Readers’ Day at Square Chapel

Are you in a book group or do you just love reading? Join us for Readers’ Saturday– a chance to get to know three terrifically entertaining writers in the company of local readers. Sophie Hannah is a bestselling crime novelist with a gift for great characters and fiendish plots. Her latest novel, The Monogram Murders, is something special – the first Hercule Poirot novel for forty years, authorised by Agatha Christie Estate and a diabolically clever puzzle for anyone who loves classic crime. Jenn Ashworth’s first novel, A Kind of Intimacy, was a brilliant portrait of obsession. Her lastest novel, The Friday Gospels, is a revealing account the Mormon community in Lancashire. Jonathan Taylor’s book, Take Me Home, was a moving account of on his father’s experience of Parkinson’s disease. His other books – including novels and short-stories – are equally compelling. Readers’ Saturday will include presentations by all three writers and in-conversation sessions looking at all aspects of writing. If you’d always wanted to find out how writers get published or what goes into researching a book or if you’d simply like to hear great stories from those who write them, this is a perfect event. Signed copies of the writers’ books will be on sale during the day. [The price includes a buffet lunch and light refreshments]. Your host for this event is Yorkshire writer and poet James Nash.

About the authors/artists

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards.  Two of Sophie’s crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012.
In 2004, Sophie won first prize in the Daphne Du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition for her suspense story The Octopus Nest, which is now published in her first collection of short stories, The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets. Sophie has also published five collections of poetry. Her fifth, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A-level and degree level across the UK. From 1997 to 1999 she was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge, and between 1999 and 2001 she was a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. She is forty-one and lives with her husband and children in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College.  She has just published the first Hercule Poirot novel since Agatha Christie’s death, approved by her estate.

Jenn Ashworth was born in 1982 in Preston, Lancashire. She studied English at Newnham College, Cambridge and Creative Writing at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester.
In 2009 her first novel, A Kind of Intimacy was published. It won a 2010 Betty Trask Award. On the publication of her second novel, Cold Light, in 2011, she was featured on the BBC’s Culture Show as one of the UK’s 12 best new novelists. Her novels have been translated into French, Italian and German and published in the US.
Her short stories have appeared in the MIR 9, The Manchester Review, Dogmatika, Beat the Dust, Jawbreakers and Bugged, among other places. She reviews fiction for The Guardian and wrote Every Day I Lie a Little, a prize-winning blog which no longer exists.
In 2013 her third novel, The Friday Gospels, was published by Sceptre. She lectures in Creative Writing at Lancaster University.

Jonathan Taylor is a novelist, memoirist, short-story writer, poet, critic and lecturer. He is author of the novel Entertaining Strangers (Salt, 2012), which was shortlisted for the East Midlands Book Award 2013 and longlisted for Not the Booker Prize 2013, and the memoir Take Me Home: Parkinson’s, My Father, Myself (Granta, 2007). He is editor of the anthology Overheard: Stories to Read Aloud (Salt, 2012), winner of the Saboteur Awards 2013: Best Fiction Anthology. His poetry collection is Musicolepsy, published by Shoestring Press in April 2013. His collection of short stories, Kontakte and Other Stories, was published by Roman Books in July 2013, and has since been shortlisted for the Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection 2014, and longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize 2014 and Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award 2014. A second edition of Kontakte and Other Stories, with a new preface, was published by Roman Books in 2014.
Jonathan is Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. His academic books are Mastery and Slavery in Victorian Writing (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2003) and Science and Omniscience in Nineteenth-Century Literature (Sussex Academic, hardback edition 2007, paperback edition 2014). With Andrew Dix, he is co-editor of collection of essays Figures of Heresy (Sussex Academic, 2005). In previous roles, he was Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at De Montfort University (2007-2014) and Lecturer in English at Loughborough University (2001-2007), where he was co-founder and director of both the M.A. in Creative Writing and Ph.D in Creative Writing programmes. See the Academic page for further details and links.
Jonathan is co-founder and co-director of arts organisation and small publisher Crystal Clear Creators. He is General Editor of Hearing Voices Magazine and the Crystal Pamphlets series. With Maria Taylor, he is co-editor of Fizzle & Sizzle (Crystal Clear Creators (CCC) Publishing, 2008).
Jonathan’s stories, poems, non-fiction and reviews have appeared in magazines, anthologies, websites and newspapers including Times Literary Supplement, The Independent, Times 2, Times Higher, Guardian Family, Guardian Education, Granta, London, Indent, Poetry Scotland, Iota, Envoi, Acumen, Seventh Quarry, Stand, Staple, New Walk, Connotation Press, Indent, Poetry Cornwall, Coffee House, Family History Monthly, Necessary Fiction, New Trespass, Interpreter’s House, Poetic Diversity, NASA-Chandra, Agenda, The Author, Litro, Obsessed With Pipework, and many others. In 2012, his poetry was shortlisted for the Fermoy Internation Poetry Competition.
Jonathan’s prose, poetry, interviews and radio plays have featured on national and local radio stations across the U.K. and U.S., including BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 5, BBC Scotland, BBC Wales, BBC Three Counties, BBC Leicester, BBC Cornwall, BBC Sussex, BBC Jersey, BBC Cumbria, BBC Leicester, Oneword, Resonance FM, Carillon, Radio Wildfire, Radio St. Austell, Radio Verulam, Takeover Radio, Heat FM, Heat Rays FM, Festival FM, Virtually American, U.K. Theatre Network, and many others.
Jonathan regularly comperes and organises events and workshops, and performs his stories, poetry, non-fiction and music at events, festivals and conferences in the U.K., as well as Cyprus and the U.S. These have included events at Swansea International Poetry Festival, Lowdham Book Festival, Warwick Words Festival, Cultural Exchanges Festival, Cheltenham Poetry Festival, Lichfield Festival, Greenbelt Literature Festival, States of Independence, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Swanwick Writing School, Nottinghamshire Readers’ Day, Derbyshire Readers’ Day; public events and workshops in Leicestershire, Northampton, Birmingham, Nottingham, Lichfield; conferences and public readings at Lincoln University, Warwick University Arts Centre, Nottingham Trent University, Kingston University, Leicester University, Loughborough University Arts Centre, De Montfort University, Chicago University, European University of Cyprus, Sheffield University, Southampton University, Northampton University; schools in Liverpool and Leicester; LOROS events, conferences and courses in Leicester and Northampton; and Parkinson’s Disease Societies in Loughborough, Leicester, Durham, Northampton, Cheshunt, Tamworth, Newmarket, Bourne, Shrewsbury, and many others. In conjunction with Nine Arches Press, he runs the Crystal Clear Creators-Nine Arches Press Shindigs (open-mic poetry evenings) in Leicester.
Jonathan is currently completing a second novel entitled Melissa, which has been longlisted for the 2013 Exeter Novel Prize.
Jonathan also writes music. His work has been performed by himself and others at concerts in Leicester, Loughborough, Warwick, Skye, Cumbria, Hertfordshire, Edinburgh and elsewhere; and it has been broadcast on various radio stations.
Jonathan was born in 1973 and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, and now lives in Leicestershire with his wife, the poet Maria Taylor, and their twin daughters, Miranda and Rosalind.
Jonathan is on twitter @crystalclearjt.

I was born in 1949 in west London. My childhood was a fifties, suburban one, so for most of us boys it involved a lot of respectability and repression, and grey flannel shorts until you were fourteen. If you were a girl you spent a lot of time helping Mummy in the kitchen (like Jane in the Ladybird, Peter and Jane books). My childhood and teenage years were difficult, and full of drama, which although challenging, has been a great source of material in my later life as a writer. For those who are interested, I touch on my personal history in the story Exile in Four Fathers.

I came to Leeds in 1971 to do an MA at the University. And like many before and many after me, decided to stay, living at one address, or another, in Leeds 6, ever since.

Much of the seventies, eighties and nineties were taken up with teaching which I turned out to be not bad at, particularly with ‘difficult’ or ‘naughty’ kids. In loco parentis, another story from Four Fathers will tell you a little more about my early years as a teacher.

And then the middle nineties, whacked out by my life and all its changes, I eventually decided to leave teaching because I wanted to try to make it as a writer. I had been lucky enough to meet award-winning writer Char March (wonderful poetry, short, stories and radio plays) and she, with great selflessness, gave me a fantastic apprenticeship in writing and performance. The fruits of that friendship can be found in Deadly Sensitive.

I spent the next eight years in writing. I worked for the Metro newspaper, the Leeds Guide, and Northern Exposure, and became Writer in Residence for organisations as diverse as the National Library for the Blind and HM Prison Wakefield. This work extended into schools, so I’m the Writer in Residence for Calderdale High Schools, and for the University of Leeds, Faculty of Education. I also developed a secondary career hosting literary events around the country, talking to and interviewing writers about their work. I can be often be seen on the platform of the Ilkley Literature Festival chairing events with folk as diverse as Sarah Waters, Billy Bragg or Andrew Motion.

Some impressions of my present life can be gained from reading Coma Songs. But most of the poems have no autobiographical basis to them, apart from showing what I was interested in at the time of writing each poem.

Booking information

28th March 2015
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