Done and dusted: Fiction

 11-13 March 2022


Louis de Bernières • Jemma Wayne

John Lucas • James Wilson • Alison Moore

Rachel Hore • Robert Edric

Kathy O’Shaughnessy • Peter Benson

Gerald Jacobs • Stephen May • DJ Taylor

All events at the Town Hall on the Saturday Market Place, King’s Lynn PE30 5DQ

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The Fiction Festival returns for 2022. We have missed you. Click the programme, right, to download >>>

Or you can pick one up from various spots around King’s Lynn: Norbury’s Deli, Caffè Nero, Bank House Hotel, Stuart House Hotel, Tourist Office on Saturday Market Place.

There will be a great selection of writers - some new, some more experienced - but all of high quality for an exciting weekend at the beautiful and historic Town Hall on King’s Lynn’s Saturday Market Place.

Each event comprises three writers who will read from and talk about their work, lasting 90 minutes in two halves. Two of the events are group discussions with contributions from the writers present and the audience. Tickets are £10 for each event, or £40 for the full weekend, available on the door but it’s wise to book in advance for the Friday night and Saturday night events. The brilliant pop-up bookshop will stock the latest and selected back-catalogue titles.

Many of the writers stay for the whole weekend which gives ample opportunity to meet and buy their books.

The listed times are the actual event start times, so please be in and seated in good time. Further down this page you can read the writers’ potted biographies.

The Weekend’s Events

Friday 11th March, 7.30pm

• Jemma Wayne

• Louis de Bernières

• John Lucas

Chaired by Rachel Hore


Saturday 12th March, 11.00am

Discussion: Censorship in the days of woke. 

The writers and audience will contribute, chaired by John Lucas


Saturday 12th March, 3.00pm

• Alison Moore

• James Wilson 

• Rachel Hore

Chaired by DJ Taylor


Saturday 12th March, 8.00pm

• Peter Benson

• Kathy O’Shaughnessy

• Robert Edric

Chaired by Lachlan Mackinnon


Sunday 13th March, 11.00am

• Stephen May

• Gerald Jacobs

• DJ Taylor

Chaired by Chris West


Sunday 13th March, 3.00pm

Discussion: 100 Years of Ulysses and its influence on Mondernism. 

Chaired by John Lucas

The festival closes with the raffle draw.


The Writers’ Potted Biographies

Jemma Wayne is the author of three novels: After Before, Chains of Sand, and her latest thriller, To Dare (2021). She has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and shortlisted for both The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize and the Waverton Good Read Award. Jemma’s journalism has appeared in National Geographic, The Huffington Post, The Evening Standard, The Independent on Sunday, and The Jewish Chronicle among others. Her stage play, Negative Space, ran in 2009 to critical acclaim. She lives in London.

Louis de Bernières is well known internationally as a writer of prize winning novels and short stories: Captain Corelli's Mandolin (1994), Birds Without Wings (2004), and A Partisan's Daughter (2008) among others. His collections of warm and witty short stories include Notwithstanding (2010) and Labels (2019). He returns to King’s Lynn with last year’s title, The Autumn of the Ace (2021), telling the story of a family after the Second World War. He lives in Norfolk and as well as writing, plays the flute, mandolin, clarinet and guitar.

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 Life in Us (2021), is about ordinary people learning how to cope in the extraordinary times of the 20th century.

Alison Moore is the author of five novels, and other books of short stories which received awards. Her first novel, The Lighthouse (2012), was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the McKitterick Prize. Both this and her second novel, He Wants (2014), were Observer Books of the Year. Her third and fourth novels received critical acclaim, as has her most recent, The Retreat (2021), perhaps her best book so far. She has become a master of atmosphere with worrying and sometimes alarming tension. Alison is an Honorary Lecturer at Nottingham University.

James Wilson is a London-based author of six novels. His previous are all set in the past, but his new thriller, Coyote Fork (2020), is set very much in the present, exploring the consequences of the algorithms and surveillance of Big Tech in an increasingly duplicitous online world. James is also a writer of stage plays and a scriptwriter of television films. 

He lives in London.

Rachel Hore lives in Norwich and is the author of ten novels including supernatural chiller, A Place of Secrets (2010), the best-sellers, A Gathering Storm (2011) and Last Letter Home (2018). 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. We always welcome her regular contributions to our festivals, this year with her latest novel, A Beautiful Spy (2021).

Peter Benson is a novelist, poet, writer of screenplays and short stories with too many prizes and awards to list here. He has published eleven novels. Benson was last with us with his novel, The South In Winter, in 2018, when he went down a storm. His latest, The Stromness Dinner, set on Orkney, is an unlikely love story between food, sex and travel.

Kathy O’Shaughnessy has edited numerous magazines, including The Literary Review and Vogue. She has reviewed for The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent,The New Statesman and others. After writing short stories, Kathy published her first novel, In Love with George Eliot (2019), the compelling story of England’s greatest woman novelist. Its publication was timed to coincide with the bicentenary of Eliot’s birth. The book is written with a great and infectious passion and for many critics and readers was the debut novel of the century.

Robert Edric grew up in and around Sheffield, and still lives in Yorkshire. He has published 28 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 Field Service (2015) and Mercury Falling (2018) set in 1954 Fenland. In 2020, Shoestring Press published an autobiography, My Own Worst Enemy: Scenes From A Sheffield Childhood, which was described as "a small masterpiece”.

Gerald Jacobs is Literary Editor of The Jewish Chronicle. He is the author of a non-fiction work, Sacred Games (1995), which was an account of a Hungarian Jew Holocaust survivor, and two novels, Nine Love Letters (2016) and Pomeranski (2020). He grew up around Brixton in the 1950s and ‘60s and Pomeranski has been described as an affectionate tribute to the south London of his youth. He also wrote the authorised biography of Dame Judi Dench. He lives in North London.

Stephen May is the author of six novels, including Life! Death! Prizes! which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award, and the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize, and We Don’t Die of Love (2019). Stephen was with us for our festival in 2010, with his debut novel, Tag (2009, Wales Book of the Year), and starting already from that high point, his writing just gets better and better. His latest and best is Sell Us The Rope, which launches at this festival. He also writes for television and film from his home in West Yorkshire.

Born in 1960, the author of thirteen novels and many other books, DJ Taylor lives in Norwich and is a regular feature at our festival. 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 many novels include Derby Day (2011) longlisted for The Booker Prize, and Rock and Roll is Life (2018). His second biography on Orwell is proceeding, and for the festival we are promised a new book of short stories, Stewkey Blues.