2015 festival: Authors

See below for a summary – or click “Read more …” or use the pull down menu on the Author tab for fuller biographies.


small photo of Matt BiggsGardeners’ Tea Time

Matt Biggs is best known for his appearances on the long running BBC Radio 4 programme Gardeners’ Question Time. He has been a professional gardener for over 20 years, since studying at Pershore College of Horticulture and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

His first appearance on TV was on Channel 4’s Garden Club. He is a contributor to BBC Gardeners’ World magazine and… Read more …



Michael Calvin head photoWhat Makes a Great Sports Book?

Michael Calvin is an award winning journalist and writer. He has twice been named Sportswriter of the Year, twice named Sports Reporter of the Year and has been honoured at the British Press awards on six other occasions.

He was Chief Sportswriter for 12 years on the Daily Telegraph, held similar positions at The Times and Mail on Sunday and is currently a columnist for The Independent. He is the author of five books covering cricket, football, rugby and his involvement in a round the world yacht race. Read more …



Sophie Hannah head photoAgatha Christie and Me

Sophie Hannah is the internationally bestselling author of nine crime thrillers, which have been published in more than 20 countries. Two of Sophie’s novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, were adapted for ITV’s Case Sensitive series in 2011 and 2012 and in 2013 The Carrier won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award.

Last year Sophie published a new mystery novel starring Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous detective. Read more …



Jane Hawking head photoIn Conversation

Writer and lecturer Jane Hawking grew up in St. Albans and was awarded a doctorate in Romance languages at Westfield College in London. She was married to the renowned scientist Stephen Hawking for more than 25 years.

Her memoir of their marriage and life together, Travelling to Infinity was adapted for this year’s Oscar-winning film, The Theory of Everything starring Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking and Felicity Jones as Jane. Read more …



Start the Day with a Story

Judith is Head of English at Beechwood Park School – based in a classroom next door to a library with over 5,000 books. She has organised events to celebrate World Book Day, a Readathon for children’s charities and a book exchange.

Judith was involved in the Books at Bedtime story event at last year’s St. Albans Literary Festival giving young book-lovers the chance to curl up in their pyjamas with a cup of cocoa and enjoy a story-telling session. Read more …



Vikki Orvice head photoIn Conversation

Vikki Orvice has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 24 spent on national newspapers including The Observer and The Daily Mail. In 1995 she joined The Sun as a staff football writer, the first female appointment of its kind by a tabloid in this country.

Her work – which since 2000 has included a role as the paper’s Athletics Correspondent – has taken her from the Football Conference to European Championships and World Cups as well as four Olympics, … Read more …



photo of Ridley

What Makes a Great Sports Book?

Ian Ridley is the author of 10 football books, including the number one best-selling Addicted with former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams, which was nominated for the William Hill Sports book of the Year, and Tales from the Boot Camps with Steve Claridge.

His most recent book Added Time, the biography of former Premier League referee Mark Halsey, was short-listed for the 2014 British Sports Books Awards. Read more …



Alex Scarrow head photoTimeRiders

Alex Scarrow used to be a rock guitarist and, after a decade in various unsuccessful bands, worked in the computer games industry as a lead games designer. But since 2006, when his first adult novel A Thousand Suns was published, he has been a full time writer.

He is now most widely known as the author of bestselling children’s books, notably the TimeRider series published by Puffin, which has been sold into over 30 foreign territories and the Ellie Quin adventures. Read more …



Jane Taylor head photoCreative Writing Workshop

Jane has a doctorate in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of East Anglia. She has taught journalism in universities in London, Surrey and Hertfordshire and also contributed to a guide for journalists on the genre of feature writing, its style and tones.

Her debut novel Over Here, set during the era of the great passenger liners, was published last October. Read more …



photo of Laura TrinderComic Consequences

Laura Trinder studied Fine Art at university and is now a freelance book illustrator and bookseller. In 2009 she co-founded Improper Books, a publisher which focuses on graphic stories and fantasy works.

Laura’s days consist of either reading, recommending or creating books which as she admits is not too bad for a book-lover! Read more …