Festival Chair, Alis Hawkins
CWA Historical Dagger short-listed author, Alis Hawkins grew up on a dairy farm in Cardiganshire. Her inner introvert thought it would be a good idea to become a shepherd but three years reading English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford revealed an extrovert streak and a fascination with communication which saw Alis train as a Speech and Language Therapist. She has spent the subsequent three decades variously bringing up two sons, working with children and young people on the autism spectrum and writing fiction, non-fiction and plays. She writes the kind of books she likes to read: character-driven historical crime and mystery fiction with what might be called literary production values.
As a historical writer, Alis takes her research very seriously which sometimes has unexpected consequences. Research into the techniques of medieval charcoal burning led to a fascination with the craft and she and her partner now run the team that keeps the earth burn charcoal-producing technique alive in the Forest of Dean.
Series: The Teifi Valley Coroner historical crime series, featuring Harry Probert Lloyd and John Davies, published by Canelo. #1 – None So Blind (2018),#2 – In Two Minds (2019), #3 – Those Who Know (2020), #4 Not One Of Us (Sept 2021)
Testament, a split time narrative set in fictitious university town Salster in both fourteenth and twenty-first centuries – published by Sapere Books.
The Black and The White, a historical psychological mystery set during the Black Death – published by Sapere Books.
Festival Secretary, GB Williams
GB Williams specialises in complex, fast-paced crime novels.
Crime Cymru member and secretary, GB spent years working as a systems architect before giving up the commute to become a freelance structural editor and writer. In 2014 her short story was shortlisted in the CWA Margery Allingham Short Mystery Prize. That story, Last Shakes, is now available in the short story collection Last Cut Casebook.
Her series The Locked Trilogy follows the life of Charlie Bell and takes the reader into unusual territory with settings including a prison and a bank raid. The Chair is set between Cader Idris and London and shows how life never works out quite the way one expects, and that we all have to fight for what we believe in.
Always active in the writing community, GB is also a member of the CWA and became the CWA Library Champion for Wales in October 2021.
GB is currently working on a two-book deal, more of which will be announced when it can be. She has an alter-ego writing steampunk with a criminal twist.
Born and bred in Kent, GB moved to South Wales where she still lives with her family and the world’s most demanding cat. And she hates every photo ever taken of her, yes including the one on this website.
Find out more at www.gailbwilliams.co.uk
Treasurer, Mark Ellis
Mark is a thriller writer from Swansea and a former barrister and entrepreneur.
He is the creator of DCI Frank Merlin, an Anglo-Spanish police detective operating in World War 2 London. His books treat the reader to a vivid portrait of London during the war skilfully blended with gripping plots, political intrigue and a charismatic protagonist.
Mark grew up under the shadow of his parents’ experience of the Second World War. His father served in the wartime navy and died a young man. His mother told him stories of watching the heavy bombardment of Swansea from the safe vantage point of a hill in Llanelli, and of attending tea dances in wartime London under the bombs and doodlebugs.
In consequence Mark has always been fascinated by WW2 and in particular the Home Front and the fact that while the nation was engaged in a heroic endeavour, crime flourished. Murder, robbery, theft and rape were rife and the Blitz provided scope for widespread looting.
This was an intriguing, harsh and cruel world. This is the world of DCI Frank Merlin.
DCI Frank Merlin appears in five novels : The Embassy Murders, In the Shadows of the Blitz, The French Spy, A Death in Mayfair and Dead in the Water. Mark is published by Headline Accent, and his books are also available in audio format from Audible.
Mark Ellis is a member of the Crime Writers Association. ‘Merlin At War’ was longlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger in 2018.
More about Mark at www.markellisauthor.com.
Media Liaison, Bev (B.E.) Jones
Beverley Jones is a former journalist and police press officer, now a novelist and general book obsessive.
Bev was born in a small village in the South Wales valleys, north of Cardiff. She started her journalism career with Trinity Mirror newspapers, writing stories for The Rhondda Leader and The Western Mail, before becoming a broadcast journalist with BBC Wales Today TV news, based in Cardiff.
She has worked on all aspects of crime reporting (as well as community news and features) producing stories and content for newspapers and live TV.
Most recently Bev worked as a press officer for South Wales Police, dealing with the media and participating in criminal investigations, security operations and emergency planning.
Perhaps unsurprisingly she channels these experiences of ‘true crime,’ and her insight into the murkier side of human nature, into her dark, psychological thrillers set in and around South Wales.
Her novels Where She Went, Halfway and Wilderness, are published by Little Brown (under the name BE Jones), whilst her most recent thriller, The Beach House (as Beverley Jones), is available now.
Wilderness is currently being turned into a TV series by Firebird Pictures for Amazon Prime, starring Jenna Coleman and Oliver Jackson Cohen and will hit the screens in 2023.
Chat with Bev on Goodreads.co.uk under B E Jones or Beverley Jones and on Twitter; @bevjoneswriting
Bev is represented by The Ampersand Agency.
Louise Mumford was born and lives in South Wales. In her fifteen-year teaching career she tried to pass on her love of reading to her students (and discovered that the secret to successful teaching is… stickers! She is aware that that is, essentially, bribery.)
In the summer of 2019 Louise experienced a once-in-a-lifetime moment: she was discovered as a new writer by her publisher at the Primadonna Festival. Everything has been a bit of a whirlwind since then.
Louise lives in Cardiff with her husband and spends her time trying to get down on paper all the marvellous and thrilling things that happen in her head. Her debut book, Sleepless, a “frighteningly inventive” speculative thriller inspired by her own experience of insomnia, was published by HQ in December 2020. It has reached the overall Top 50 UK Kindle Chart and was the Karin Slaughter July 2021 Killer Read in UK Asda stores nationwide. It has been recently published in Canada. Her latest thriller, The Safe House, was released in May 2022 and her next book called The Hotel is due in June 2023.
Louise is Co-Chair of Crime Cymru, a co-operative of crime fiction writers with a connection to Wales and she is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association. You can find her on Twitter @louise_mumford or at www.louisemumfordauthor.com.
Mentor and Advisor, Dr Jacky Collins
Dr Jacky Collins aka Dr Noir, formerly Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University in Literature, Film & TV and Spanish Language & Culture, is currently based at Stirling University. In 2014 Jacky established the International Crime Fiction Festival that is Newcastle Noir. More recently, she has been venturing into local radio, co-hosting a fortnightly crime fiction programme on SpiceFM, hosting on-line literary events with the Honey & Stag events team, and is part of the Corylus Books team, a new indie publisher of crime fiction in translation: from Romania, Iceland and beyond.
translator, Alison Layland
Crime Cymru member and festival website translator, Alison Layland is a writer and translator, and has told herself stories for as long as she can remember, though she first started writing them down for others to share when she moved to Wales in 1997 and a Welsh language course led the way to creative writing classes. She won the short story competition at the National Eisteddfod in 2002.
Alison studied Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Cambridge University, and after a brief spell as a taxi driver worked for several years as a Chartered Surveyor before returning to her first love – languages. Translating German, French and Welsh, her published translations include a number of award-winning and best-selling novels.
She is the author of two psychological thrillers: Someone Else’s Conflict, a compelling narrative of storytelling and the aftermath of war, featured as a Debut of the Month on the LoveReading website, and Riverflow, a story of family secrets and community tensions against a background of flooding and environmental protest, chosen as Waterstones’ Welsh Book of the Month in August 2019; both are published by Honno Press.
Find out more about Alison at https://www.alayland.uk/.
Newsletter editor, Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd lived in Catalonia for twenty or so years, where he taught English before working in educational publishing and then translating. He’s also lived in the Basque Country and Madrid, as well as Grenoble in France – where he researched the French Resistance movement – and has now settled in his native South Wales, within a shiver of the Brecon Beacons.
A writer and translator, he has contributed pieces to anthologies of translated literature. His writing career began with travel books about various parts of Spain and France before he finally plucked up the nerve to take on writing crime fiction. In 2010, he was awarded a Literature Wales bursary, which allowed him to spend time in Catalonia researching for the Elisenda Domènech series, featuring an officer in the devolved Catalan police force in the beautiful city of Girona.
The result of his lifelong interest in World War 2 and resistance and collaboration in Occupied France, The Unwanted Dead (Orion) is Chris’s first novel set in Paris, featuring Detective Eddie Giral. The series will see Eddie negotiate his way through the Occupation, trying to find a path between resistance and collaboration, all the time becoming whoever he must be to survive the ordeal descended on his home.
Webmaster, Philip Gwynne Jones
Philip Gwynne Jones was born in Swansea and grew up in South Wales. He spent twenty years in the IT industry before realising he was congenitally unsuited to it. Inevitable, then, that he should find himself as webmaster for the festival website! He now works as a writer and translator. He lives in Venice with his wife Caroline, and a modestly friendly cat called Mimì.
He enjoys cooking, art, classical music and opera; and can occasionally be seen and heard singing bass with Cantori Veneziani. He also likes classic horror films and listens to far too much Italian progressive rock.
His first novel, “The Venetian Game”, was a Waterstones Thriller of the Month, and a Times Top 5 bestseller. “The Angels of Venice”, the sixth book in the Nathan Sutherland series, is now available.