Meet Our Speakers
Adam Walker is not your everyday record-breaking sportsman.
He took on arguably the toughest extreme sport on the planet - to swim non-stop across seven of the world's deadliest oceans wearing only swim trunks, cap and goggles.
​It is really not a test for the faint-hearted: swimmers face freezing temperatures, huge swells and treacherous currents, potentially deadly marine life (from sharks to Portuguese men o' war), vomiting and burning off a week's calories in a single swim.
​ Whether man would triumph over ocean, or fail in the attempt, forms the core of this extraordinary autobiography, Man vs Ocean.
​Always intriguing, sometimes terrifying, and occasionally very funny, Adam's story is about sport in its truest form: rather than competitions between teams and individuals, it is about man against nature - and against his own failings and demons.
In that, this story is truly inspirational.
Adam will be speaking 12-1pm Sat 12th November Millpool Centre £5
​Tickets available from the Millpool Centre of online using the button below.
Wyl Menmuir lives on the north coast of Cornwall. When he’s not writing, you’ll find him out on the water or up on the cliffs – anywhere there’s a view of the sea.
Wyl's debut novel The Many was released by Salt Publishing in June 2016 and won an inclusion on this year's Man Booker longlist.
On the surface, his move to the isolated village on the coast makes perfect sense. But the experience is an increasingly unsettling one for Timothy Bucchanan.
A dead man no one will discuss. Wasted fish hauled from a contaminated sea. The dream of faceless men. Questions that lead to further questions. What truth are the villagers withholding? What fuels their interest and animosity towards him? And what pushes Timothy to dig deeper?
"Ominous, subtle and beautiful – an intensely resonant trawling of suffering’s deep currents" - Michael Marshall Smith
"Profound and discomfiting, and deserving of multiple readings. " - The Guardian
Wyl will be speaking 10am-11am Sun 13th November in the Millpool Centre £5
Tickets available at the Millpool Centre or via the button below
Lisa Woollett is writer, photographer and designer of two award-winning books. She will give an illustrated talk about her new book Sea Journal, which won the Rubery Book Award 2016 (non fiction book of the year) and is a finalist in the British Book Design & Production Awards 2016.
T his beautiful and unusual book brings together a year's wanderings along Britain's shores with compelling stories of their natural history, geology and evolution - from ancient myth to current science - and the author's striking contemporary photography.
Whether paddling through the shallows, sheltering in a sea cave or crouching on a cliff in a hailstorm, we are taken on a journey of fascinating diversions. Against a backdrop of the shifting seasons, weather and tides, there are mermaid's purses, hag stones and by-the-wind sailors, alongside stories of wind-sellers and nineteenth century fossil hunters, the evolution of whales and Lego dragons lost at sea.
As the threads draw together there is the sense that a walk on the beach, with all its chance finds and everyday wonders, stretches both back into the deep past and ahead into the uncertain future of our oceans. Above all, we are inspired to go out and explore for ourselves, reminded of the pleasures of discovery, and of looking and listening more closely.
Lisa will speak Saturday 12th November @ 12:30-13:30 upstairs in the Black Swan £3
​Tickets available @ the Millpool Centre or via the button below
Most of us can watch an old episode of the holiday programme Wish You Were Here without it having the life-changing effect that it had on postman Edward Buckingham.
​For Ed, a young man from humble origins in Cornwall, the draw of Kilimanjaro and the high mountains of the world would change his life forever. It would also very nearly end his life during a fall from high on Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world.
Drawn to high places, Ed embarked on a journey that would take him to the summit of the highest mountain on every continent. His seven summits actually involved ten summits – he climbed the highest summit in Western Europe, Mont Blanc, and the highest in Continental Europe, Mount Elbrus, as well as summiting Australia’s Mount Kosciusko and the far more remote Papua New Guinea summit of Carstenz Pyramid, the highest point in Australasia. And, of course, Cho Oyu.
In 7 Summits, Ed tells of hardship and near-death experiences on Cho Oyu, the sheer scale and suffering in being the first Cornishman to ascend Everest, as well as his final summit, Mount Vinson in Antarctica. Ed develops as a man throughout his quest. Always humble, working hard for the Royal Mail delivering post to fund his trips.
​During his fifteen-year quest Ed’s experience grows, particularly in the sub-Arctic of Alaska, where his ascent of Denali tested his stamina and equipment to the limit...
Come along & be inspired by this down-to-earth, first-hand account of a Cornish postman’s attempt to climb the seven summits.
Read more about Ed & his challenges at www.onecornishman.com
​Ed will speak Sun 13th Nov @ 15:00-16:00 in The Saultation Inn, Fore St. Free
No tickets required - but please go along at least 30mins beforehand - this will be a very popular talk.
Spooky fact or Fishy fiction? You decide ...
It has become a Festival tradition now for our local fisherman/Lugger-sailor and author, Paul Greenwood to open the Literary Festival with his talk in the Jolly Sailor Inn.
This year he will have us hiding behind our pints, with ghostly tales of the unexplained that haunt and inhabit our town here in Looe.
Evidence proves that Looe was first populated as early as 2,500 years ago. What haunting memories are held within Looe's picturesque back streets and historical buildings ... Who is it who spooks our alley-ways and seas at night?
If you're not yet convinced, you soon will be.
​Paul Greenwood is the master of fishy tales that will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing up on end.
Always a brilliant evening - but be sure to bring a torch to get you home safely ...
Paul speaks Weds 9th Nov 7pm @ the Jolly Sailor Inn £3
Tickets available @ the Millpool Centre & on the door on the night.
Alan Johnson MP
There is no political biographer quite like Alan Johnson .
Following on from the amazing success of his 2 previous books, This Boy & Please Mister Postman ... (all 3 books taking Beatles song-titles, as he's a lifelong fan) we are honoured to welcome this very humble & honest politician. Honest & politician aren't usually words associated or seen in the same phrase - but Alan proves the exception. He is from the poorest of backgrounds & has always fought for justice for the working classes. Raised by his young sister after their mother's death & their father abandoning the family, he left school at 15, became a postman at 18 and then came involvement with workers unions which eventually led him into politics.
He was elected Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle in 1997, and made his maiden speech about the long campaign for trawlermen and their families' compensation, which he fought for - alongside them, and which eventually led to success in 2000.
In The Long and Winding Road, the third volume of his award-winning memoirs we arrive in Westminster.
In spite of Blair’s infamous comment ‘Oh, so you really are working class aren’t you?’ Johnson took to the corridors of power as if to the manor born. Lifting the lid on the life of a hard-working constituency MP, prepare to see and hear about Westminster as you have never seen it or heard before.
Alan will speak 10am -11am Sat 12th November @ Millpool Centre £10
​Tickets available now in the Millpool Centre - or click the button below
Robert K Johns
or on the Battle Beneath the Trenches is a fascinating book about the real lives of Tunnellers on the Western Front - a much overlooked aspect of the war.
Robert K Johns, a Cornishman whose grandfather was a skilled miner and tunneller serving with the 251st Tunnelling Company in WW1. It was highly unusual for this company to have been formed at Hayle in Cornwall - and not on the Western Front,
​Robert records the men's remarkable achievements, and tells their story in such a vivid way making it an extremely interesting read, irrespective of whether your interests lie in military mining, or local Cornish history.
​This amazing, and for many - untold story - is written from a soldiers perspective.
We learn of the men who were recruited from the tin mines of Cornwall to play their part below the trenches and no-man's-land, often in appalling conditions, as they sought to give an advantage to their infantry brothers fighting above them.
Robert speaks 12:30-1:30pm Sunday 13th Nov @ the Millpool Centre £5
​Tickets available in the Millpool Centre or via the button below:
For the latest novel by Tamar Valley based author, Ann Foweraker, she created a new ridge in the valley, near Callington and Kit Hill, and between Ashton, St. Dominick and Harrowbarrow – and on this placed the village of Hingsbury.
A Respectable Life is a psychological-suspense novel which deals with lies and secrets in a familiar and pleasant rural setting. As with all her books, you soon think you know the people and, when things start to go wrong, you are there with them wanting to know how it will all end.
Join Ann to discuss what led to the idea behind this novel and the ways that research and serendipity fed into its development, and share in a question and answer session to find out what makes this author tick, why each of her novels takes a different route and what she has planned next.
Art enthusiast, Magistrate, village philanthropist, organiser of the highly successful ‘Hingsbury Art Fair’ and doting wife, Cordelia Steadman is the epitome of respectable country life … until her past catches up with her. Even then she thinks she has it all under control … until she starts to receive the emails … and the demands.
Ann speaks 2.30-3.30pm Sat 12th Nov in the Black Swan, Fore St, East Looe Free
John Harris has been a professional gardener since 1956. He got his first spade when he was ten, his first allotment when he was eleven and his first job on a Cornish estate when he was fifteen. He was taught by the best in the business, Noel Masters, head gardener for many of Cornwall's leading gardens. John worked through various horticultural jobs including running commercial garden centres and advising on large public-works projects until 25 years ago, when he was offered a challenge he couldn't refuse - the restoration of Tresillian Estate's famous Victorian kitchen garden, which had fallen into deep neglect.
He agreed, on condition that he could follow the ancient principles of moon gardening.
Tresillian is now regarded as one of the UK's finest examples of a working estate kitchen garden.
John shares his wisdom regularly on TV and radio, including appearances on BBC2's Gardening Stories, Gardener's World and BBC Radio Devon's Potting Shed. Numerous articles have been written by him and about him in the national press, including the Daily Telegraph, Vogue, Amateur Gardening and Country Life.
​At 74, John still works full time as head of the gardening team at Tresillian, and lives on the estate with his wife Olive.
Jim Rickards picked up a pen at about the same age as John picked up his first spade. He has written 2 books, Fields of Light and Out of Africa. After working in London for 20 years as an editor and sub-editor for HarperCollins and the BBC, he now lives in Cornwall, only a pasty's throw from John Harris. Though not as green-fingered as the world's most famous moon gardener, he shares John's passion for the end product ... tasty, healthy food sourced as locally as possible. And you can't get more local than your own garden.
John speaks 2pm-3pm Sat 12th Nov @ the Millpool Centre £5
​Tickets on sale in the Millpool Centre or click the button below
Karen Wild's biggest passions in life are training people to train their dogs, helping family dogs with problems, and writing books and articles about pet behaviour.
She is a full-time dog trainer and behaviour consultant with 17 years in the field. She has a degree and diploma in Psychology, is a member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors and an Associate Member of the British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers.
Karen's work focuses on training and rehabilitation of dogs - and their owners! She has specialised in behaviour and puppy work for the last few years, but her dog career has ranged from class teaching, obedience, flyball, agility and working trials competition to running a popular dog display team. When she started her own family, Karen realised there was a genuine need for one-to-one help with dogs in the family environment. She formed Pawprint Pets which specialises in online and practical advice in this area. Her passion is to create and rebuild the 'enjoyment factor' that can come from family dog ownership.
Karen strongly believes that there is 'always a way' and prides herself on her commitment to uniting families with their dogs. She is widely sought-after for her skills in finding and introducing puppies to family homes - for life.
Karen has a number of celebrity clients including film directors, journalists, models and television personalities and is noted for her down-to-earth friendly approach. She is a regular contributor to Dogs Today Magazine. She also records a weekly dog podcast listed on iTunes: 'The WildPaw Podcast' dealing with dog issues both training and behavioural. Karen's work with dogs and young people includes her recent programme to bring more dogs into schools in the UK.
Karen's friendly, fair and family-focused approach to dog training can be accessed via http://pawprintpets.com/ or www.twitter.com/wildpaw
Karen speaks 2.30-3.30pm Sun 13th Nov @ the Millpool Centre £5
Tickets available in Millpool Centre SORRY - NO DOGS ALLOWED
Unfortunately, Simon will be unable to attend the festival due to illness.
Looe Literary Festival would like to wish Simon a speedy recovery, and our best wishes are with him and his family at this time.
We are delighted to welcome the multi-talented and amazing Ann Widdecombe to amuse and provoke us with her unique style. As a politician she was admired as someone who never sat on any fence or held back from speaking her mind. We can, no doubt, expect the same here in Looe.
Now a successful writer, her most recent books are Strictly Ann: The Autobiography and the novel The Dancing Detective, about a murder backstage on a TV dance competition. Now where could she have found that idea?
In her autobiography, Ann offers a unique insight into her time as a minister in three government departments and the Shadow Cabinet in the 1990s, as well as taking us back to her wandering childhood and explaining the roots of her deeply held views.
A rare anti-hunting Tory, who campaigned for prison education and once donned a miner's overalls to go down a coal mine, Ann has never shied away from controversy. Her memoirs reveal a singular personality who lives life to the full. From feisty appearances on Have I Got News For You to her unforgettable and star-turning performances on Strictly Come Dancing, Ann has, without doubt, earned her place in the public's affections.
Ann speaks 4pm-5pm Sun 13th Nov in the Millpool Centre £10
Tickets available in the Millpool Centre or via the button below
Ann will also be reading children's stories in the Guildhall at 3pm - a free half-hour session for Children
Walking the Looe Valley's ......
Local historian and guide, Mark Camp, leads us on a ramble or two up the Looe rivers from the comfort of our chairs. Mark has been exploring the area since he was a child and in recent years has, as a Blue Badge Guide led guided walks and written about the area. He has also organised the South East Cornwall Walking Festival for the last 16 years and until recently managed the towns Tourist Information Centre.
Rambles from the Railway offers 9 walks that can be done from stations along the pretty Looe Valley Line and these will be referred to during the talk. However, don't expect Mark to stick to the script, like his walks he has a tendency to deviate if something comes into his head.
So expect to see lots of pretty images and maps, hear how the railway came about, how explosives have shaped the village of Herodsfoot, why the church tower at Duloe leans.... and where in the woods you can find a unicorn... or he might get led astray and talk about cider, boat-building and Squire Peel, he may even tell you where you can find silver?
Mark opened the festival last year with Paul Greenwood at the Jolly Sailor and people were forced to listen from outside through open windows as the venue was full to capacity. Don't miss out this year!
Mark speaks 1-2pm Sun 13th Nov upstairs in the Black Swan, Fore St. £3
​Tickets available at the Millpool Centre or via the button below
Jeremy Rowett Johns
Jeremy Rowett Johns is a writer and publisher who, after a career in journalism and broadcasting, established the Polperro Heritage Press in 2000, specialising in Cornish history and biography.
He is the author of Polperro’s Smuggling Story, The Smugglers’ Banker, Doctor By Nature (a biography of Jonathan Couch, surgeon and naturalist of Polperro) and more recently... Smuggling in Cornwall.
This latest book tells the story of the smuggling trade that flourished in Cornwall during the 18th and 19th centuries. Drawing on existing material, it examines how the trade was organised and financed with particular reference to the fishing village of Polperro, where it was masterminded by Zephaniah Job, known as the ‘Smugglers’ Banker’. Cornwall’s extensive coastline and isolated location made it possible for large quantities of rum, brandy, gin, tea and tobacco to be shipped across from Guernsey and brought ashore in secluded coves. Repeated attempts by Revenue officers to seize contraband goods were invariably thwarted; even when a smuggler was caught red-handed, it was rare for a Cornish jury to convict him.
But in 1798, the murder of a Customs officer by one of the crew of a smuggling vessel, the Lottery, led to the establishment of the coastguard service and the eventual decline of the smuggling trade.
Here, in this illustrated and well-researched book, Jeremy explores this fascinating area of Cornish maritime history.
Jeremy will speak 7pm Thurs 10th Nov in the Jolly Sailor followed by Sea Shanties from Miner Quay! £3 Tickets available at the Millpool Centre & on the door on the night.
Carrick White moved to Looe in 2001 and through his interest in local history became involved with Looe Museum, During this time he came across many intriguing historical incidents concerning this part of Cornwall and thought them a good basis for fictionalised versions. Why fiction? Because this allowed Carrick to use imagination and speculation applied to the historical record to create vivid tales and to provide possible answers to the questions and mysteries therein.
What happened to the Albemarle's diamonds? Why was Lord Glyn of Morval travelling to Tavistock?
Why was the Danish national hero Hartman so keen to avoid going home to Copenhagen?
Carrick embarked on writing "faction" - "think Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwell rather than Schama and Starkey. Thus history is rendered engaging and exciting and it is to be hoped will lead the curious to delve further into the facts.
​So please take Wrecks, Raids and Ambuscades for what it is and enjoy it. I doubt that there is any ten miles of Cornish coastline and its hinterland that would not provide similar stories."
Carrick will speak 7pm Fri 11th Nov at The Jolly Sailor Inn -
followed by Sea Shanties from the Wreckers! £3
​Tickets available at the Millpool Centre & on the door on the night.
​Sally Newton was born in Hertfordshire, England but has worked and studied all over Britain. She originally trained as an archaeologist and her love of history inspires her work.
The Druid Heir is the second book in the Caradoc Trilogy by Sally following on from The Defiant Prince
It is AD 34 and Caradoc, youngest son of the strongest King in Britain, is now a warrior, as he always wanted. . . and his enemies are many. His old foe Veriko will stop at nothing to regain his kingdom and his traitorous brother, Adminios, is up to his old tricks. A near-suicidal mission into Roman-held Gaul confirms his worst fears – the Roman invasion is coming! Can Caradoc, using all he has learnt, keep his homelands safe?
Battles, betrayal, romance, heartbreak and the Gods all come together for an Iron Age adventure in The Druid Heir.
Sally is currently writing the third book in the trilogy, The Rebel King.
Sally speaks @ 11am-12pm Sat 12th Nov in the Black Swan, Fore St. Free
A P Bateman is an Amazon #1 best-selling author. Three of his four novels have reached the # 1 slots in Amazon's paid top 100 categories.
Anthony has previously worked as a private investigator and trained and worked in close protection with ex-military, police and special forces. Having trained on US SWAT ranges in the past with serving police officers gives him a unique insight into weapons and tactics which adds realism to his writing.
All Anthony's books are fast-paced action thrillers, complete page-turners.
He is currently writing another thriller which will hopefully be available soon.
You can keep up with Anthony and discover more at his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/A-P-Bateman/438490282965204
Or his website: http://anthonybateman1.wix.com/author-blog
Anthony speaks at 2.30pm Sunday 13th Nov in the Black Swan, Fore St, East Looe Free
John Phillips is a poet from St Ives, and he'll be joining us on:
Saturday 12th November, at 12pm in St Nicholas Church, West Looe Quayside Admission free.
John’s books include: Language Is, What Shape Sound and, most recently, Heretic which is his most varied to date, containing love poems and political poems, along with a selection of longer poems. Heretic also features some of John's remarkable collage art, counterpointing the words with evocative imagery.
His work can be found in the following anthologies:
From Hepworth’s Garden Out;
Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years;
Succint: The Broadstone Anthology of Short Poems;
Wave Hub: New Poetry From Cornwall
Rob is a comic poet, humorist, and singer from North Cornwall, and he combines clever word-play, verse and song with satire, parody and audience participation.
Dealing with such important topics as squid, second homes, the weather in Scotland, data-driven education, distressed furniture and tuk-tuks, but often beneath the comedy lurk serious issues.
Rob has published two books of poems, prose and songs: Men From Mars In Bumping Cars and Distressed.
Rob will be reading some of his poetry and reducing the audience to giggles with his wordly mayhem on Sunday, 13th November, at 4pm in the Fisherman's Arms. Admission free.
Nick Arnold isn't just a human being: he's a one-person book factory who gets up to all sorts of tricks to show everyone that books really are the most wonderful invention since inventions were... er... invented!
Although known as the popular author of the multi-million selling "Horrible Sciences" series, Nick is better described as a modern Renaissance man - a true polymath, Nick is fascinated by knowledge itself.
He is a highly-qualified historian in addition to being a writer, and was involved in the discovery of the battlefield of Cynuit - a location lost since 878 when King Alfred's men fought off a Viking invading party, and saved what would become Anglo-Saxon England.
His passion for knowledge is infectious, and he has become one of the foremost science educators in the country, inspiring young people to love knowledge and question everything. The impact of his work is impossible to measure, yet many future generations of British scientists will remember reading Nick's books as the moment when their spark of curiosity burst into flame.
We're delighted to announce that Nick will be doing an interactive children's show on Saturday 12th November, between 12pm to 1.30pm, in the Guildhall. Free admission and we're expecting it to be a busy event so be sure to get there early!
Samie lives in Looe and is the author of the AM13 Outbreak series: Lockdown, Forgotten and Extinct. Her other works include a number of short stories published in very successful anthologies, some of which she will be reading for children in the Guildhall.
Thrilling, fast paced, multi-dimensional stories with strong role model characters, fighting to save the day against zombies and the AM13 virus.
If you’re lucky enough to be a teenager and enjoy a good gory read, the AM13 series are for you. Read more about Samie and her novels @ www.samiesands.com
Samie will be doing a children's talk in the Guildhall on Saturday 12th November, at 1.30pm. (She promises not to frighten the little ones too much...) Free admission
In 1951, Roger came to Looe when his father became vicar. Since his return eight years ago, he has worked in the museum, sung folksongs with and without his wife, Viv, become Town Crier , and has been an active member (archivist)of Looe Old Cornwall Society. Four years ago, he wrote his first book: “The Life of St. Mary’s Church,” the former parish church, converted into flats in1994. Last year, he decided to write about St. Nicholas Church, using up to date material, church archives, some appropriate photographs, his own observations, and a special piece betraying his love of theatre.
His talk, held in the church itself, will tell you about its chequered history, including its use as Town Hall/prison/theatre/school - oh, and a place of worship!
Sunday 13th November, 3pm St Nicholas Church, West Looe Quay. Admission free.
Roger looks forward to seeing you there. Oll an gwella.