Robert Edric was born in 1956. He has published over 20 novels, including The Broken Lands, A New Ice Age (winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and runner-up to the Guardian Fiction Prize), and a trilogy of crime novels: Cradle Song, Siren Song and Swan Song. He is one of the most critically admired novelists of his generation. His titles are always well received – most recently The Monster’s Lament (2013), Sanctuary (2014), a fictionalised study of Bramwell Bronte, and Field Service (2015) which explores emotions set in the context of the work by the War Graves Commission immediately following the end of WW1. A new novel will be published in the summer.

The distinguished poet, novelist and critic, John Lucas is Professor Emeritus at the Universities of Loughborough and Nottingham Trent. He is the author of many academic works, including studies of Dickens and Ivor Gurney, and has published seven books of his own poetry. His novels include The Good That We Do (2000) and 92 Acharnon Street (2007), the latter two blending fiction, memoir and social history. Waterdrops (2011) is a poignant story from wartime Malta, the mystery of which is revealed forty years later. His latest novel, The Plotting (2016), explores the often hidden motives by which seemingly ordinary people choose to steer their lives. He runs Shoestring Press and lives in Nottingham.

Rachel Hore lives in Norwich and is the author of seven novels including supernatural chiller, A Place of Secrets (2010) and the 2011 best-seller, A Gathering Storm. Her latest novel is The House on Bellevue Gardens, published late last year. The seeds of her writing career were sown during her days as senior editorial director of fiction at HarperCollins in London. Rachel is a reviewer of fiction for The Guardian and The Independent on Sunday. She teaches publishing at the UEA and is married to writer DJ Taylor. We always welcome her regular contributions to our festivals.


Louis de Bernières was born in London in 1954. He published his first novel in 1990 and was selected by Granta magazine as one of the twenty Best of Young British Novelists in 1993. Since then he has become well known internationally as a writer: Captain Corelli's Mandolin (1994) won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Novel, Birds Without Wings (2004), and A Partisan's Daughter (2008), was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award, The Dust That Fell From Dreams (2015). His latest novel, Blue Dog (2016) is the prequel to his 2002 novel, Red Dog and was selected as a Daily Telegraph Book of 2016. He lives in Norfolk and as well as writing, he plays the flute, mandolin, clarinet and guitar to his rook.


Born in 1960, the author of twelve novels and eight other books, D J Taylor lives in Norwich and is a regular feature at our Festival. Educated at Norwich School and Oxford, he is a distinguished novelist, critic, journalist and biographer – notably of Thackeray (1999) and Orwell: The Life, for which he won the 2003 Whitbread Biography Award, and a history of literary life in England since 1918, The Prose Factory (2016). His numerous novels include English Settlement, winner of the Grinzane Cavour prize, and Derby Day (2011) longlisted for The Booker Prize. His latest book updates Thackeray’s The Book of Snobs (1848) for the twenty-first century.


Novelist Carol Birch was born in Manchester in 1951 and attended Keele University. She won the 1988 David Higham Award for the Best First Novel of the Year for Life in the Palace, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize with The Fog Line in 1991, and she was longlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize for Turn Again Home. We last saw Carol at our Festival in 2012 with her novel Jamrach's Menagerie, shortlisted for the 2011 Booker Prize. Her latest novel is the dazzling Orphans of The Carnival (2016), evoking the strange and thrilling world of the Victorian carnival. She lives in Lancaster with her family.


Yvvette Edwards was born in Barnet and grew up and attended school in Hackney. She has worked as a homeless persons' officer, and a support worker for adults with learning difficulties. After attending writing courses in disciplines as varied as journalism, stage play and screenplay (some with the Arvon Foundation), she focused, aged 39, on her debut novel. The result was Booker Prize Longlisted, A Cupboard Full of Coats (2011) - a shocking, distinctive and stylishly written love story which she presented to our Festival audience in 2012. Her new novel is The Mother (2016), which tackles, with honesty and passion, the realities facing families that have lost children to knife crime. She lives in East London.


Stephen Jarvis was born 1958 in Romford, Essex. He read economics at Oxford, but discontinued the course to become a freelance journalist and has published two volumes of his articles. His first novel, Death and Mr Pickwick (2015) was shortlisted for the HWA Goldsboro Debut Crown (an award for a debut volume of historical fiction). It tells the story of the difficulties between the young Charles Dickens and Robert Seymour, the illustrator of the first two instalments of The Pickwick Papers. ‘The Pickwick Papers has the greatest back-story of any work of fiction,’ he said and that ‘it cried out to be turned  into a novel’. ‘An impeccable Dickensian debut. ‘This is a masterpiece of imagination, supported by a mountain of research’ (The Telegraph).


The Weekend's Events

Friday 10th March 7.30pm
Robert Edric and John Lucas


Saturday 11th March 11.00am 
Discussion, chaired by Professor John Lucas
Fiction or Relateability

Does it matter whether the reader "relates" to the novel. 
Is it any sort of guide to excellence?


Saturday 11th March 3.00pm
Rachel Hore and Jemma Wayne

in conversation with Chris West


Saturday 11th March 8.00pm
Louis de Bernières and D J Taylor
The event will be chaired by Christopher Bigsby 


Sunday 12th March 11.00am
Carol Birch and Yvvette Edwards

in conversation with Rachel Hore


Sunday 12th March 3.00pm
Stephen Jarvis will present and talk about his amazing book,
Death and Mr Pickwick, and will discuss The Pickwick Papers with the writers 

The Writers' Potted Biographies

Playwright, novelist and journalist, born to an American musician father and an English mother.  She grew up in Hertfordshire and studied Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Westminster. She worked as a journalist on the Jewish Chronicle before working freelance. She has published two novels. After Before (2014) was longlisted for the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize, and Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize). Chains of Sand (2016), set in London and Israel over the last ten years, has been shortlisted for the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize.


Done and dusted:

Event photographs - Rob Elwes