Jonathan Davidson has worked for over twenty-five years in arts management and literature development. He is joint-founder and Associate Director of the Birmingham Literature Festival, Chief Executive of Writing West Midlands and Director of Midland Creative Projects Limited. He produces theatre-poetry performances, most recently Beyond the Water’s Edge with The Belgrade Theatre and Bloodaxe Books. His radio plays are regularly broadcast on BBC Radios 3 and 4. His stage adaptation of Mary Webb’s novel, Precious Bane, toured with Interplay Theatre. His second collection of poetry, Early Train, was published by Smith | Doorstop in 2011 and his most recent pamphlet was Humfrey Coningsby (Valley Press, 2015). He is Chair of the Arts Policy Committee of the Belgrade Theatre Coventry and on their Board of Trustees. He is Chair of Coventry Artspace Partnerships, a visual arts organisation. He is Chair of the National Association of Writers’ in Education (UK).
Jonathan Coe was born on 19 August 1961 in Lickey, a suburb of south-west Birmingham. His father worked in the motor industry as a research physicist; his mother was a music and PE teacher. In the late 1980s Jonathan moved to London, publishing A Touch of Love in 1989 and The Dwarves of Death in 1990. These were followed by What a Carve Up (1993), The House of Sleep (1997), The Rotters' Club (2001), The Closed Circle (2004) and The Rain Before It Falls (2007). Jonathan also spent many years during this period researching and writing a biography of B S Johnson, the famous British experimental novelist of the 1960s. This biography, Like a Fiery Elephant, was published by Picador in 2004. Among Jonathan's awards are the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger for What a Carve Up in 1995, the Prix Médicis Étranger for The House of Sleep in 1998, the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for The Rotters' Club in 2001, and the Samuel Johnson Prize for Like a Fiery Elephant in 2005. In 2004 he was made Chevalier l'Ordre des Arts and des Lettres.
Stuart Maconie is an English Radio DJ and television presenter, writer, journalist, critic and champion of pop music and popular culture. In his career as a writer and journalist he has written for several national music magazines and newspapers. He is also the author of Cider With Roadies, an autobiography of his experiences as a music journalist; Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North, a humorous book that discusses the modern reality of the North of England (as opposed to the popular myths) and The People's Songs: The Story of Modern Britain in 50 Songs (2013), looking at popular songs that have been landmarks over the last 50 years. He is currently writing about The Jarrow March, an organised protest against the poverty suffered in the North-East In the 1930’s. This book will be published in the UK in summer 2017.
Cat is a storyteller and author for adults and children. Cat studied Drama at university and then became an actress, appearing on popular TV in programmes including Chucklevision and Casualty. Having spent a few years as a professional singer, in 1999, she discovered storytelling and now she travels all over the world, telling tales for adults as well as children. She has performed in Africa, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Russia and across Europe. Cat’s first novel wasBarkbelly. This was followed by Snowbone and then Wild Magic. She also has a book for younger readers, called Jaco the Leek, and a beautiful picture book called By Lantern Light. Cat’s books have been translated into ten languages, and Wild Magic is also a BBC audiobook, read by Cat herself. Her latest book is The Hairy Marys.
Kit de Waal
Kit de Waal was born in Birmingham to an Irish mother, who was a foster carer, and a Caribbean father. She worked for fifteen years in criminal and family law, was a magistrate for several years and sits on adoption panels. She used to advise Social Services on the care of foster children, and has written training manuals on adoption and foster care. Her writing has received numerous awards including the Bridport Flash Fiction Prize 2014 and 2015 and the SI Leeds Literary Reader's Choice Prize 2014. My Name is Leon, her first novel, was published in 2016 to great acclaim.
Alan 'Kurly' McGeatchie
Alan ‘Kurly’ McGeatchie is a performer and workshop facilitator. He delivers poetry and Hip Hop workshops in schools, youth clubs and community settings throughout the U.K. He has taught English and Citizenship for a number of years and for almost a decade he's been helping children read, write and develop emotional literacy through poetry. He was a finalist for the Birmingham Poet Laureate in 2016.