Meet Our Panelists

Melissa Addey – Lunchtime Workshop

Melissa Addey mainly writes historical fiction and is currently writing two series, which are set in very different eras: China in the 18th century and Morocco/Spain in the 11th century. Her first novel, The Fragrant Concubine, was picked for Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society and longlisted for the Mslexia Novel Competition. She published a prequel entitled The Consorts. In 2016, she was made the Leverhulme Trust Writer in Residence at the British Library, which included writing two books, Merchandise for Authors and The Storytelling Entrepreneur. Melissa is currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Surrey, and she lives in London with her husband and two children.

‘I love using my writing to interact with people and run regular workshops at the British Library as well as coaching other writers on a one-to-one basis.’

Gemma Connell – Evening Soiree


Gemma Connell is the Artistic Director of The Artifact, a post-hip-hop company which creates dance in conversation with other art forms. Gemma began her career as a Producer, working with the Manchester International Festival, Pavilion Dance South West and Cheshire Dance. She has worked with Rosie Kay Dance Company, Youth Theatre Arts Scotland and Fun Palaces as a freelance dance artist, and on a variety of Olympic projects, including as a Stage Manager for Piccadilly Circus Circus, part of the Mayor of London’s Surprises in 2012. She holds an MFA (Distinction) in Art, Society and Publics at The University of Dundee, through which she explored the history and evolution of Hip Hop dance genres, the notion of post-hip-hop and their relationship to her own practice, whilst developing Hip Hop dance work for theatres, galleries, museums and film, with accompanying visual art and publications. Gemma’s most recent venture comes in the form of a doctorate, as PhD Candidate at The University of Surrey, in receipt of the Doctoral College Studentship Award, and researching Hip Hop Dance as a response to gender and sexuality based trauma since the 1970s.

Jonathon Crewe – Writing for Television and Film


On graduating with a BA Film and Drama, Jonathon Crew founded The Human Factory filmmaking collective where he wrote and directed a number of award nominated short films, including the internationally exhibited short Quantum. He completed Royal Holloway’s Skillset Accredited MA Feature Film Screenwriting, where his feature screenplay ‘Donna4Eva’ was shortlisted for a David Lean Award. He was subsequently commissioned to write feature screenplays for Fireback Films, all currently in development. Teaming up with Dirty Negative Films and ThreeBrainCells, he continued to write and direct short films, culminating in the internationally acclaimed ‘American Gun’ (Aesthetica UK, Bornshorts Denmark, EuroShorts Warsaw, Open Cinema St Petersburg, Edinburgh Shorts, Renderyard Spain, Berlin Shorts, Budapest). For radio, he has written and directed three broadcast feature plays – ‘Tangier’, ‘Toy Soldier’, and ‘Entangled’. He was subsequently commissioned by WhoSaid? Theatre to adapt and direct ‘Toy Soldier’ for a two week off-West End run in 2016. He is currently working on his follow-up with WhoSaid?, to be staged late 2018.

He completed a PhD Creative Writing at Surrey University, where he lectured in Screenwriting and Filmmaking. He is currently Course Leader and Lecturer in Film Production at the University of West London. His debut feature film, ‘Face2Face’, is currently in the final stages of post-production, due for release in late 2018. He’s now developing his next feature film, ‘Tender’.

Stewart Ferris – Literary Start-ups


Stewart Ferris is the author of The Ballashiels Mysteries, a series of novels and short stories that weave historical facts and people into fictional storylines, and embroils modern day characters in the consequences of these past events. Amateur historian Lord ‘Ratty’ Ballashiels is the semi-comedic hero of each book. He is a kind of Bertie Wooster adrift in the 21st century, utterly unsuited to the adventures in which he becomes entangled in the pursuit of lost treasures, ancient artefacts and answers to unsolved mysteries. Published books in this series are The Sphinx Swindle, The Sphinx Scrolls, The Genesis Glitch and The Dali Diaries. He has also written The Reluctant Rescue (available May 2018), the true story of how a stray dog in a Greek port found her way into the hearts of an English family. Stewart has an MA in Creative Writing and is currently studying for a PhD.

Jennifer Good – Writing for Television and Film

Jenny Good

Jennifer Good graduated Ryerson University’s Radio and Television Arts Programme in 2004 and begun working at Much Music. She then moved over to the national broadcaster CBC, where by 2010 she became their first ever Manager of Programme Development for all departments and genres. But London had been calling since her third year exchange there to Westminster University. And in 2011, she answered. Working for a short time at the BBC’s iplayer and Red Bee, she moved over to October Films in Development where she worked for 6 years in Factual Programming. She also worked at Warner Brother’s Ricochet in Development but has decided to branch out. Now freelance, Jennifer is Developing and Producing content as well as writing a feature film.

Catherine Graham – Evening Soiree


Catherine Graham is a Toronto-based writer of poetry and fiction. Among her six poetry collections, The Celery Forest was named a CBC Books Top 10 Canadian Poetry Collection of 2017 and Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects was a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award and CAA Award for Poetry. Her debut novel Quarry won an Independent Publisher Book Awards gold medal for fiction. She received an Excellence in Teaching Award at the University of Toronto and was also winner of IFOA’s Poetry NOW. Her work is anthologized internationally and she has appeared on CBC Radio One’s The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers. Graham has read her work at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester, the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City and Thessaloniki International Book Fair.

Peggy Hughes – Gathering a Creative Support System


Peggy Hughes has been Programme Director of Writers’ Centre Norwich since November 2017. Writers’ Centre Norwich will reopen this summer as the National Centre for Writing, a physical home for literature in England’s first UNESCO City of Literature. Before moving to Norwich, she worked in the literature sector in Scotland, with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, Scottish Poetry Library, and Literary Dundee (an initiative of the University of Dundee), where, as Director, where she produced and delivered the annual Dundee Literary Festival, among other projects and publications. She is Chair of Literature Alliance Scotland, the collective voice of Scotland’s literature and languages community, advancing its interests at home and abroad. Peggy spends her spare time reading, writing and talking about books.

Tom Jenks – Evening Soiree

Tom Jenks picture[1]

Tom Jenks is a poet with a number of books published. He co-organisea, with James Davies and Scott Thurston, The Other Room experimental poetry reading series, and he is website and administer for the avant objects imprint ‘zimzalla’.

Ellie Kerr-Smiley – Gathering a Creative Support System


Ellie Kerr-Smiley is a writer and artist based in Winchester, Hampshire. Her academic work focuses on textual-visual hybridity and the canonical and contextual ramifications that this hybridity can have in a literary narrative. Her writing focuses on character and interpersonal dynamics as well as drawing on personal experience to discuss the overlapping lines of memory and truth and fiction and reality. Ellie chaired last year’s panel ‘Genre and the Novel’.

Charlotte Ledger – PR and Marketing


Charlotte Ledger is Editorial Director at Harper Fiction. She began working in publishing in 2011 at romance publisher Harlequin/Mills & Boon, where she gained invaluable experience of fast-paced, commercial and global romance publishing. Since moving to HarperCollins in 2013, Charlotte acquires for the Harper Fiction list and runs the award-winning digital-first imprints, HarperImpulse and Killer Reads. She works on authors across commercial women’s fiction including Irish Times bestseller Carmel Harrington, USA Today bestseller Sue Fortin, and exciting debut author Joe Heap.

Jeanette Lynes – PR and Marketing/Evening Soiree


Jeanette Lynes’ second novel, The Small Things That End The World, was published by Coteau Books in May, 2018. Her first novel, The Factory Voice (Coteau Books) was long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and a Re-Lit Award. Jeanette’s seventh poetry collection, Bedlam Cowslip: The John Clare Poems (Wolsak and Wynn/Buckrider Books) received the 2016 Saskatchewan Arts Board Poetry Award. Jeanette has taught writing at The Sage Hill Writing Experience and The Banff Centre; she has been a Writer in Residence at Saskatoon Public Library, Northern Lights College, and Kwantlyn Polytechnic University. A recent Visiting Fellow at Bard Graduate Center in New York City and the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Jeanette directs the MFA in Writing at the University of Saskatchewan where she also teaches writing. She lives in Saskatoon.

Kylie Rollé – Literary Start-Ups


Kylie Rollé is a 25 year old PhD student at the University of Surrey studying citizenship, race, identity, and education. She spends most of her time selling soap in a tiny Guildford shop, writing poems on receipt paper, and listening to Schubert’s symphonies.

M.E. Rollé – Literary Start-Ups


M.E. Rollé spent twelve years as an environmental attorney for U.S. government before her repressed creative side took over. She moved to the UK in 2015 and is now a postgraduate researcher and seminar tutor in creative writing at the University of Surrey. She has published several short stories and her first novel is near completion. She has read for Granta and Dark Mountain, and founded Stag Hill Literary Journal in 2017 with Stewart Ferris.

Michael Roke – Festival DJ and Emcee

Mike R

A graduate from the University of Surrey’s Creative Writing MA programme, Michael is a writer of fiction and non-fiction that explores the relationship between loss and identity. For his dissertation he submitted a piece of work that charted his personal struggle with identity following his father’s passing and his mother’s admission into hospital. His current project, still in the infant stages of development, will scrutinize people’s growing dependence on digital communication over physical interaction and the effect it is having on identity. Michael is also the lead singer of a classic and heavy rock covers band and can often be found performing in venues around Surrey and Hampshire.

Broc Silva – Literary Start-Ups


Broc Silva is a Hampshire born writer of novels, short stories and poetry. After releasing novels, poetry volumes, and short story compilations, a small crisis of confidence has brought a change – Broc will be releasing a number of books over the coming year under the name H. C. Hendrix. The first will be a classic sci-fi adventure, Astaar 2062, to be followed by a fantasy, conspiracy-theory, romance entitled The Eelii. A number of poetry volumes will follow soon after. Broc lives in Guildford where he is studying Creative Writing, English, Poetry and all things literature-based.

Jas Smith – Gathering a Creative Support System     


Jas Smith is an emerging writer and artist from sunny Bexhill on sea. After 4 years of living in Guildford, Jas graduated from the University of Surrey in 2017 with a Masters in Creative Writing. She has been attending the Writer’s Fest for 3 years. Jas is currently working on her first novel and also a collection of short stories. Her work is inspired by music, real life events and focuses character development.

Laura Williams – PR and Marketing

Laura Williams PFD photo

Laura Williams is an agent at Peters Fraser and Dunlop, where she has been working since 2011, after completing a degree in Classics at Oxford. She is actively building a fiction list and a small non-fiction list. She is currently looking for literary fiction, edgy commercial fiction, psychological thrillers and high-concept contemporary young adult, as well as narrative non-fiction of all kinds.

Lydia Yeoman – Writing for Television and Film


Lydia Yeoman is a writer and script editor from Bristol. She is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Asia where she gained her MFA in Dramatic Writing. She has worked as a script editor on several films, both shorts and features, as well as working as a script reader for FilmNation Entertainment. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Screenwriting, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of England and is a Visiting Lecturer in Screenwriting at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her online event series, The Desert, is currently in post production and is due for release in mid 2018.

Also to appear: 

Marek Czubala, Holly Luhning, Rachel Marsh, Steven O’Brien and Paul Vlitos.