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Born in London in 1948, Julia Blackburn is the daughter of the poet Thomas Blackburn and the painter Rosalie de Meric. She describes her bohemian childhood in her memoir, The 3 of Us.

Julia's books cover a wide range of subjects and are hard to categorise, but they all include aspects of her own life, descriptions of the natural world and a concern with the predicaments that people find themselves in.

As well as books, she has written four plays and seventeen short stories for BBC Radio 3 and 4.



Born in London, Mary Chamberlain studied Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh and the London School of Economics. Since 1995 she has worked with oral history and life story methods and has published widely on women's and Caribbean history. She is Emeritus Professor of Caribbean History at Oxford Brookes University, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Trustee of the National Life Story Collection in the National Sound Archive of the British Library.



George Ewart Evans was born in Abercynon, Glamorgan on April 1st 1909. His pioneering work in recording and archiving the memories of agricultural and other working people culminated in this, his first book. It was followed by many other books recording country life. He frequently broadcast for BBC radio and wrote countless articles on the old traditions. He died in 1988.



Giles Foden was born in 1967 to English and Irish parents. He grew up mostly in central Africa. After winning the Harper-Wood creative writing studentship at St John's College, Cambridge, in 1990 he returned to Africa and began writing his first novel, The Last King of Scotland, which was published eight years later. In the interim he was an editor at the Times Literary Supplement. He later worked on the books pages of the Guardian, publishing two further novels, Ladysmith (1999) and Zanzibar (2002), and a work of narrative non-fiction, Mimi and Toutou Go Forth (2004). The Last King of Scotland was released as a feature film in 2006, and the same year Foden was made AHRC Fellow in Performing and Creative Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London. He was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at UEA in 2007. His most recent novel is Turbulence (2009).



Jason Gathorne-Hardy was born near Kuala Lumpur in 1968 and grew up in Suffolk. Trained as a zoologist at Oxford University, he taught himself to draw and paint using graphite and earth pigments from the land. He studied under Maggi Hambling at Morley College, London, between 1995 and 1998. Returning to live part-time in Suffolk in 2005, he founded The Alde Valley Food Adventures, a programme of events celebrating food, farming, landscape and the arts. In 2009 he merged these with the annual Retreat Easter Exhibition to create The Alde Valley Spring Festival.



Lavinia Greenlaw's poetry includes Minsk and The Casual Perfect. She has also published two novels and two books of non-fiction: The Importance of Music to Girls and Questions of Travel: William Morris in Iceland. She was awarded a NESTA fellowship in order to pursue her interest in vision, travel and perception, and has held residencies at the Science Museum and the Royal Society of Medicine. Her work for radio includes documentaries about the Arctic, Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Bishop. She spent her teenage years in Essex, and now lives in London and Suffolk. She is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.



Ángel Gurría-Quintana is a historian, journalist and translator from Spanish and Portuguese. His work has appeared regularly in the Financial Times, Observer, Guardian and Paris Review. He works at Cambridge University.



Born in Suffolk, Maggi Hambling is one of Britain's most celebrated artists. She has exhibited widely throughout the UK, as well as in the US and Ireland, and has won numerous awards, including her appointment as the first Artist in Residence at the National Gallery, London, in 1980-81, the Jerwood Painting Prize in 1995, and the Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture for the Aldeburgh Scallop in 2005. She was created OBE in 1995 and CBE in 2010.



Prize-winning author, conservationist, broadcaster, one of our foremost writers on nature. His previous books include Food for Free, Flora Britannica, The Flowering of Britain and a biography of Gilbert White which won the Whitbread Award. A director of Common Ground, he has won numerous other awards for his work and has been described in the press as "Britain's greatest living nature writer". He lives and works near Diss in Norfolk.



Jennifer Potter is the author of three acclaimed novels, The Taking of Agnès, The Long Lost Journey and After Breathless, as well as four works of non-fiction: Secret Gardens; Lost Gardens; Strange Blooms, The Curious Lives and Adventures of John Tradescants; and The Rose, A True History. She reviews regularly for the Times Literary Supplement, and has been variously a Royal Literary Fund Fellow, a Hawthornden Fellow, and an Honorary Teaching Fellow on the Warwick Writing Programme.



Jules Pretty is Professor of Environment and Society and Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Essex and his other books include The Earth Only Endures (2007) and Agri-Culture (2002). He is a Fellow of the Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Arts, former Deputy-Chair of the government's Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) and has served on advisory committees for a number of government departments. He received an OBE in 2006 for services to sustainable agriculture, and an honorary degree from Ohio State University in 2009.



Ali Smith was born in Inverness and lives in Cambridge. Her fiction has won many awards and been translated into thirty languages. Her most recent book is Artful (Hamish Hamilton, 2012).



George Szirtes was born in Budapest in 1948 and came to England as a refugee in 1956. He was brought up in London and studied Fine Art in London and Leeds. His poems began appearing in national magazines in 1973 and his first book, The Slant Door, won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial prize in 1980. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and his work has been translated into numerous languages. In 2005 he was awarded the prestigious T.S. Eliot Prize for his book of poems, Reel, and short-listed again this year (2010) for his collection The Burning of the Books and Other Poems. George Szirtes lives near Norwich with his wife, the painter Clarissa Upchurch.



Born in London, Rose Tremain was a graduate of the University of East Anglia, where she taught creative writing from 1988 to 1995. She has written 12 novels, most recently The Road Home, winner of the 2008 Orange Prize, and Trespass (2010). She is also the author of four collections of short stories. Her novel Music and Silence won the 1999 Whitbread Best Novel Award, and Sacred Country won the 1994 Prix Femina Etranger. She was awarded a CBE in 2007, and lives with writer Richard Holmes in Norwich and London.



Candy Whittome is a work psychologist and a trained barrister. She spent ten years abroad working for not-for-profit organisations as a human rights lawyer and researcher, as well as a stint in the Political Division at the UN in New York. Now doing a PhD at Birkbeck College, London, she also lectures in psychology for the Open University and particularly enjoys teaching prison students. She spends as much time as possible in Cromer.

Authors and Artists: Our Authors




Julian Abrams graduated in 1994 from West Surrey College Art of Design with a BA (Hons) in photography and worked as an assistant to fashion and music photographers. He started working on his own in 2000 in the fields of fashion, music and advertising but in recent years has concentrated on architecture, lighting design and interiors. Recent commissions include the One Hyde Park residences in London for Candy and Candy, a football training centre in Soweto for NIKE and ancient heritage sites of Kazakhstan for Kaz Munai Gas as well as personal projects for the RNLI. He is currently working on an ongoing portfolio of landscape photography.



Born in Melbourne, Australia, Jeff Fisher now lives in France. He has written and illustrated many books, and his cover designs adorn hundreds of others from the complete works of Virginia Woolf to the much-imitated cover of the paperback of Captain Corelli's Mandolin.



Born in 1930, David Gentleman studied at the St Albans School of Art and the Royal College of Art, under Edward Bawden and John Nash. One of the most versitile artists working in Britain today, he is well-known as an illustrator, stamp-designer, graphic artist, muralist and author. The scale of his work ranges from postage stamps to the platform-length murals for Charing Cross tube station in London. He has written and illustrated six travel books about cities and countries, several books for children, and two about his own work. All through his working life he has travelled widely, drawing and painting throughout Britain, Europe and India.



Born in Sheffield in 1927, Derrick Greaves rose to prominence as a leading member of the "Kitchen Sink" group of painters in the 1950s and then moved from social realism to a more heraldic style that developed alongside Pop Art in the 1960s. He has represented Britain at the Venice Biennale and his paintings and prints are in major public and private collections throughout the world. A superb draughtsman, colourist and printmaker, he made this set of images especially to accompany Richard Mabey's evocative text.



Born in Suffolk, Maggi Hambling is one of Britain's most celebrated artists. Her first teachers were Arthur Lett Haines and Sir Cedric Morris at the Artists' House, Benton End, in Hadleigh, Suffolk, and she later studied at Ipswich School of Art, Camberwell School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art. She has exhibited widely throughout the UK, as well as in the US and Ireland, and has won numerous awards, including her appointment as the first Artist in Residence at the National Gallery, London, in 1980-81, the Jerwood Painting Prize in 1995, and the Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture for the Aldeburgh Scallop in 2005.



Born in Brazil in 1932, Ronald King moved to England at the age of 12. Following art school and four years working as an art director in Canada, he returned to England with his young family and in 1967 formed Circle Press to "draw together a circle of like-minded people" to design, print and distribute Artists Books. Since then he has collaborated with more than 100 artists, writers and poets to produce a world-class body of work unique in its variety and quality. Ronald King's own work and that of Circle Press is represented in public and private collections worldwide. His latest project is a long-planned sculptural installation based on a legendary 20th century Brazilian bandit. He lives with his wife, the sculptor Willow Legge, in West Sussex.



Ffiona Lewis was born in London and grew up in Devon. She later returned to London to study architecture and art. She now works from studios in London and Suffolk. Her work has been exhibited throughout the UK and abroad, including The Redfern Gallery, London, Sligo Art Gallery, Ireland, The North House Gallery, Essex, Kettles Yard, Cambridge, The Fry Gallery, Saffron Waldon, Snape Maltings, Suffolk and The Belgrave Gallery, St. Ives.



David Morris is a visiting lecturer in creative advertising and has held creative workshops in Milan, Amsterdam, Sarajevo and London. He was named Professional Photographer of the Year in 2009 and in 2010 won the Reportage section of Black & White Photographer of the Year. His work has also been recognised by a Silver Nomination in 2002 for the Design and Art Directors Club Awards.



Tessa Newcomb was born and lives in Suffolk. She is the daughter of the painter Mary Newcomb, and it was by using offcuts of board and card discarded by her mother that Tessa began painting. She went on to study at Bath and Wimbledon schools of art.Her work is held in many private and public collections all over the country, and she has exhibited in many venues in London and elsewhere, including Crane Kalman Gallery.



For ten years Justin Partyka has been photographing the agrarian communities of East Anglia. Born in Norfolk, he trained as a folklorist at Memorial University in Newfoundland. He has exhibited at Tate Britain, the Jerwood Space, the Sainsbury Centre and Gainsborough's House.



Sarah Wood works as an artist filmmaker and curator. Her film projects explore ideas of the archive using found footage.

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