Spotlight on our brilliant interviewers for 2019
Hephzibah is currently a columnist at Prospect magazine, feature writer for BBC Culture and Fiction Editor at the Mail on Sunday and she’s a regular contributor to The Observer and BBC Culture. She’s judged the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Jewish Quarterly/Wingate Award, the Author’s Society’s Betty Trask Award and the PEN New Voices Prize. She’s moderated numerous events at the Southbank Centre, the London Book Fair and Jewish Book Week.
Alison is PR Director at Transworld Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House. She is an award-winning publicist who has helped launch the writing careers of many successful authors and has worked on major campaigns for some of the most exciting voices in books, including Festival speakers Kate Atkinson and Lesley Kara.
Hannah worked in television as a producer and commissioning editor for the BBC, Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel USA before becoming a full-time author and journalist. She is a book critic and features writer for a range of publications including the Observer, the Financial Times Weekend Magazine and the Sunday Express, and is a regular chair at literary festivals and publishing events across the UK. She has been a judge for numerous book prizes including the Costa Book Awards. Her debut novel, The Dead Wife’s Handbook, was published in 2014, and her second novel If Only I Could Tell You was published in early 2019.
Leah is a TV present and journalist who started out in radio before working her way onto the small screen where she worked on BBC Breakfast, BBC Sport, Stargazing Live and Newsround. Her and her husband, fellow presenter Rickey Boleto, met while working on Newsround and give full credit to Festival speaker John Craven for bringing them together, as without him, Newsround would never have existed and their paths would never have crossed.
Daisy is a journalist, author and founder of the You’re Booked podcast. She is a regular contributor to TV and radio, frequently appearing on Woman’s Hour, Good Morning Britain, This Morning, Sky News and the Today programme. Daisy writes for a wide range of publications including The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times, The Sun, Grazia, Marie Claire and The Pool, covering everything from pop culture to mental health with a feminist perspective.
Alistair is the Defence and Security correspondent for Sky News, covering global security and diplomatic issues from conflict to counter-terrorism. He regularly reports from the frontlines in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and North Korea. Alistair has been given unprecedented access to some of the UK’s most secretive establishments: GCHQ, the Trident nuclear deterrent, the country’s highly secure air command bunker and the UK’s covert drone base in the Middle East. He has covered key elections in Pakistan and Turkey, the Eurozone crisis across the continent and humanitarian disasters in South Sudan and the Philippines. He also writes a regular “Letter from…” column for the London Evening Standard on international affairs.
Cindy has been a journalist for over 30 years and for the past ten she has written the editorial for Henley Life Magazine, a bespoke monthly magazine for Henley covering most subjects. She regularly hosts and interviews for Henley Literary Festival events, and for eight years she also ran shows and presented on Regatta Radio specifically for Henley Royal Regatta, and all things rowing. Cindy studied journalism at NYU (New York University), and lived in Bristol for many years where she worked with the street homeless for Shelter, and on the DFEE government training schemes for young people and unemployed adults.
Before Patrick retired in 2014 he was one of the most respected and honoured sports writers, with a career spanning nearly 50 years. During his career he accumulated 11 major prizes at the SJA’s annual Sports Journalism Awards, including being five times the Sports Columnist of the Year, as well as Sports Writer of the Year in 1989, 1990, 1997, 2002 and 2008. He worked for the News of the World, Evening News and Evening Standard before joining the Mail on Sunday a few months before its launch in May 1982.
Stewart Collins is the Artistic Director of the Henley Festival, but previously worked as a professional singer/actor, broadcaster and journalist across the BBC networks and as a music writer. He was a prime mover in founding both the Petworth and Stoke on Trent Literary Festivals and is a regular interviewer on the literary circuit having shared the stage with a wide range of authors including Victoria Hislop, AA Gill, Sir Chris Bonington, Henry Blofeld and Christopher Biggins.
Writer and broadcaster, Sue has presented a range of programmes and documentaries for radio and television – hosting Crimewatch,The Chelsea Flower Show and Children in Need. She is currently writing her third novel.
Stephanie has ghostwritten two Sunday Times Top 10-bestselling memoirs. She currently reviews fiction for the Daily Mail, and has previously reviewed for the Observer and Daily Telegraph. Other publications she has written for include BBC Countryfile magazine, the Independent on Sunday and the Times Literary Supplement. She is a writer-in-residence for the literary charity First Story, and a freelance editor and mentor.
Steph left a career in brand and marketing to start thoughtful gift company Don’t Buy Her Flowers in 2014. Originally set up as gifts for new mums, the business now caters for many different occasions from birthdays to bereavement and any time someone needs some TLC. Steph regularly writes and talks honestly about motherhood and relationships, believing that we’re all in it together as none of us really knows what we’re doing.
Lesley is a fashion journalist and former This Morning fashion expert.
Jonathan is a former editor of The Observer and The South China Morning Post and Reuters news agency. He contributes to newspapers, magazines and broadcasting stations in the UK, France, the US and Asia. His books include histories of modern China and France, Alliance: The Inside Story of How Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill Won One War and Began Another and acclaimed biographies of Charles de Gaulle and Chiang Kai-shek. He has been made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to journalism as well as being awarded the French Légion d’Honneur and Order of Merit. His latest book describes the beginnings of the Cold War and the new world order post-Second World War. Crucible: The Year That Forged Our World.
Gerry has been a broadcast journalist for more than 35 years. The bulk of his career has been at Westminster. When it comes to chairing events , Gerry is highly versatile . He’s interviewed novelists, comedians, playwrights, mountaineers , philosophers, historians, musicians , palaeontologists, sports stars and fellow broadcasters. The BBC’s John Simpson called him , ‘Prince of Interviewers’. Channel 4’s Nick Hewer said he’s ‘a master interviewer who made it great fun’. Best selling author, Sophie Kinsella remarked ‘he was a joy to talk to’ while Julie Myerson said ‘she would beg organisers to book him’. His website is www.gerryfoleytv.com
Dame Katherine Jane Grainger, to give her her full title, is a British rower and with five Olympic medals is Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian. She is a 2012 Summer Olympics gold medallist, four-time Olympic silver medallist and six-time World Champion, and since 2015 she has been chancellor of Oxford Brookes University.
In 2017 Katherine was appointed Chair of UK Sport and is a serving board member of International Inspiration, a charity that promotes access to sport, play, and physical exercise for low and middle income families with children around the world.
Steve is the Deputy Political Editor for The Sun, and previously worked for The Times, Daily Mirror and The Daily Telegraph.
Daniel is a writer, editor and translator with some sixty books to his name. Recent books include the translation of José Eduardo Agualusa’s The Society of Reluctant Dreamers. 2019 marks Daniel’s 100th interview for the Henley Literary Festival.
Amanda Jennings writes psychological suspense and is the author of Sworn Secret, The Judas Scar, In Her Wake, and, most recently, The Cliff House. Amanda is a regular guest on BBC Berkshire’s weekly Book Club and enjoys meeting readers at libraries, book clubs and literary festivals. Amanda lives just outside Henley with her husband, three daughters and an unruly menagerie of pets, and is currently writing her fifth book.
Jessica is a journalist and is the co-founder of new online homes and lifestyle magazine The Home Page. Jessica has been an editor at The Sunday Times; Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion and has written for The Sunday Times Magazine and the paper’s News Review, Home and Travel sections; The Daily Telegraph; Stella and Harrods Magazine. She has sat on the judging panel at the British Press Awards and chairs the literary events at Calcot Manor. This is her third year at the Henley Literary Festival.
Cesca is a writer and vlogger. Cesca has written three novels – her debut The Silent Hours set during WWII was described as a “moving debut” by Women and Home magazine and The Times called Major “a talent to watch.” Her third novel The Other Girl, to be published by Thomas and Mercer in 2020, is a historical thriller perfect for members of a book club. It is set in an asylum in 1940s New Zealand and is inspired by a terrible true story. As an ex-TV presenter Cesca is also comfortable in front of the camera and has vlogged for Novelicious.com and the Writers and Artists website. Cesca also writes feel-good women’s fiction under her pseudonym Rosie Blake. Cesca lives in Berkshire with her husband, son and twin girls.
Jonathan is a contributing editor for FT magazines and is a regular writer for the Observer, The Guardian, the Daily Mail, BA High Life and Esquire. He is the author of several bestselling biographies, including those of John Cleese, Michael Palin and Billy Connolly.
Jane is a journalist and former Head of Media for Guardian News and Media, and in 2018 she was appointed as the Marjorie Deane Professor of Financial Journalism at City, University of London. She worked briefly on a local newspaper before joining the Financial Times, where she wrote about companies, markets, natural resources and corporate governance. Jane joined the Guardian as the US business correspondent based in New York, covering the early dot com boom and Wall Street as well as politics and the environment. She spent 18 years as a member of the award-winning senior editorial leadership team at the Guardian.
Giles Milton is an internationally best-selling author of narrative non-fiction. His most recent book is D-Day: The Soldiers’ Story. His last book, Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, was a Sunday Times best-seller. Other best-selling books include Nathaniel’s Nutmeg – serialized by the BBC – and seven other critically acclaimed works of history.
Mark Palmer has written for national newspapers and magazines for more than thirty years. He was formerly with the Daily Telegraph and is now the Travel Editor for the Daily Mail.
Francesca has worked as a journalist for a number of Trinity Mirror titles. She was the what’s on editor at Get Reading and now works in the world of marketing. She is also a freelance interviewer and works closely with Waterstones and Henley Literary Festival as a host for the ‘An Audience With…’ events.
Biographer, journalist and speech writer, Stephen writes for a wide range of publication and clients in the UK and beyond. Feature writer for The Mail, Spectator and Tatler, Stephen also reviews books for The Sunday Times.
James is an award-winning film-maker, Commissioning Editor for Arts at BBC Radio 4, and the author of ten novels. Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death was published in 2012, soon followed five more in the Grantchester Mysteries series. In 2014, ITV launched Grantchester, a prime-time series starring James Norton. He lives in Edinburgh.
Jo worked in national newspapers – the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Telegraph – for 35 years as reporter, news editor, features editor and sports editor. He been involved in the Literary Festival since its inception.
Rosalind is a journalist and co-founded online homes and lifestyle magazine The Home Page with fellow Festival interviewer Jessica Jonzen. Rosalind was previously the Editor of edition magazines portfolio, and has written for national newspapers. She has also appeared as a regular talking head on regional and national TV shows and was on the voting panel for the BRIT Awards for a number of years.
Al is a theatre journalist and writer who has had a long and distinguished career writing for The Independent and The Stage newspapers as well as frequently leading platforms at The National Theatre and the Theatre Museum.
Sunny is a London based writer, academic and literary activist. She is the author of three critically acclaimed novels: Nani’s Book of Suicides, With Krishna’s Eyes and Hotel Arcadia. Her first non-fiction book, Single in the City: The Independent Woman’s Handbook, is a first-of-its-kind exploration of single women in contemporary India. She has published short stories in prestigious international literary journals including The Drawbridge, The Good Journal and World Literature Today. She also writes for newspapers and magazines, in Spanish and English, across the globe. Her latest book, published by the British Film Institute, is a study of the Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan. Singh is the current chairperson of the historic Authors Club and founder of the Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour.
Matthew Stadlen is a radio, television and on stage presenter and interviewer and also presents the How To Academy podcast. He began presenting on LBC in October 2016 and has achieved large national audiences for his weekend shows. Matthew has written for The Sunday Times and Radio Times, The Independent and The Spectator, he has appeared frequently on Sky News and is the co-author of The Politics Companion, published in 2004.
Rick is a writer, historian and television director and is the author of The Phantom Army of Alamein: The Men Who Hoodwinked Rommel and The Book of the Moon. He is also the author, with Victor Gregg, of Rifleman: A Front Line Life from Alamein and Dresden to the Fall of the Berlin Wall and King’s Cross Kid: A London Childhood Between the Wars.
Clemmie is the creator of Mother of All Lists and the Honestly podcast. She lives in Peckham with her husband and three kids: Bertie, five, Woody, three, Greta, three weeks and Derek – their sausage dog.
Nick is an author and sports writer who has written for the Daily Mail, the Independent on Sunday and the Sunday Times. He also collaborated with Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Ben Ainslie on their autobiographies.
Beverley is a regular face on TV and radio and until recently spent five years hosting her own LBC phone-in show. She writes regularly for The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Mail and has a monthly column in City Kids. She has written three books of quite diverse interests! In 2004, The Pits, The Real World of F1 cemented her reputation as a rigorous journalist, unafraid to lift the lid on the murky world of motorsport. In 2011, she published Touching Distance, a harrowing but humorous account of helping her then-husband rower, James Cracknell recover from a traumatic brain injury. And in 2017, she released The Happy Birth Book, a go-to-guide for pregnant couples which accompanies her business The Happy Birth Club.
Sophie van Brugen
Sophie is an award winning BBC journalist who lives near Henley.
Kate is an author, social historian and broadcaster. She fell in love with history whilst studying for her BA and DPhil at the University of Oxford and has MAs from Queen Mary and Royal Holloway. She is a Professor of History and appears regularly on television – on programmes from The Great British Bake Off to election coverage and comedy panel shows. She has written five historical biographies and a series of historical novels, and loves nothing more than a spending her time in dusty archives.
Simon is an English actor known for playing James Bellamy in the period drama Upstairs, Downstairs. Since 2014, he has played the character of Justin Elliott in the long-running BBC Radio 4 series The Archers, and recently appeared in Alan Bennett’s Allelujah! at The Bridge Theatre, London. Simon also writes a weekly column for the Telegraph.