We hope that many, if not all, speakers who were booked for the 2020 Festival can join us in 2021. The following speakers were joining us for the 2020 Fishbourne Literary Festival –  John D Burns, Olivia Fane, Nicci French, Claire Fuller, Phil Hewitt, Paul Kerensa, Miles Leeson, Deborah Moggach, Kate Mosse and William Shaw.

John D Burns

Whose Land is it anyway?

John D Burns explores wild places and campaigns for their wildlife. His blend of storytelling, theatre and humour is both entertaining and thought provoking.

John D Burns has spent forty years exploring Britain’s mountains. He has walked and climbed in the Rockies, Kenya, the Alps and the Pyrenees. John was a member of the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team and is an award-winning mountain writer. His first book, The Last Hillwalker, has become a mountaineering classic and was shortlisted for TGO Book of the Year.  His second book, Bothy Tales has been hailed as an iconic text for the outdoor community.   In his first novel, Sky Dance, John explored his passion for the Scottish hills and his concern for the damage done to them and their wildlife.

For further details about John Burns and his books follow the link to his website

https://www.johndburns.com/  Vertebrate Publishing | Inspiring Adventure

Nicci French

Partners in Crime’.

The husband and wife partnership of Nicci Gerrard and Sean French talk about their collaboration, how it came about, how they write together and their new book, The Lying Room, writing a standalone thriller after ten years writing a series.

Nicci French is the pseudonym for the writing partnership of journalists Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. The couple are married and live in Suffolk. There are twenty bestselling novels by Nicci French, published in thirty-one languages. Blue Monday was the first thrilling story in the Frieda Klein series, which concludes with Day of the Dead. facebook.com/NicciFrenchOfficialPage


Olivia Fane

Why Sex Doesn’t Matter

Is Sex Natural? Is Sex Dirty? Is Sex Loving? Is Sex about Beauty? Is Sex Political? Olivia Fane addresses the politics, the obsessions, the misconceptions of one of the most important aspects of human existence.

OLIVIA FANE has endured one divorce, married two husbands, been awarded three M.A.s in Classics, Social Work and Theology, written five novels, and given birth to five sons. She lives in Sussex. Fane’s combination of intellectual ideas and clear, involving prose won her a Betty Trask Award for her first novel LANDING ON CLOUDS. oliviafane.com 

Claire Fuller

English Country Houses in Fiction

A look at some favourite books where the English country house is as much a character as the characters themselves, including Claire’s latest novel, Bitter Orange. 

Claire Fuller is a novelist and short fiction writer. For her first degree she studied sculpture at Winchester School of Art. She began writing fiction at the age of 40, after many years working as a co-director of a marketing agency. She has a Masters (distinction) in Creative and Critical Writing from The University of Winchester. She lives in Winchester, England with her husband, and a cat called Alan, and she has two grown-up children.

Her three novels: Our Endless Numbered Days (winner of the 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize for debut fiction),  Swimming Lessons (shortlisted for the Encore prize for second novels, and Livre de Poche prize in France), and the critically acclaimed Bitter Orange, have all been published by Fig Tree / Penguin (UK), Tin House (US), and House of Anansi (Canada). They have been translated into more than 15 languages. 

Her short stories have been published in many literary journals and shortlisted in prizes. Baker, Emily and Me, won the 2014 BBC Opening Lines competition (read it here), and her story, A Quiet Tidy Man, won the Royal Academy and Pin Drop short story award 2016, (Listen to Juliet Stevenson reading it), and it has been included in the Pin Drop / Simon & Schuster anthology: A Short Affair.

Phil Hewitt

Outrunning The Demons.

In February 2016 Phil was viciously knifed. Since then, he has used running to beat back the demons of PTSD – a story he tells in his new book, Outrunning The Demons (Bloomsbury, 2019).

Phil is group arts editor for Sussex Newspapers and the founder and chairman of the Festival of Chichester. His passions are running, cricket and The Rolling Stones. He holds a PhD in 20th century French theatre from the University of Oxford. Phil is married to Fiona. Their son Adam qualified as a doctor (of medicine) in July 2019; their daughter Laura is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Newcastle.

Paul Kerensa

Paul Kerensa: Writing TV, Books, and Everything Else That Crops Up

Writer for BBC1’s Miranda and Not Going Out, among countless others, Paul Kerensa’s the in-demand comic who plays comedy clubs and cathedrals. He’s one of the few to have appeared both at London’s Comedy Store and on Radio 2’s Pause For Thought.

A decade into his stand-up career, Paul’s one-man show has played to packed-out venues over the last few years, including the Edinburgh Fringe and Montreal Comedy Festival. Most recently, he’s been part of the writing teams for TFI Friday, Top Gear, The Kennedys and ITV’s Morecambe & Wise Christmas Special.

As a stand-up, he’s known as a likeable, intelligent and creative comic, ever since winning ITV’s Take The Mike Award in 2002, and becoming a finalist in the BBC New Comedy Awards & The Daily Telegraph Open Mic Awards the same year. Since then he has gone on to work regularly all over the UK and Europe, including The Comedy Store, Jongleurs, the Montreal Comedy Festival, and five solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, ranging from spoofs of Back To The Future to journeys through the Bible and around the world in his most recent show, ‘Borderline Racist’. Previous shows caused Chortle.co.uk to say: “Very funny, very clever, an excellent Edinburgh show” and call him a “wildly talented comic”.


F***ing funny
Ricky Gervais

He was nominated for a British Comedy Award as part of the writing team for Miranda, which he continues to work on. He has written on each series of Lee Mack’s sitcom Not Going Out among other shows, and is a published author with numerous books under his belt. His writing helped win hit sitcom Not Going Out a Rose d’Or Award in 2008, as well as a nomination for the British Comedy Award for Best New Sitcom. Miranda has recently been nominated for three Royal Television Society Awards, including for best writing and best sitcom.

Previous corporate clients of his include Lloyds TSB, BMW, Telesoft Technologies, Academy for Chief Executives, British Society of Baking, BCO Awards, The Travel Industry Awards and many more.


A comic wave that just keeps coming… As effortless a writer as he is a performer
The Stage


Miles Leeson

 ‘The Roaring 20s: Past, Present, Future’

In this talk Miles will draw on the literature of the 1920s and suggest ways in which the literature of the past can lead us to reconsider not just the literature of our own age, but the culture in which we live. As we enter a new decade, one filled with political uncertainty, the literature of the future will no doubt be one of contestation and introspection – much like that of 100 years ago.

Miles Leeson is Director of the Iris Murdoch Research Centre at the University of Chichester. His recent works include Incest in Contemporary Fiction (2018) and Iris Murdoch: A Centenary Celebration (2019) and he is the Lead Editor of the Iris Murdoch Review – in the recent past he has appeared on BBC Radio 4 and Netflix and he writes occasional pieces for the Times Higher Education and Books Ireland.

Deborah Moggach

My Writing Life

“Deborah Moggach, OBE, has written 20 novels and many adaptations of her own and other writers’ works. These include the BAFTA-nominated “Pride and Prejudice” starring Keira Knightley, BBC’s “The Diary of Anne Frank” , and “Tulip Fever”, based on her own bestselling novel set in Vermeer’s Amsterdam. “

“My Writing Life”: Deborah Moggach talks about her latest novel “the Carer” , her adventures in Hollywood, and the hit movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.


Kate Mosse

Taking Inspiration from the landscape – from Fishbourne & Chichester to Chartres & Carcassonne’

Kate Mosse is a No 1 multi-million international bestselling novelist, playwright and non-fiction writer. The author of eight 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 – her books have been translated into thirty-seven languages and published in more than forty countries.

The World Premier of The Taxidermist’s Daughter, a thrilling Gothic mystery set in and around historic Chichester, has just been announced as part of the Chichester Festival Theatre 2020 Programme. Kate wrote and adapted this play based on her bestselling novel of the same name.

Kate is the Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and hosts the Pre Show Interview Series at CFT.   The second novel in The Burning Chambers series, The City of Tears –  set in Paris, Chartres and Amsterdam – will be published in May 2020.  She is a Visiting Professor of Creative Writing & Contemporary Literature at the University of Chichester and was awarded an OBE for services to literature in 2013.  Though Kate lives in Chichester, she still spends as much time as possible in Carcassonne, Languedoc, where much of her historical fiction is set.  


Twitter: @katemosse

Instagram: @katemossewriter

William Shaw

See the world through crime-tinted glasses

Don’t just think of crime fiction as escapist pleasure, says William Shaw. It’s the literature that’s saying the most about our world right now. 

William Shaw is the author of The Birdwatcher and the follow up Salt Lane which were both longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. His books have also been nominated for a Barry Award, the Golden Bullet, and the CWA Historical Dagger. The Sun calls William Shaw “A modern crime master” and The Sunday Times named his book A Book of Scars as one of the 100 Best Crime books published since 1945 and picked his latest Deadland as one of the best crime reads of the summer. His DI Alexandra Cupidi series has been optioned for TV by Expectation Entertainment.