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June 4th 2018

These writers appeared at the BookJam on Monday 4th June 2018 at our regular venue The Hootananny, Brixton. We heard from: Tim Pears, Diana Evans, Sarah Franklin, Richard Millward, Beatrice Parvin, Max Hawker, Lou Allison, Sam Conniff, Peter Lindley, Bill Colegrave, Debi Alper and Andrew Leach. Bernadette Ulla (Unbeknownst) and our resident DJ Andy Carstairs will provided musical inspiration.

The Writers

Tim Pears grew up in Devon, left school at sixteen and worked in a wide variety of jobs, including farm labourer, nurse in a mental hospital, pianist’s bodyguard, painter and decorator, video maker, college night porter, art gallery manager. He was a failed footballer and an unsuccessful film-maker, but has been fortunate enough to publish a few novels, and is presently immersed in a historical trilogy set in the West Country.



Richard Milward is the author of three novels: Apples (2007), Ten Storey Love Song (2009) and Kimberly’s Capital Punishment (2012), published by Faber & Faber. His work has received accolades from such folk as Irvine Welsh (‘a major talent’) and Lauren Laverne (‘astounding’), and to date his books have been translated into nine languages. His fiction and non-fiction has appeared in publications such as The Face, Dazed & Confused, the Guardian, the Independent, the Times, Vice, It’s Nice That and many more. He is currently working on a fourth novel, Man-Eating Typewriter, forthcoming on Faber.

@richard_milward |



Diana Evans was a dancer before becoming a journalist and author. Her first novel, 26a, won the inaugural Orange Award for New Writers. It received a Betty Trask award and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Whitbread First Novel of the Year Award. Her second novel, The Wonder, was called ‘the most dazzling depiction of the world of dance since Ballet Shoes’ by The Times. Diana has contributed to the Independent, Marie Claire, Guardian, Observer, Harper’s Bazaar, Daily Telegraph and many other publications, and holds an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia. She lives in London.

@DianaEvansOP |


Sarah Franklin grew up in the Forest of Dean. She has written for the Guardian, Psychologies, The Pool, the Sunday Express and the Seattle Times. Sarah is the founder and host of Short Stories Aloud, a judge for the Costa Short Story Award and a lecturer at Oxford Brooks University.

@SarahEFranklin #GiveMeShelter





Maximilian Hawker works in frontline children’s social care in Croydon, where he lives with his wife and two children. He has had poetry and short stories – occasionally nominated for awards – appear in publications run by Dog Horn Publishing, Kingston University Press, Arachne Press and Rebel Poetry, among others. He holds an MA by Research in English Literature from Kingston University, where he also studied at undergraduate level, and has previously worked in editorial and education. His debut novel, Breaking The Foals  builds a Bronze-Age tale of family drama, social revolution and war incorporating familiar Homeric characters set in Wilusa – the historical Troy of myth.

@MaxHawker |



Beatrice Parvin grew up in Oxfordshire and was educated at Goldsmiths College. She studied North African dance then performed for several years in Europe and the Middle East. In 2015 she graduated from the MFA course in creative writing at Kingston University with distinction. Captain Swing and the Blacksmith is her first novel. ‘The most impressive feat here is the musicality of your language; which makes this a really poetic read.’ Andrea Stuart, Sugar in the Blood



Bernadette Ulla (aka Unbeknownst) is a songwriter, artist and poet. Her music is a unique blend of experimental, alternative and folk-ballad forms. On coming to London from Kent, Norfolk and Suffolk, she found herself on the margins, living for many years in a Haringey squat and stuck in a number of low-paid  jobs. She found poetry and lyric writing the only viable way to explore her creativity. This naturally lead her into music-making  – first singing in an eccentric-leaning guitar-driven pop band called The Ideal Home – and now as a solo artist. She ran and compered her own night called Wallscratcher Club, which brought together like-minded musicians working on the fringes of modern folk and electro-pop – and was a regular contributor to the underground Comix Reader. Salty Water is her first fully produced album: journeying from childhood through adulthood, love, longing, loss – and coming to terms. Her forthcoming re-issue of City Folk chronicles the passage of time and the lives of outsiders in London’s east end, where she lives.
@bernadetteulla |



Lulu Allison has spent most of her life as a visual artist. She attended Central St Martin’s School of Art then spent a number of years travelling and living abroad. After a decade of wandering, she returned to the UK, where she had two children and focused on art.
In 2013 what began as an art project took her into writing and she unexpectedly discovered what she should have been doing all along. Twice the Speed of Dark is her first book, it was published in November 2017 by Unbound. She is currently writing a second novel. @LuluAllison77 |



Peter Lindley was a foundling, abandoned at the age of two-and-a-half on a bombed-out street in South London, towards the end of the 2nd World War. Attached to his back was a note that read: ‘Please look after Billy. He has no home.’ Taken into care, Billy spent time in a number of children’s homes around the country, while a new name and identity was created for him. As Peter Lindley, he would eventually enjoy a rewarding career in television as a documentary editor. Peter undertook a search in his mid-fifties that helped him to come to terms with that troubled childhood. Now retired, he has written a memoir that centres on that search: Please Look After



Bill Colegrave says he is part adventurer and part entrepreneur. ‘They are much the same except that the former never pays and the latter usually doesn’t’. He has collected and been inspired by travel books for more than four decades. He also published them as owner of Cadogan Guides. His own book Halfway House to Heaven tells the story of his journey up the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan to find the source of the Oxus River in the High Pamirs. He lives in London now, having spent five years in the South of France, where he still shares ownership of a boutique hotel ‘as the junior partner of my ex-wife and a Monte Carlo bank’. He has represented Great Britain at real tennis and also in the World Pétanque Championships.



Sam Conniff Allende is a multi-award winning serial social entrepreneur, and co-founder and former CEO of Livity, Don’t Panic and Live Magazine. Since starting his entrepreneurial career aged 19, Sam has mentored thousands of talented young entrepreneurs and hustlers around the world. He is an acclaimed public speaker, an advocate of ‘business as unusual’ or corporate responsibility and accountability, and a purpose-driven strategy consultant to brands such as Roald Dahl, Red Bull, Unilever and PlayStation.

His new book Be More Pirate, or How To Take On The World and Win, published by Penguin Random House is a manifesto for each of us to create the sort of Good Trouble the world needs. It is a manifesto for each of us to create the sort of Good Trouble the world needs. It’s based on the true and untold strategy and success of the Golden Age of Pirates as agents of change, leadership and social innovation. As unlikely as that sounds.

@SamConniff |



We’re pleased to be able to feature Stories for Homes – supporting Shelter. Three writers will be reading from the new collection:

Andrew Leach has previously had both poetry and a novel published under the name Andrew James, a pseudonym adopted for reasons of previous professional discretion. He is not, and has never been, a spy. His poetry collection, Gareth Southgate’s Proverb, was featured in Magma Poetry magazine in 2007 and his first novel, Blow Your Kiss Hello, was published in 2012. Andy had a short story in volume one of Stories For Homes and has a poem in volume two. He is currently working on a second novel. A consultant to the not-for-profit sector, he lives in Wandsworth. @4ndrewJames

Debi Alper co-edited the Stories for Homes anthologies and co-ordinates the project. Her first two novels, Nirvana Bites and Trading Tatiana, urban thrillers set among the sub cultures of South East London, were published by Orion. She has since set up her own imprint to publish these and her subsequent novels. For the last thirteen years, Debi has spent most of her time helping other writers to perfect their novels through critiques, mentoring, Book Doctor sessions and creative writing workshops. She runs an online Self-Edit Your Novel course for Jericho Writers and is also a reader and judge for various short story competitions, including the Costa Short Story Award. @debialper

Joan Taylor-Rowan is a short story writer and novelist. She splits her time between London and Hastings where she teaches courses in Creative Writing and Textiles. Her stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and have been selected for numerous literary events in London, Brighton and New York. Her work has appeared in a number of anthologies including Stations and London Lies and Stories for Homes. Five of her stories will be appearing in a new anthology Five, due out in July.  Her  stories have been finalists in a variety of international competitions, most recently in the 2017 Cambridge Short Story Competition, in which she was placed second.

Angelita Bradney’sfiction has been published in literary magazines and three print anthologies, most recently ‘Nothing Is As It Was’, a collection of stories about climate change. Her work has been performed on stage in New York and shortlisted in several competitions including the Fish Prize. In 2017 she won the National Memory Day short story prize. @AngelBradn.

Brixton BookJam is at Hootananny Brixton (95 Effra Road, London SW2 1DF) – a large pub with a performance space that can hold 600 people. It also provides cooked food. The closest tube station is Brixton (Victoria line) and buses 2, 3, 415, 432 and 196 will transport you very near to the venue.