Northern Lights Writers Conference 2019 - Speaker Biographies 

Dan Berry

Dan Berry is a cartoonist, illustrator and educator. He is the co-creator of the book The Three Rooms In Valerie’s Head with author David Gaffney and was nominated for an Eisner Award for the anthology 24 By 7. He has been independently publishing his own comics for a decade. He is the host of the podcast Make It Then Tell Everybody.

Between 2008 and 2019 Dan ran a university degree course in comics and graphic novels. He lives in Shropshire with his wife and two very rude children.

Twitter: @thingsbydan

Ian Daley

Ian is a book editor and publisher with over 25 years experience of finding audiences for new writing and adding new voices into the literary landscape. As well as publishing books, he has published newspapers, magazines, comics and CDs, in addition to organising tours and live literature events. He is currently the editor of the independent publishing house Route, which he founded in 2000.

Twitter: @Route_News

Richard Evans

Richard is writer and director of Aeon, a multi-platform science fiction story spanning a smartphone app, web series and immersive theatre. He is also coordinator for CIT.

Twitter: @This_Is_Aeon

Adam Farrer

Adam is a humorist, creative nonfiction writer and spoken word performer based in Manchester. He has been the Editor of The Real Story since 2015 and this year became the inaugural Writer in Residence for Peel Park, Salford.

Twitter: @RealStoryUK

David Gaffney

David comes from Cleator Moor in West Cumbria and lives in Manchester. He is the author of four collections of short fiction, Sawn-off Tales (2006), Aromabingo (2007), The Half-life of Songs (2010) and More Sawn-Off Tales (2013), two novels, Never Never (2008) and All The Places I’ve Ever Lived (2017), and graphic novel The Three Rooms in Valerie’s Head. A third novel and second graphic novel are on their way.

David has written articles for The Guardian, The Sunday Times, Financial Times and Prospect magazine. “One hundred and fifty words by Gaffney are more worthwhile than novels by a good many others” – The Guardian.

Twitter: @ggaffa

Lisa Holdsworth

Lisa won her first UK TV commission in 2001 on Fat Friends. She then joined the writing team of the long-running soap, Emmerdale, for three years before heading off to write New Tricks, winning the Royal Television Society’s Yorkshire Best Writer award for one of her episodes. Since then she has written for Waterloo Road, Robin Hood, Midsomer Murders, Ackley Bridge, Call The Midwife, All Creatures Great & Small and Discovery of Witches. For theatre, she wrote Rugby Songs for Slung Low Theatre Company and Black Teeth & A Brilliant Smile for Freedom Studios.

Twitter: @WorksWithWords

Tilda Johnson

After four years at David Fickling Books, Tilda moved to Penguin Random House Children’s, before joining the Hot Key Books and Piccadilly Press team as Senior Commissioning Editor.

There, she worked closely with both emerging and established children’s and YA authors, including Mark Lowery, Robin Etherington, Jo Cotterill, T S Easton, Julie Mayhew and Sebastien de Castell. Having relocated to the north of England, Tilda now works as a freelance editor, and her clients include Oxford University Press, Bloomsbury, Speckled Pen and Orion Children’s Books.

Twitter: @TildaJaneJ

Sheena Kalayil

Sheena was born in Zambia in 1970 where her parents were teachers seconded from Kerala, India. She arrived in the UK aged eighteen and, after graduating, worked all over the world. She has a doctorate in Linguistics, teaches at the University of Manchester and lives near Manchester with her husband and two daughters. She is the author of

The Bureau of Second Chances (Polygon, 2017), which won the Writers' Guild Best First Novel Award and The Inheritance (Polygon, 2018).

Peter Kalu

Peter’s Young Adult novels, Silent Striker,  Being Me and Zombie XI, have been published recently by HopeRoad.  His short story, Getting Home (The Proofreader’s Sigh) can be found in the  2015 Peepal Tree short story collection, Closure. Among his other publications are the romantic comedy Diary of a Househusband and the science fiction novel Black Star Rising (both X Press). Until recently, he ran a carnival band, The Moko Jumbies.

Twitter: @peterkalu 

Louise Lamont

Louise Lamont is a literary agent at LBA Books, where she represents a broad range of authors, illustrators and brands.

Twitter: @LLMonts

Will Mackie

Will project manages the Northern Writers’ Awards, the talent-development programme for writers in Northern England, and is the main contact for libraries, publishers and authors involved in Read Regional. He also manages some of New Writing North’s prizes, and works with Northumbria University to deliver module content on Creative Writing programmes. He previously worked in publishing as a fiction and poetry editor, as well as at the reading and writing charity Scottish Book Trust.

Twitter: @WilliamJMackie

Martin Reed

Martin leads the Communications team and Membership team at the Society of Authors. He oversees the SoA's strategic communications and campaign-based activities, including PR, social media, events and partnerships.

Twitter: @IAmMartinReed

Jane Rogers

Jane Rogers is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, and radio dramatist. She is author of nine novels, including The Testament of Jessie Lamb, Man-Booker longlisted and winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award 2012. The title story of her collection Hitting Trees with Sticks was a BBC National Short story award finalist. 

Other works include Mr Wroe’s Virgins (which she dramatised for the BAFTA-nominated BBC drama series) and Her Living Image (Somerset Maugham Award). She has written original drama for Radio 4, and adapted numerous novels for the Classic Serial slot.

Jane is Emerita Professor of Writing at Sheffield Hallam, where she taught for many years. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, mentors for Gold Dust, and teaches Short Story for Faber Academy.

Her latest novel, Body Tourists, a dystopia, will be published by Sceptre in November.

Anita Sethi

Anita Sethi is an award-winning journalist, writer and critic and has written for publications including The Guardian, Observer, Granta, TLS, and appeared on BBC radio.  She has been published in several anthologies including Common People, the Seasons nature writing anthology, Seaside SpecialWe Mark Your Memory and is forthcoming in Women on Nature. She is a Judge of the British Book Awards 2019, the Society of Authors Awards 2019, and has been a Judge of the Costa Book Awards. She has interviewed many writers, artists and musicians and appeared at festivals around the world. She was born in Manchester, UK.

Twitter: @anitasethi

Luca Shaw

Luca is a freelance artist and designer. With a particular interest in printmaking and bound print, she shares her work through print fairs and an online shop. Her work extends into moving image, primarily in a theatre and performance setting. She has worked on multiple freelance projects working with musicians and as part of residencies and is curator of CIT’s Loom Magazine.

Instagram @luca.visual

About Our Hosts

Kate Feld

Kate is a writer, journalist and blogger, as well as lecturer in digital journalism at the University of Salford. She is founding director of digital writing organisation Openstories, whose Arts Council-funded projects include Rainy City Stories: an interactive writers’ map of Manchester; the long-running Blog North Awards; and, currently, The Real Story, a writing development project devoted to promoting the form of creative nonfiction in the UK.

Twitter: @katefeld

Ric Michael

Ric has produced ground breaking work in Music, Live Literature, Poetry and Comedy as well as Multi-platform, Radio and TV. He launched Manchester Poetry Festival in 1994 with Henry Normal and produced events and has written for Channel 4 before becoming Head of Development for the award-winning Baby Cow Manchester. He is programme leader for the BA in Television and Radio at the University of Salford.

Twitter: @ricmichael