Artists 2016

These are the Artists that appeared at the Balham Literary Festival 2016





Ellah Allfrey

Ellah Allfrey c.Andy ParadiseSunday 12th June: Excavating the myth of the Green Man (with Robert Macfarlane and China Miéville)

Ellah Allfrey is an independent critic, broadcaster and editor. She is the editor of Safe House: Explorations in Creative Non-Fiction (Cassava Republic, 2016), Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara (Bloomsbury, 2014). The former Deputy Editor of Granta magazine, she sits on the boards of the Art for Amnesty and Writers’ Centre Norwich, as well as serving as Deputy Chair of the Council of the Caine Prize and patron of the Etisalat Prize for Literature. Her journalism has appeared in the Independent, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Observer and the Spectator. She was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to the publishing industry.




William Atkins

William AtkinsSaturday 11th June: Extremes of exploration – flight, mountains, jungle, desert

William Atkins is the author of The Moor (Faber), a book about English moorland, which was described in the Observer as a ‘classic’ and as a ‘remarkable book’ by John Carey in the Sunday Times.

He is working on a travel book and cultural history about the world’s deserts, to be published internationally in 2018. He is a 2016 Eccles British Library Writer in Residence.




Patrick Barkham


Friday 10th June: International Nature & Travel Writing

Patrick Barkham was born in 1975 in Norfolk and was educated at Cambridge University. He is a Natural History Writer for the Guardian where he has reported on everything from the Iraq War to climate change.

His first book, The Butterfly Isles, was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje prize. His second, Badgerlands, was hailed by Chris Packham as “a most read for all Britain’s naturalists” and was shortlisted for both the Ondaatje Prize and the Wainwright Prize for Nature and Travel Writing. Badgerlands won the best general non-fiction prize at the East Anglian Book Awards 2014.

His latest book, Coastlines, was published in 2015 by Granta Books and explores our changing relationship with the seaside through explorations of the 742 miles of coastline protected by the National Trust. Blake Morrison judged it as “an informative, enthusiastic and at times rapturous celebration of our shores”.

Patrick lives on the edge of the Norfolk Broads with his family.




Matthew Beaumont

Matt BeaumontSaturday 11th June: Flâneurs in London and Paris, by day and by night

Matthew Beaumont is the author of Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London and two books about late nineteenth-century Utopianism.

He is also the editor of Restless Cities, among other collections of essays. He teaches at UCL.




Sean Borodale

Sean BorodaleSaturday 11th June: The Birds And The Bees

Sean Borodale works as a poet and artist, making scriptive and documentary poems written on location. His first collection of poetry, Bee Journal, was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize. His documentary poem Mighty Beast was produced for BBC Radio 3’s ‘Between the Ears’ and won the 2014 Radio Academy Gold Award for Best Feature or Documentary. In 2014 he was selected as one of twenty Next Generation Poets. He is currently Miriam Allott Fellow at the University of Liverpool.



Lucie Campos

Lucie CamposSaturday 11th June: Flâneurs in London and Paris, by day and by night

Lucie Campos runs the French Book Office in London, which actively supports literature in translation in the UK. Franco-Irish, she is the author of a book on Coetzee, Kertész and Sebald, has taught comparative literature in a number of French universities, and is an editor for the online journal La Vie des Idées and for the “Littérature, Histoire, Politique” series at Classiques Garnier.




Caught By The River

Caught By The River Friday 10th June: Live Music

Jeff Barrett of Caught by the River presents music which evokes for the audience a way of being in the sound world of our writers.




Rob Cowen

Friday 10th June: What do we have in common?

Rob Cowen is an award-winning journalist and writer who has authored regular columns on nature and travel for the Independent, Independent on Sunday and the Telegraph in the UK. Described by the Guardian as ‘one of the UK’s most exciting nature writers’, he received the Roger Deakin Award from the Society of Authors for his first book, Skimming Stones and Other ways of Being in the Wild in 2012.

His latest book Common Ground was shortlisted for the Portico Prize in 2015 and the Richard Jefferies Prize 2016, selected as a ‘Book of the Year’ in the Times, Independent, Sunday Express and featured in the Guardian’s Top Ten Readers’ Choice of 2015. Rob now lives and writes in Yorkshire.




Will Cohu

Will CohuSaturday 11th June: Landscape and atmosphere – the fiction section

Will Cohu writes fiction and non-fiction exploring the relationship between people and landscape.

His books include The Wolf Pit (Chatto, 2012), a memoir of Yorkshire, for which he was shortlisted for the Pen/Ackerley Award and Nothing But Grass (Chatto, 2015) a novel set in Lincolnshire Wolds, where he still lives. He has twice been shortlisted for the Sunday Times/EFG Prize.

He is a regular contributor to national newspapers and magazines, and has published a popular guide to trees, Out of The Woods (Short Books, 2015).




Stephanie Cross

Stephanie CrossSunday 12th June: Deep into the English Eerie

Stephanie Cross is a journalist, critic and ghostwriter. She studied English at Emmanuel and Selwyn Colleges, Cambridge, and reviews regularly for the Daily Mail and Observer. She is also a frequent contributor to BBC Countryfile magazine./p>


Tim Dee

Tim DeeSaturday 11th June: The Birds And The Bees

Tim Dee is a writer and a radio producer. He is the author of a memoir about his birdwatching life, The Running Sky, which was published in 2009.

His latest book is Four Fields. It is, not surprisingly, about four fields. One is in the Cambridgeshire fens, the others are on an old tobacco farm in Zambia, at the Custer battlefield in Montana, USA, and in the Exclusion Zone in the shadow of the exploded nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, Ukraine.

He has been a BBC radio producer for 26 years making arts documentaries, poetry programmes, history features and radio drama for Radio 3 and 4. Before he joined the BBC he worked for the International Council for Bird Preservation (now Birdlife) and wrote on threatened species and the endemic birds of Madagascar.

When not in Bristol he lives on the edge of the fens. He is at work on two new books: one about the spring in Europe; the other, Landfill, about men who watch gulls.  He is also editing an anthology of new writing about place for Jonathan Cape and the organisation Common Ground.




Lauren Elkin

Lauren ElkinSaturday 11th June: Flâneurs in London and Paris, by day and by night

Lauren Elkin is the author of Flâneuse: Women Walk the City (Chatto & Windus, July 2016). Her essays have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times Book Reviewfrieze, and the Times Literary Supplement, and she is a contributing editor at The White Review.

She teaches in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the American University of Paris.




Inua Ellams

Inua EllamsSaturday 4th June: The Midnight Run

Sunday 12th June: Running riot in the urban landscape

Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is a cross art form practitioner, a poet, playwright & performer, graphic artist & designer and founder of the Midnight Run — an international, arts-filled, night-time, playful, urban, walking experience.

He is a Complete Works poet alumni and a designer at White Space Creative Agency.

Across his work, Identity, Displacement & Destiny are reoccurring themes in which he also tries to mix the old with the new: traditional african storytelling with contemporary poetry, pencil with pixel, texture with vector images.

His three books of poetry are published by Flipped Eye and Akashic Books, and several plays by Oberon.




Bradley Garrett

Bradley GarretSunday 12th June: Running riot in the urban landscape

Bradley L. Garrett is a social geographer at the University of Southampton. After a brief career as an archaeologist for the United States Bureau of Land Management, he moved to London in 2008 and began sneaking into lost, forgotten and off-limits places in the city, photographing them, and sharing them with the public. His first book, Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City (Verso Books 2013), is an account of his adventures trespassing into ruins, tunnels and skyscrapers in eight different countries. This book has been translated into Korean and Japanese and is currently being scripted into a feature-length film in Los Angeles.

In 2014, he published Subterranean London: Cracking the Capital (Prestel Publishing), a photographic dissection of what lies underneath the streets of London, layer by layer. 2016 marks the release of the final book in his urban exploration triptych; London Rising: Illicit Photos from the City’s Heights (Prestel Publishing), which documents the social, infrastructural and corporate verticalities of the city.


Sarah Hall

Sarah HallSaturday 11th June: Landscape and atmosphere – the fiction section

Sarah Hall obtained a degree in English and Art History from Aberystwyth University before taking an MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews, where she briefly taught on the undergraduate Creative Writing programme. She still teaches creative writing, regularly giving courses for the Arvon Foundation. She began her writing career as a poet, publishing poems in various literary magazines.

Her debut novel, Haweswater won the 2003 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was followed by The Electric Michaelangelo which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2004. Her third novel The Carhullan Army, a science fiction novel, won the 2007 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and James Tiptree, Jr. Award, and was shortlisted for the 2008 Arthur C. Clarke Award. Her novel How to Paint a Dead Man was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

‘Butcher’s Perfume’, the first story in her collection of short stories The Beautiful Indifference was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award, a prize she won in 2013 with ‘Mrs Fox’.


Owen Hatherley

Owen HatherleySunday 12th June: And where next?

Owen Hatherley is a British writer and journalist based in London who writes primarily on architecture, politics and culture. His first book Militant Modernism was published by Zero Books in 2009.

He has written for Dezeen, Building Design, The Guardian, Icon, the London Review of Books, New Humanist, the New Statesman, Socialist Review and Socialist Worker. He has maintained three blogs, Sit down man, you’re a bloody tragedy, The Measures Taken and Kino Fist.


Tendai Huchu

Tendai HuchuSaturday 11th June: Landscape and atmosphere – the fiction section

Tendai Huchu’s first novel The Hairdresser of Harare was released in 2010 to critical acclaim, and has been translated into several languages.  His multi-genre short stories and nonfiction have appeared in the Manchester Review, Interzone, Space and Time Magazine, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, The Africa Report, Wasafiri and elsewhere.

He is currently associate fantasy editor for the SF mag Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, and is pursuing a creative writing PhD with a focus on the Historical Novel at Manchester University. Between projects, he translates fiction between the Shona and English languages.

His new novel is The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician.


Andrew Michael Hurley

Andrew Micheal HurleySunday 12th June: Deep into the English Eerie

Andrew Michael Hurley has lived in Manchester and London, and is now based in Lancashire, where he teaches English Literature and Creative Writing. He has had two collections of short stories published by Lime Tree Press. The Loney is his first novel – it was first published in October 2014 by Tartarus Press, a tiny independent publisher based in Yorkshire, as a 300-copy limited-edition.


 Nina Lyon

Sunday 12th June: Excavating the myth of the Green Man (with Robert Macfarlane and China Miéville)

Nina Lyon is the author of Mushroom Season, an account of youthful psychedelic adventures and the mountains near her home which was runner-up for the 2013 FT/Bodley Head Essay Prize, and Uprooted: On the Trail of the Green Man, which has recently been published by Faber.

She is currently working on another book for Faber about the uncanny and a PhD thesis on nonsense and metaphysics. She lives in the Welsh borders with her children.


Helen Macdonald

Helen MacdonaldFriday 10th June: International Nature Writing

Helen Macdonald is a writer, poet, illustrator and naturalist, and an affiliated research scholar at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge.

She is the author of the bestselling H Is for Hawk, as well as a cultural history of falcons, titled Falcon, and three collections of poetry, including Shaler’s Fish.

Macdonald was a Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge,  has worked as a professional falconer, and has assisted with the management of raptor research and conservation projects across Eurasia.  She now writes for the New York Times Magazine.


James Macdonald Lockhart

James Macdonald LockhartSaturday 11th June: Extremes of exploration – flight, mountains, jungle, desert (with Will Atkins and Andrea Wulf)

James Macdonald Lockhart’s book RAPTOR (Fourth Estate) documents a series of journeys in search of each of Britain’s breeding birds of prey, from Scotland’s mighty eagles to the tiny merlin.

Lockhart is an associate editor of and regular contributor to Archipelago magazine. RAPTOR is his first book and it received a Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction in 2011.


Rob Macfarlane

Sunday 12th June: Excavating the myth of the Green Man (with Nina Lyon and China Miéville)

Sunday 12th June: Deep into the English Eerie

British academic and travel writer Robert Macfarlane is known for his thought-provoking explorations of the relationship between people and place. He is the author of Mountains of the Mind, The Wild Places, The Old Ways and Landmarks. Mountains of the Mind won the Guardian First Book Award and the Somerset Maugham Award and The Wild Places won the Boardman-Tasker Award. Both books have been adapted for television by the BBC. He is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and writes on environmentalism, literature and travel for publications including the Guardian, the Sunday Times and The New York Times. He is currently working on an illustrated children’s book about the natural world in collaboration with illustrator Jackie Morris.


China Miéville

Saturday 11th June: China Miéville skews the picturesque

Sunday 12th June: Excavating the myth of the Green Man (with Nina Lyon and Robert Macfarlane)

China Miéville is the award-winning author of several works of fiction and non-fiction, including The City & The City, London’s Overthrow and, most recently, This Census-Taker. He is a founding editor of the quarterly Salvage (

‘Over and over again, book after book, Miéville’s mature work forces the reader to ask the question that most writers get to prompt once in a literary lifetime if they’re lucky: what is this new thing we are being shown? Repeatedly, as a writer of the fantastic, he forces a redefinition of what fantasy can be’ – Francis Spufford, The Guardian.


Anna-Louise Milne

A L MilneSaturday 11th June: Flâneurs in London and Paris, by day and by night

Anna-Louise Milne lives and writes in the north-east of Paris. She is Director of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of London Institute in Paris where she is currently developing the Paris Centre for Migrant Writing and Expression. Notable publications are two books on Jean Paulhan, an edited collection, May 68. Rethinking France’s Last Revolution (2011) and The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of Paris (2013). Her current book entitled 75 is pubished by Gallimard in the landmark Collection Blanche. It is her first full book in French, an experiment in urban poetics and translingual writing.


Fred Pearce

Fred PearceSunday 12th June: And where next?

Fred Pearce is a freelance author and journalist based in London. A former news editor of the UK-based New Scientist magazine, he has been its environment and development consultant since 1992, reporting from 87 countries. He also writes regularly for the Yale e360 web site in the US, and the Guardian and other newspapers in the UK, as well as irregularly for many other outlets, including the Washington Post.

He is a frequent lecturer, broadcaster and speaker at literary, science and environment festivals, include repeat appearances at the Hay and Edinburgh festivals. He has spoken on all six continents in the past five years. His many TV appearances include an interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.


Ruth Potts & Molly Conisbee

Ruth Potts and Molly ConisbeeSaturday 11th June: A Walk Around South West London

Ruth Potts and Molly Conisbee are the co-founders of bread, print and roses, a collective engaged in anarchist baking, seditious pamphleteering and radical walking.

Molly is based Bristol University and is researching the social history of death. Previously Molly worked for the Soil Association, IPPR, nef (the new economics foundation) and in a variety of policy and public affairs roles for the NHS and local government. Molly co-authored (with Andrew Simms) Environmental Refugees – The Case for Recognition and National Gardening Leave – Why working less is good for us all. Molly has also written (with Ruth) on the history and politics of bread, and the social history of the railways.

Ruth initiated (with Gareth Evans), and is an Artistic Advisor to, Utopia 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility at Somerset House. Previously, Ruth worked at nef where she co-developed a new model of campaign designed to kick-start the decade-long transition to a new economy. She is a co-author (with Andrew Simms) of The New Materialism: How our relationship with the material world can change for the better, covered by the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Financial Times, is a co-author of nef’s Clone Town Britain reports.




Richard Reynolds


Sunday 12th June: Running riot in the urban landscape

Richard Reynolds has been a guerrilla gardener for 12 years, tending patches of neglected public land without permission. His blogging and writing on guerrilla gardening turned a largely historical activity into a more mainstream global movement taken up by everyone from passionate gardeners itching for new challenges to political campaigners and mischief makers. He is passionate about engaging people in shaping public space and has recently become embattled in London’s new preoccupation with piazzafication and the eradication of open ground despie the strong environmental case for soft surfaces. His book “On Guerrilla Gardening” has been published in English, German, French and Korean and he tours the world inspiring people to take part.




Andrew Simms

Andrew Simms

Saturday 11th June: Extremes of exploration – flight, mountains, jungle, desert

Andrew Simms is an author, analyst and co-founder of the New Weather Institute. He trained at the London School of Economics and was described by New Scientist Magazine as, ‘a master at joined-up progressive thinking.’ The Independent newspaper listed him as one of the UK’s top 100 environmentalists and London’s Evening Standard included him in their Power 1000 as one of the capital’s most influential people. He is a research associate at the Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex, and a fellow of the New Economics Foundation (nef), where he was policy director for over a decade. During that time he founded NEF’s work on climate change, energy and interdependence, and ran their programme on local economies coining the term ‘clone towns’ to describe the homogenisation of high streets by chain stores. He wrote the book ‘Tescopoly’ on Tesco’s dominance of the grocery market, co-authored the ‘Green New Deal’, and devised the concept of ‘ecological debt day’ to illustrate when in the year we begin living beyond our environmental means.He was one of the original organisers of the Jubilee 2000 campaign to cancel poor country debt. His latest book ‘Cancel the Apocalypse: the New Path to Prosperity’ is manifesto of new economic possibilities.




Gaia Vince

Gaia Vince credit

Sunday 12th June: And where next?

Gaia Vince is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in science and the environment. She has been the front editor of the journal Nature Climate Change, the news editor of Nature and online editor of New Scientist. Her book Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet we Made won the 2015 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Times, Science, Scientific American, Australian Geographic and the Australian. She has a regular column, Smart Planet, on BBC Online, and devises and presents programmes about the Anthropocene for BBC radio. She blogs at and tweets at @WanderingGaia.


Sara Wheeler

ContribPhoto_SaraWheelerFriday 10th June: International Nature Writing

Sara Wheeler is an award-winning non-fiction writer.
After writing about her travels on the Greek island of Euboea and in Chile, she was accepted by the US National Science Foundation as their first female writer-in-residence at the South Pole, and spent seven months in Antarctica. Her resultant book Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica, was an international best-seller.

In 1999 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has served as Trustee of the London Library. She lives in London.


Andrea Wulf

Andrea WulfSaturday 11th June: Extremes of exploration – flight, mountains, jungle, desert (with Will Atkins and James Macdonald Lockhart)

Andrea Wulf is the author of five acclaimed books. The Brother Gardeners won the American Horticultural Society 2010 Book Award and her books Founding Gardeners and The Invention of Nature were on the New York Times Best Seller List. Andrea has written for many newspapers including the Guardian, LA Times, WSJ and New York Times.
She writes a monthly column on the history of science for The Atlantic. In 2014 she co-presented a four-part BBC TV garden series and she appears regularly on radio. The Invention of Nature won the prestigious Costa Biography Award 2015 in the UK, was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize 2015, was shortlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Non–Fiction 2016 and is shortlisted for the LA Times Book Prize. It was chosen as 10 Best Books of 2015 in the New York Times.