2019 LINE UP
We had a fantastic line up for Manx Litfest 2019. Find out more about the authors, poets and performers that visited us by clicking on their profiles below.
JON BUCKERIDGE – PARABLE ARTS
GARETH L POWELL
EMMA CLAIRE SWEENEY
Rachel is a lifelong book fan, so it's perhaps inevitable she's become a librarian and an author. She lives in Douglas with her tolerant family and intolerant cat. The Flood is her first thriller.
Visit harpercollins.com/author/cr-133844/rachel-bennett for more information about Rachel's work.
JON BUCKERIDGE – PARABLE ARTS
Since graduating from the University of Wales in 2007, Jon has developed a broad experience of stage and screen performance, as well as establishing himself as an expert storyteller, gifted singer and multi-instrumentalist. Jon is an experienced writer, with works including A Long Road Home, Dreamkeepers, and Cinderella. His one-man production, The Forgotten Tales, has received critical acclaim at venues and festivals across the country. In addition to Parable, Jon is an ECSPC qualified performance combat instructor and fight director, and runs his own stage combat company Action Combat Choreography. Jon established Parable Arts in 2014, to explore the art of storytelling; bringing forgotten and half-remembered stories to life, and providing them a platform to shine.
Frank is the author of Millions, Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth, Framed, Cosmic, The Astounding Broccoli Boy, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang sequels and Runaway Robot. Frank’s first book, Millions, won the CILIP Carnegie Medal in 2004 and he also won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize for The Unforgettable Coat (Walker Books). Frank is a highly successful British screenwriter whose credits include Dr Who, The Railway Man, Millions and Goodbye Christopher Robin. Frank wrote the script for the Netflix Watership Down series which aired on BBC one in December 2018. Frank is also a judge for the BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition and, along with Danny Boyle, devised the Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics. He resides in Merseyside with his family.
You can catch Frank's Tweets @frankcottrell_b.
Juno has written several novels for young adults, including Hollow Pike, Margot & Me, and Spot the Difference, which she wrote for 2016 World Book Day.
She has won wide acclaim for her non-fiction titles on LGBT issues, including a guide to life for young LGBT people, This Book is Gay, while her book Mind Your Head featured everything a young persion needs to know about mental health.
Her debut book for adults was the memoir, The Gender Games, and last year she wrote The Good Doctor, the first Doctor Who adventure to feature 13th Doctor Jodie Whittaker. Her latest novel, Meat Market, was published by Quercus in May 2019, followed in June with the publication of What is Gender? How Does It Define Us? And Other Big Questions for Kids.
In 2015, Juno announced her intention to undergo gender transition and live as a woman. She is a regular contributor to Attitude Magazine, Glamour Magazine and The Guardian and has contributed to news items on BBC Women’s Hour, Front Row, ITV News, Channel 5 News, This Morning and Newsnight concerning sexuality, identity, literature and education.
Learn more about Juno at: www.junodawson.com.
Mark is an ex-English teacher, poet, battle rapper and 'viral sensation' (The Sun) with over 20 million views for his poetry and rap battle videos online. He starred in Channel 4's 'Mr Dew's School for Boys', Redbull TV's 'Mark Grist Battles the World' and has recently produced commissions for BBC Radio 1, BBC 2, Channel 4 and Google. Mark will be visiting secondary schools during Manx Litfest 2019, in addition to compering the Poetry Slam and performing his new show, 'Slacker-in-Law'.
Find out more about Mark at: www.markgrist.com.
Isabelle Kenyon is the Managing Director of Fly on the Wall Press, a socially conscious small press for chapbooks and anthologies, and the author of This is not a Spectacle, Micro chapbook, and Digging Holes To Another Continent (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, New York) and Potential (Ghost City Press).
Her poems have been published in journals including Indigo Dreams Publishing, Verve Poetry Press, Hedgehog Poetry Press, The Blue Nib, I Am Not A Silent Poet and more. Her book reviews, articles and blog posts have been published in various places such as Sabotage Reviews, Literally Darling, Authors Publish, Neon Books, London Grip, Harness magazine and Five Oaks Press. She has performed at Leeds International Festival as part of the 2019 'Sex Tapes' and performed for Apples and Snakes, celebrating the Apollo 50 anniversary.
Janet Lees is a poet, artist and poetry filmmaker. Her poetry has been widely published in journals and anthologies including Magma, Poetry News, Planet in Peril, and Fanfare: Poems by Contemporary Women Poets. She has won prizes in many different competitions and most recently won the Frosted Fire Firsts pamphlet competition. Her winning collection, A bag of sky, will be published this autumn by Frosted Fire Press, the publishing house of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival.
Her film-based works and art photography have been exhibited around the world, and last year she was the artist representing the Isle of Man at the Festival Interceltique in France. Her book, House of Water, featuring images paired with poems, was published in May 2019. Janet has been facilitating writing for wellbeing workshops in the Isle of Man since 2014, kindly supported by Isle of Man Arts Council and Year of Our Island.
You can learn more about Janet by visiting: janetlees.weebly.com.
Emma writes short stories, novels and novellas in multiple speculative fiction genres.
She won the British Fantasy Society Best Short Story Award 2015 for A Woman’s Place in the 221 Baker Streets anthology. Between Two Thorns, the first book in Emma’s Split Worlds urban fantasy series, was shortlisted for the BFS Best Novel and Best Newcomer 2014 awards. Her science-fiction novel, After Atlas, was shortlisted for the 2017 Arthur C. Clarke award and the third novel in the Planetfall series, Before Mars, was shortlisted for a BSFA Best Novel award.
Emma is an audiobook narrator and also co-wrote and hosted the Alfie and Hugo Award winning podcast ‘Tea and Jeopardy’. Her hobbies include dressmaking and role playing.
GARETH L POWELL
Gareth is a speculative fiction author from the UK. He has twice won the BSFA Award for Best Novel (Ack-Ack Macaque and Embers of War) and been shortlisted for the Seiun Awards in Japan. His novels and novellas have been published in the UK and US by Solaris, Titan Books, and Tor.com Publishing. Gareth has run creative writing workshops and given guest lectures at UK universities, been a guest speaker at the Arvon Foundation in Shropshire, and given talks about creative writing at various literature festivals around the country. His nonfiction book About Writing is an essential field guide for aspiring authors.
You can explore Gareth's work at: www.garethlpowell.com.
Chris Priestley worked as an illustrator and cartoonist for twenty years before becoming a writer. His books have been nominated for many awards including the Edgar Awards, the UKLA Children's Book Award and the Carnegie Medal. The award-winning and critically-acclaimed Tales of Terror series for Bloomsbury feature chilling stories rooted in the tradition of M R James, Saki and Edgar Allan Poe and are available in many languages. Mister Creecher is a novel inspired by, and linked to, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. He has written two illustrated YA novels – Anything That Isn't This and Superpowerless. In October 2017 he published the first in a funny middle-grade series called Maudlin Towers.
Learn more about Chris's work at: www.chrispriestleybooks.com.
Tom was born in London and raised in Vancouver. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the Columbia School of Journalism and has been a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press (stationed in Rome, with assignments taking him to Japan, South Korea, Turkey and Egypt, among other places). Since 2006, he has worked as an editor at the International Herald Tribune in Paris.
He is the author of The Imperfectionists, a bestseller published in ten countries; The Rise and Fall of Great Powers; Basket of Deplorables and his most recent novel, The Italian Teacher.
Further details about Tom's books can be found at: www.tomrachman.com/.
Jonathan has worked in the UK book trade for 23 years, including 13 years at London's most famous bookshop, Foyles. He founded The Ruppin Agency in 2017, with the aim of promoting writers from underrepresented communities. He has judged a dozen literary awards, including the Costa Novel Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and Desmond Elliott Award. He has interviewed hundreds of authors in print and on stage, and his journalism encompasses television, radio and print. He sits on English PEN's Writers in Translation committee; he founded and runs the English PEN Translated Literature Book Club.
Nadia enjoyed making homemade magazines and comics as a child, and after years of doodling in the sidelines as an adult, she was accepted onto an MA course in Children’s Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin. Her debut book Good Little Wolf received a mention in the Bologna Ragazzi Opera Prima Award, and went on to win the UKLA Book Award. Nadia’s subsequent books have since been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, The Sainsbury’s Book Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. Nadia now writes and draws full time. In 2017 she also partnered with Book Trust to promote their Time To Read campaign, and 700,000 copies of The Bumblebear were distributed to schoolchildren across the UK. In 2018, Nadia became Book Trust’s official Writer In Residence.
In her spare time, Nadia enjoys obsessing over music, cooking curry, hanging out with her unfriendly cats, going for long walks and getting lost in sheep fields. She lives in London but dreams of living in a castle by the sea with a small army of trained wolves.
Visit www.nadiashireen.org to learn more about Nadia.
Simon is the founder of the Wildflowers of the Isle of Man and manxwildflowers.com, which provide pictures and information about the Island's plants and flowers. Through the summer months he also leads guided walks, seeking out rare plants in their natural habitat and talking about their properties and uses. Simon is the author of 11 educational books, but this year he has embarked upon his first wildflower book: Isle of Man Wildflower Walks. The book aims to bring the Island's nature to a wider audience, showing the reader which plants can be found in many different parts of the island.
EMMA CLAIRE SWEENEY
Emma has won Arts Council, Royal Literary Fund and Escalator Awards, and has been shortlisted for several others, including the Asham, Wasafiri and Fish. She publishes arts features and pieces on disability for the likes of the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday, Mslexia and The Times, and co-runs SomethingRhymed.com – a website on female literary friendship. She currently teaches creative writing at New York University, and has previously worked for Cambridge, City University’s Novel Studio and the OU. She is a fellow of Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory in Armenia and Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild in the USA, and has also held writing residencies at Camden Carers, Eastside Educational Trust, Circle of Misse and Sunnyside Rural Trust – which resulted in the publication of The Memoir Garden: a collection of poems from the words and experiences of adults with learning disabilities. Emma's debut novel, Owl Song at Dawn, which was inspired by her sister who has cerebral palsy and autism, was published by Legend Press in 2016. A Secret Sisterhood: The Hidden Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf, which she co-wrote with her friend, Emily Midorikawa, was published in 2017 with Aurum Press in the UK and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the USA.
Find our more about Emma at: emmaclairesweeney.com.