what it means to be the embodiment of two diverse cultures.

Simon Scarrow 

Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author Simon Scarrow pursued his love of history as a teacher, becoming a full-time writer in 2005. His Roman soldier heroes Cato and Macro first stormed the bookshops in 2000 in Under the Eagle and have subsequently appeared in a number of other bestsellers including Centurion and The Gladiator. He is also the author of a quartet of novels about the lives of the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon Bonaparte.

Thurston Moore 

Thurston Moore is a singer-songwriter, composer, poet, author and publisher. In 1976, at 18 years of age, he moved to New York City and devoted himself to music and literature. In 1980, he founded and named the celebrated experimental rock band Sonic Youth, releasing their first album in 1981.

Tim Clare

Tim, a performance poet, heads up Homework, a regular poetry night in Bethnal Green. As a stand-up poet, Tim has performed nationwide including at the Edinburgh Fringe and countless festivals. He has appeared on TV, radio and has written articles for many newspapers and magazines. His debut novel The Honours was published in April this year.