About the Festival

Festival History 

Fishbourne Literary Festival (then known as Fishbourne Loves Books) began in 2015 as part of a fundraising campaign to fund a new church hall.  Since then it has continued to be run by a team of volunteers to raise money for charitable purposes.  

Half the money raised goes to St Peter and St Mary Church in Fishbourne which hosts the event, but from the outset, 50% of the monies raised has gone to other local charities, supporting in turn:

  • Fishbourne C of E primary school (to re-furbish their library) – 2016
  • The Apuldram Centre which supports adults with learning difficulties  – 2017
  • St Wilfrid’s Hospice  –  2018
  • Stonepillow  –  2019
  • The Snowdrop Trust  – 2020

We are hugely grateful to the authors who have so generously given of their time to support the Festival.  We were very lucky to have the following authors speaking at the last four years of the festival:

2019

Elly Griffiths read English at King’s College, London, and worked in publishing for many years before becoming a full-time author.  Her bestselling series of Dr Ruth Galloway novels, featuring a forensic archaeologist, are set in Norfolk. The series has won the CWA Dagger in the library and has been shortlisted three times for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Her series of Stephens and Mephisto novels are based in 1950/60s Brighton. She lives near Brighton with her husband, an archaeologist, and their two children.  She won the prestigious CWA DAGGER IN THE LIBRARY 2016, awarded for an author’s whole body of work, and was also the chair of 2017’s Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. 

Luke Jennings is a London-based author and journalist who has written for The Observer, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Time. He is the author of Blood Knots, short-listed for the Samuel Johnson and William Hill prizes, and the Booker Prize-nominated Atlantic. With his daughter Laura, he wrote the teenage stage-school novels Stars and Stars: Stealing The Show. Luke’s latest publications are Killing Eve: Codename Villanelle, the basis for the TV series starring Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh, and the second title in the trilogy Killing Eve: No Tomorrow.

Kate Mosse is a number one international bestselling novelist, playwright and non-fiction writer. The author of six novels and short story collections – including the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy (Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel) and Gothic fiction The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter, which she is adapting for the stage – her books have been translated into thirty-seven languages and published in more than forty countries. She is the Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and a regular interviewer for theatre & fiction events. Kate divides her time between Chichester in West Sussex and Carcassonne in south-west France. The second novel in The Burning Chambers series, The City of Tears – which is set in Paris, London and Amsterdam – will be published in May 2020.  

Peter Parker has written on a wide variety of subjects, including architecture, art, biography, books, social and cultural history, for a large number of newspapers and magazines. He has written about plants and gardening for HORTUS and the Daily Telegraph. He is the author of two books about the First World War, The Old Lie and The Last Veteran; biographies of J.R. Ackerley and Christopher Isherwood; Housman Country, a study of A Shropshire Lad and Englishness; and most recently A Little Book of Latin for Gardeners, published in November 2018. He is an advisory editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 

Duncan Salkeld is Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in the Department of English and Creative Writing at the University of Chichester. He is author of Madness and Drama in the Age of Shakespeare, Shakespeare Among the Courtesans, and Shakespeare and London (Oxford University Press, 2018), as well as many articles and chapters on Renaissance literature.

2018

Isabel Ashdown was born in London and grew up on the Sussex coast. Her award-winning debut Glasshopper (2009) was released to critical acclaim, after being named as winner of the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition. Her recent move into the genre of psychological thriller with Little Sister led to several weeks in the Amazon bestseller chart, and a clutch of ‘Best Books’ listings in 2017. Alongside her writing, Isabel is Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Chichester, an associate tutor at West Dean College and together with Leonard the dachshund, a volunteer for the charity Pets as Therapy.

Béatrice Crawford comes from Paris, lived in California for seventeen years, and has lived in Oxford since 1998.  She read German at the Sorbonne and at Stanford University, where she wrote an MA thesis in German on Kafka and a PhD thesis in French on Ronsard.  She taught French literature at Stanford University and at Birmingham University. Her familiarity with three cultures and languages makes her eager to explore the power of words.  She is a narrative non-fiction writer who looks at her life from different angles in her travel memoir, Voices on the Great Wall. 

Margaret Drabble, D.B.E., novelist and critic, was born in Sheffield in 1939 and educated at Newnham College, Cambridge. After a brief and inglorious career as an actress with the Royal Shakespeare Company, she published her first novel, A Summer Bird-Cage, in 1963. This was followed by eighteen others, including The Millstone (1965), The Pure Gold Baby (2013), and The Dark Flood Rises (2016).  Her short stories, A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman, were published in 2011. She edited The Oxford Companion to English Literature (1985) and wrote biographies of Arnold Bennett (1974) and Angus Wilson (1995). She is married to the biographer Michael Holroyd.

Adam Mars-Jones is Research Professor of Creative Writing at Goldsmiths. Apart from the memoir Kid Gloves, his books include the semi-infinite novel series Pilcrow and Noriko Smiling, his book-length study of a classic Japanese film.

2017

Simon Brett has published over ninety-five books, mostly crime novels, including the Charles Paris, Mrs Pargeter, Fethering and Blotto & Twinks series. His standalone thriller A Shock to the System was made into a feature film starring Michael Caine. His writing for radio and television includes After Henry and No Commitments. He has received the highest award of the Crime Writers’ association, the Diamond Dagger, and in 2016 was awarded an OBE “for services to literature.

Max Egremont has written biography, novels, travel books and history.  His books include lives of the Edwardian Prime Minister Arthur Balfour, the poet Siegfried Sassoon and an account of East Prussia called Forgotten Land.  His last book was Some Desperate Glory, the First World War the Poets Knew.

Caroline Lawrence is a classicist best known for her million-selling series of historical novels for children, the Roman Mysteries. In 2007 & 2008, CBBC made a TV series based on these books. In 2009, Caroline won the Classical Association Prize for “a significant contribution to the public understanding of Classics”. In 2016, she started a new series set in late first century Britain, the Roman Quests.

Jane Rusbridge is published by Bloomsbury. The Devil’s Music was nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award, and ROOK was a Guardian Readers’ Book of the Year. She did not start to write until her youngest child started school, when she returned to university as a mature student to study English with Creative Writing. Jane is a recipient of the Lord Wolfendon Prize, the Philip Lebrun Prize and a Bridport Prize, and was Associate Lecturer in English at the University of Chichester for ten years.

2016

Neil A Downie is a lead scientist and engineer in industry and visiting Professor of Innovation with the Royal Academy of Engineering. He has written 4 books of maverick DIY science suitable for all ages. To see more search for “Neil A Downie” on the internet especially  on YouTube and Facebook. 

David Lough won an open history scholarship to Oxford University where he gained a first class degree. He founded and ran a private banking business that advises prominent British families on their investments, tax affairs and estate planning. Following the business’s sale, David has returned to history, using the experience gained in his career to research the untold story of Winston Churchill’s precarious personal finances. David is a trustee of the London Library and sits on the advisory board of BlackRock’s philanthropy funds in London. 

Kate Mosse is a number one international bestselling novelist, playwright and non-fiction writer. The author of six novels and short story collections – including the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy (Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel) and Gothic fiction The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter, which she is adapting for the stage – her books have been translated into thirty-seven languages and published in more than forty countries. She is the Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and a regular interviewer for theatre & fiction events. Kate divides her time between Chichester in West Sussex and Carcassonne in south-west France. The second novel in The Burning Chambers series, The City of Tears – which is set in Paris, London and Amsterdam – will be published in May 2020.