Walter and the Resurrection of G
Timothy Armstrong was born in Essex in 1957. He read Modern Languages at Oxford and studied Philosophy at London University. He has translated philosophical works from French and German into English and has a passionate interest in music, playing keyboards and singing in a Canterbury based blues band. At the start of his professional career, he taught French and German in Bedford and is currently Head of Modern Languages at the King’s School, Canterbury. He is married and has two children.
His first novel, Walter and the Resurrection of G, won the Author’s Club best first novel of the year award, and his second novel Cecilia’s Vision was published in the UK and in Germany. Both reflect his fascination with the Middle Ages, with poetry, and with unusual philosophical takes on life
I am England
Patricia Wright lives in the Sussex countryside and uses this familiar and beloved landscape as the backdrop to her 1987 Georgette Heyer award-winning novel, I am England. She is also the author of several previous novels, such as Heart of the Storm and Journey into Fire, and many historical articles.
Kiss and Kin
Angela Lambert, was a first-rate writer in a number of genres. She was a journalist, social historian and biographer, and a novelist. Her greatest success came in 1998 when her novel, A Rather English Marriage, first published in 1992, was adapted by Andrew Davies as a BBC television drama. Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Joanna Lumley played the main parts and the production won four of the seven main Bafta awards for which it was nominated.
She published her first book, Unquiet Souls, in 1984. While she was experimenting with fiction at the time, it was social history that came first. The “souls” were the members of a group of upper-class families in the late 19th century, who were more interested in ideas than in traditional country pursuits – the Asquiths, the Balfours, the Curzons and the Tennants prominent among them. Their tastes, they liked to think, were very refined. As well as 1939: the Last Season of Peace, 1989 saw the publication of her first novel, Love Among the Single Classes. She had finally begun the career she wanted, yet she always maintained an involvement in journalism, and had a particularly successful period at the newly-launched Independent from 1988 to 1995. She was also a valued contributor to the Daily Mail and the Sunday Telegraph.
Love Among the Single Classes is a study of a divorced woman of 44, Constance Liddell. It’s theme emerges from Constance’s explanation that “it’s true that I have a susceptible heart – but then, we who are members of the single class, unmarried and unattached, are always waiting to fall in love”. But Constance cannot shake off her upbringing before the watershed of the 1960s – “I remain hidebound by the pre-pill morality and my parents’ fossilised attitudes.”
Lambert’s next two novels, No Talking After Lights (1990) and A Rather English Marriage (1992), explored school and family life as she knew it in her unhappy youth. She had hated her school and felt ignored by her parents.
Lambert was to write a further four novels, but she became less widely reviewed and, to her disquiet, began to find herself classified as a romantic novelist. She was even named romantic novelist of the year in 1998 for her book Kiss and Kin and awarded a £5,000 prize. In 2004, she embarked on her biography, The Lost Life of Eva Braun.
King of the Wood
Popular British historical fiction and mystery writer Valerie Anand brings past times and conundrums to life with fascinating characters, abundant detail and meticulous research in her twenty-one novels. In the United States she’s been known under her pen name Fiona Buckley for her historical mystery series set in the early years of Elizabeth I’s reign featuring Ursula Blanchard.
Valerie Anand was born in London and knew at the age of six that she wanted to be an author. At the age of fifteen, she saw MGM’s film Ivanhoe. She walked into the cinema knowing that she wanted to be a novelist and walked out of it knowing that historical novels were the kind she most wanted to write. Over the course of her long and distinguished writing career, Valerie has written many works of historical fiction and is well known for the Ursula Blanchard series of Elizabethan mysteries written under the pen name of Fiona Buckley. Still living in London, Valerie Anand is a frequent visitor to Exmoor which she loves and is the setting featured in The House of Lanyon.
LESLEY J NICKELL
The White Queen of Middleham, Sons of York and Perkin
In spite of her early passion for the 17th century, Lesley’s first three novels and a work of non-fiction were about the 15th century. Her story of Anne Neville was the second of five historical novels that she wrote, and the only one of her books that was published before her death.
Not surprisingly, one of her passions was going to the theatre – initially ballet, but increasingly plays and especially anything by the RSC. When she got a car at the age of 18, and for many years after, she and her sister spent a whole week in Stratford every year, seeing every play in the repertoire. That included 1963 when all of Shakespeare’s histories were performed.
In 1970, aged 26, she moved to Stratford and lived there until her death in 2013, happily surrounded by historical buildings, historians and archivists, theatres, actors, authors and musicians.
At school, she started writing; and she never stopped. She wrote short stories, reviews of plays, studies of historical characters – and some of these appeared in publications such as magazines and specialist newspapers. Then in 1970, shortly before she moved to Stratford, she started writing her first full-length novel.
Although it was another 6 or 7 years before Lesley starting writing her first novel, the ideas had clearly germinated long before and the reading and research never stopped. She wrote three novels set in the 15th century, the trilogy “Sprigs of Broom“: She was a runner-up for the Georgette Heyer award for The White Queen of Middleham.
Vainglory and Lovesong
Geraldine McCaughrean has written over 170 books, plays and retellings and won dozens of prizes including the Whitbread (Costa) prize three times. She has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal seven times.
Vainglory was selected for the Summer Reading Gift to the Royal family. Of Lovesong, Phillipa Gregory wrote, “This is probably the best historical novel I have ever read.”
Best known of her children’s books is Peter Pan in Scarlet, the official sequel to J M Barrie’s Peter Pan, which sold in over 50 countries. The White Darkness won the prestigious Printz Award in America.
A Summers Child and Postman’s Knock
Elaine’s writing career has been varied, starting with children’s pantos, short plays for women’s drama groups and murder mystery plays.
Her first two published novels, witty and contemporary romances, follow other unpublished works and mark a return to full time writing.
Elaine, born in London, grew up on the south coast attending a girls’ boarding school (itself a rich vein to mine for stories) and also spent part of her childhood in pre revolutionary Iran.
She now divides her time between her home near the shores of Poole harbour with her husband, two dogs, two cats and an obligatory Aga and her Portuguese retreat on the Algarve coast.