About Our CrimeBits Authors

Please see below the full list of all of our contributing authors and their bios.

The Black Spring Prize for Best Opening To a Crime Book

Our shortlist

WINNER: Richard Burke

Entry title: Assassins

Bio: For the past ten years Richard has combined a technical career with part-time writing. His first book, The Rage, took three years to write, but since then he has self-published another five novels, including The Decimation trilogy, The Colour of the Soul and Assassin’s Web. In addition to full-length novels, Richard’s short stories have been published in anthologies by Bloodhound Books, Corona Books and Bridge House Publishing.

Alys Cummings

Entry Titles: The Fixer (shortlisted), Jackknifed

Bio: Alys is an investigative journalist, documentary filmmaker and former court reporter. Her documentaries include films on avoidable deaths in maternity care, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the world of the UK’s conspiracy theorists. She is currently finishing writing her own first crime novel – inspired by a love of puzzles and learning to do cryptic crosswords during lockdown.

Dahlia Fisher

Entry Title: Timor Estates

Bio: Dahlia Fisher is a published author, produced playwright, seasoned performer, and writing/performance instructor living in Cleveland, Ohio. She holds a BA in theatre, an MA in communications, and an MFA in creative writing. She is co-founder of Rebel Readers Cleveland, a monthly book club that builds bridges between cultures and communities through books.

Marek Turner

Entry Titles: Skin of a Cop (shortlisted), An Illustrious Corpse, No Sleep For The Dead

Bio: Marek Z. Turner is an English writer whose fiction primarily focuses on those for whom life hasn’t been kind to. His work encompasses the crime fiction, noir, and thriller genres, with a dash of black humour thrown in. He is the author of Killerpede, and The Eighth Hill, as well as several published crime short stories. He has also written several non-fiction articles on Italian film published across a range of magazines and home entertainment releases. In 2021, he was a finalist in the Capital Crime New Voices Award competition.

Lucy Wetherall

Entry Title: I Killed A Man

Bio: Lucy Wetherall has worked as a freelance law clerk for Toronto-based Criminal Defence Lawyers for over thirty years. She is passionate about social justice and pursuing equality and fairness in the judicial system. A lifetime avid reader, Lucy began her writing career at 50, and published her first short story in 2022.


Our longlist

John Adamcik

John’s writing includes poetry, short fiction, essays, sermons, novels, and short film scripts. His work has been published in O.Henry Magazine, Poetry Society of Michigan’s Peninsula Poets, and U.P. Reader.Recently Adamcik and a colleague co-wrote and co-produced a short independent film in the psychological thriller genre.

Leanne Anderson

Leanne is an emerging author in the crime/psychological thriller genre. She is currently editing her first manuscript, The Vanishing, while plotting her second novel. Leanne is passionate about stories that capture the complexities of relationships, family dynamics and the often-dysfunctional nature of human interactions and how far everyday characters will go when threatened. 

Steven Axelrod

Steven holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His six Henry Kennis Nantucket mysteries are published by Poisoned Pen Press, now the mystery imprint of Sourcebooks. His work can be found online, Nikki Finke's Hollywood Dementia, TheGoodMenProject, Salon.com, and Canadian author Douglas Glover's Numéro Cinq

Cailey Barker

Cailey writes a blog called The Whisper about life and longevity. Cailey’s writing incorporates the streets he’s walked and the fights he’s fought (he is a trained black belt), with a penchant for finding light in the darkness. He was short and longlisted for the CWA Short Mystery Prize in 2023 and 2024. 

Sacha Bissonnette

Sacha is currently working on a short fiction collection as well as a comic book adaptation of one of his short stories. His fiction has appeared in Witness, Wigleaf, SmokeLong, EQMM, Terrain, Ghost Parachute, The No Sleep Podcast and elsewhere. His projects are powered by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Ottawa. He has been selected for the 2024 Sundress Publications Residency and is the winner of the 2024 Faulkner Gulf Coast Residency. 

Jamie Brannan

Currently, Jamie is working on their debut novel. Jamie is a dedicated writer and level designer in the video game industry, known for creating immersive and engaging experiences. His projects showcase a unique blend of technical skill, creative storytelling, and world-building. This new venture allows Jamie to explore intricate plots and character development in ways that complement their experience in game design. 

Tony Bury

Tony has had a passion for writing songs, poems and short stories since an early age. Taking his writing more seriously over the last eight years, he has already published sixteen books in several genres including horror, crime, comedy, children's books, adventure, poetry whilst working on screen plays and his first album. 

Victoria Chang

Victoria is an English tutor and Singaporean writer who is currently working on her first novel, Enrichment, a murder mystery set in a tuition centre in Singapore where rivalries see the among elite tutors and students. 

Nathan Coon

Nathan has worked at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for 15 years and still does. But, for the last couple years, has decided to refocus his energy into writing. Nathan is a middle aged white boy being raised by his wife and four daughters.

Liz Correal

Liz has been writing poems and short stories for as long as I can remember. She has written one historical novel and a children’s fantasy book that developed into a lengthy obsession with screenwriting. She writes freelance for American tech companies and this work has been the inspiration for her current writing project that is featured in this anthology. 

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Daniel Cox-Howard

Daniel has published three novels by The Story Plant; Down Solo and Trust Me, followed by a sequel to Down Solo called Down to No Good. His short stories have been published in numerous anthologies and magazines. 

John Cunningham

John is a writer and high school teacher whose learning environment inspires the settings of his short stories; realistic, evocative settings inhabited by vivid, quirky characters. John is in the process of writing a sci-fi noir thriller. He is particularly interested in the mashing together of genres. His fiction reflects his interests, which are in film and music. 

Catherine Darensbourg

Catherine’s writing for two decades was for college theatre, and after placing in the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Competition semifinals 4 years in a row, she worked on poetry. Currently she is finishing Shell, a short text adventure and murder-mystery game she designed in order to relearn basic web-design. 

Lee Dawkins

Lee’s writing has been widely published and he has achieved success in a number of literary contests. He recently had a short story nominated for the 2024 Pushcart Prize by a US publisher. Lee has a particular interest in fiction that incorporates themes of social and political philosophy. He is currently working on an eco-mystery, set in a small and beautiful utopian community founded on principles of sustainability and enoughness. 

Jim DeFillippi

Jim DeFilippi published his first crime novel, Blood Sugar, with HarperCollins to great acclaim. Since then, his forty books of many genres (crime novels, true crime, humor, biography, history) have been praised by publications like Publishers Weekly and George V. Higgins. 

Meg E. Dobson

Meg’s short stories have appeared in national anthologies like Malice Domestic, Poisoned Pen Press, and Sisters in Crime - Desert Sleuths. Additional award-winning shorts were honored twice by the Tempe Community Writing Forum. Her flash fiction placed top-five three times at Writers’ Police Academy. Her young adult crime fiction novel, Chaos Theory, a Kami Files Mystery, was published by the Poisoned Pen’s imprint press. 

Niamh Donnellan

Niamh’s first crime novel, Mind Yourself, was published in 2021. She won the Anthology Short Story Award 2020 and was longlisted for the Bournemouth Writing Prize. Her short stories have been included in many literary journals including Postbox and The Honest Ulsterman. 

Mickey Dubrow

Mickey is the author of Bulletproof, Always Agnes and American Judas. For over thirty years, he wrote television promos and scripts for various clients including Cartoon Network, TNT Latin America, and HGTV. His short stories and essays have appeared in Prime Number Magazine, The Good Men Project, The Signal Mountain Review, Full Grown People, and WELL READ Magazine’s Best of 2023 Volume Two. His first novel, American Judas, won the 2024 American Legacy Book Award in the category of Science Fiction: Parallel Universe/Alternative History. 

Antony Dunford

Antony Dunford is wrote his first novel when he was 18. Many years and many novel projects later, Indy publishers Hobeck Books published his eco-thriller debut, Hunted, in January 2021, and a prequel, Born the Same, in May 2023. He is currently simultaneously working on his third, fourth, fifth, and sixth novels in three different genres. 

Helen East

Helen has written previously for Channel4 and BBC Radio4, and is short and longlisted in various competitions for tv, radio, short film and the theatre, including BBC Two, and Channel 4, Verity Bargate, Bruntwood and Nick Darke theatre awards. She finds it easy to see inspiration in daily life for her crime thriller stories and her inclusion in this book is going to be the start of a crime thriller that she intends to keep working on. 

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Lucy Edwards

Lucy began writing stories in primary school, preferring to imagine adventures to paying attention to maths lessons and invented stories for and sometimes about her friends. She is three-quarters through writing her first novel and has notes for two sequels as well as an historical crime thriller crossover on the back burner. 

Susie Ellis

Susie has been reading and drafting stories since she was a child. When she is not reading crime fiction, she is working on her own which includes a collection of short stories and a novel she describes as a fast-paced thriller. She is excited to be a part of our competition because it ‘provides such a boost for new and emerging writers.’ 

Alan Evans

Alan’s first novel, Salma’s Shoes, reflects his passion for sailing and his fascination with the moral dilemmas that face us all. It is under contract to be published by Black Spring Press.

Peter Everett

Peter read English at Oxford and trained as a newspaper journalist before joining BBCRadio as a producer. He worked in local radio and on the Radio 4 ‘Today’ program, then turned to features and documentaries, specialising in the montage form and winning a number of awards. Later he was a head of network radio production in first Birmingham and then Bristol. These days he combines radio freelance work with producing the Andy Kershaw podcast. He has previously published You’ll Never Be 16 Again, a history of the British teenager, based on his Radio 1 series of the same name, and (as an e-book) Dead Men Singing, a thriller set in southern America. Red Elvis is a work in progress – a novel based on a play that he wrote and produced for Radio 4. 

Tracy Falenwolfe

Since winning the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable Short Story Award in 2014, Tracy’s stories have appeared in over a dozen publications including Woman’s World, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Weekly, Mystery Magazine, Spinetingler Magazine, Flash Bang Mysteries, Crimson Streets, and several Chicken Soup for the Soul volumes. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. 

Donál Fogarty

Dónal’s fictional and factual works span a variety of genres and formats. He has written and edited scripts for the UK stage (Hall for Cornwall) and radio (Source FM). His irreverent spoken word poetry on a theme of education has been performed at various venues around London. His hybrid prose/filmscript short story was performed and critiqued on a recent episode of the Failing Writer’s Podcast. He has been a reader for the Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation and he has taught science communication and academic writing at the University of Nottingham and Imperial College, London.

Peter Fryer

Peter has won several awards for print and TV work, his high point was a partnership in a small publishing firm in which he edited a dozen or more books and published two of his own, both currently online. That sadly ended when the partner passed away, but writing continues to be a passion.

C.A Fulwell

C. A. Fulwell has always loved stories. He began writing in January 2024 and, whilst working on his first novel, has thrown himself into a host of short story contests– long listed for the April Furious Fiction and picking up an Honourable Mention in the inaugural Twist In The Tale Flash Fiction Contest. His work has been published in the online literary magazine 101 Words. 

Vicky Garforth

David Goodlett

David is a former college professor of twentieth-century history who has been writing fiction for a number of years. His varied career background informs many aspects of his novels. He is a huge fan of mystery and suspense novels, classic and contemporary, and possesses a great deal of knowledge of the genres. He is also an experienced public speaker and a member of the Authors Guild. In 2023, he published a suspense thriller, The Devil’s Payback on Amazon. 

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Alan Peter Gorevan

Alan is an Irish thriller writer and intellectual property attorney. A winner of the Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair competition, he is the author of the novels The Book Club Murders, The Kindness of Psychopaths, Postcards from San Michele, Better Confess, and Out of Nowhere. He has also written the novellas The Forbidden Room, The Hostage, and Hit and Run, and the short story collection Dark Tales. He decided to become a thriller writer after picking up a copy of Lee Child’s Killing Floor in an airport bookshop at the age of sixteen. 

S.D.W Hamilton

S.D.W. Hamilton draws from twelve years and counting in various frontline criminal justice roles to write about the types of stories he knows best. His debut novel, Blood on The Broadcast, a mystery thriller set in Belfast, released in February 2024.

Katt Hansen

After years as a literary agent and editor, Katt Hansen lurks in the shadows and writes behind closed doors, usually with an accomplice or two as a ghostwriter. With more than 100 books in print, none of which she can acknowledge, Katt has decided to leave anonymity behind and venture into the world of writing thrillers under her own name for a change. 

Kathryn Hatfield

Kathryn has spent the last two decades working as an English secondary school teacher in North Wales. She is a fiction writer with a particular interest in the landscapes of Wales and the links between place, identity and language. Her stories often stem from her Welsh roots and mixed heritage. She is currently writing a collection of Welsh folk horror short stories. Her short story, The Wrong Yes, was recently published in prose and poetry bi-annual Field. 

Anne Hewling

Anne Hewling has worked for over 40 years worked in a range of teaching and learning contexts around the world, publishing non-fiction. She also spent several years as owner of a bookshop in Botswana while her daughter was very young. She has MA in Creative Writing and although claiming primary allegiance to crime fiction, she also dabbles in poetry and romance. This allows her to write in all sorts of inspirational places.   

Nicole HoSang

Nicole works as a technical editor in the eLearning space. She is a former public librarian and also has a lifelong habit of helping people as they write their own important documents, taking on everything from graduate school theses to break-up texts. Her non-technical writing can be found online at Electric Lit, Silver Rose Magazine, and in the fiction archives of Tin House.  

Iqbal Hussain

Iqbal’s debut novel, Northern Boy, about being a “butterfly among the bricks”, will be published in June 2024 by Unbound Firsts. His debut middle grade children’s novel, The Time Travelling Misadventures of the 7th Son is currently out on submission. His work appears in various anthologies, including Mainstream by Incandescent, and Lancashire Stories by UCLan Publishing. Iqbal’s nature writing can be read on sites such as The Hopper and caughtbytheriver. His short story I’ll Never Be Young Again won first prize at the Fowey Festival of Art & Literature 2023. His story Stuck for Words was joint runner-up in the Evening Standard Stories Festival. 

Lorah Jaiyn

Most of Lorah’s work involve at least some element of romance. My stories are somewhere between the Hallmark and Lifetime channels, inspired by my love for Nora Roberts and Nicholas Sparks. Lorah is well known for her love of squirrels, which often find their way into her stories. 

Anwen John

Anwen started writing in 2023 to have something positive to focus on during palliative chemotherapy. Her first book, a crime story, is with a publisher and will be available in paperback and as an eBook in 2024. As well as writing books, she enjoys writing short stories and flash fiction. Her short stories are in her preferred genre, crime fiction, but explores other writing genres in her flash fiction. 

Amy Lyn Kench

Amy is an independent designer and freelance writer. Her fabric and graphic designs are bold, colorful, and fun. As a writer, she has published hundreds of articles about sustainable crafts, movies, books, special events, entertainment, and sports. She’s an avid reader and watcher of thrillers, horror, and cozy mysteries. This is her first novel. 

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Jason Kerrigan

Jason has worked as an engineering designer only recently deciding to follow his passion to write. He started writing in his spare time between family life and work commitments and soon developed a love for it. This is his debut novel - Never Look Back, the first in a series of thrillers and he is now busy working on the sequel. 

Andrew Komarnyckyi

Andrew has been a lawyer, odd-job man, PR Consultant, hospital porter, and plongeur among many other occupations. His literary tastes range across every fiction genre including – perhaps inevitably – postmodernism, with which he has a love-hate relationship. 

John Lau

John has enjoyed a long and varied career as a writer in both film and television. He has sold material to or worked for most of the major studios and TV networks, many independent producers, as well as a handful of directors and actors. He is also an independent film producer and has recently expanded his debut novel Phantom Pain into an eight-episode TV series for streaming or premium. Like all longtime writers, John has a backlog of unfinished stories and ideas he will rummage through from time to time. Daisy Blue, his contribution to this collection, was a recent such salvage project, which he is now writing in both screenplay and novel form. 

Allen Learst

Allen has been published in the Alaska Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, Chattahoochee Review, Passages North, Hawaii Review, Ascent, Water-stone, and War, Literature, and the Arts. He won the Leapfrog Fiction Contest in 2011 for his collection of linked stories titled Dancing at the Gold Monkey

Jennifer Leeper

Marti Leimbach

Marti is the author of seven novels for adults and one for young adults. Her books include the Waterstone's bestseller, Daniel Isn’t Talking, and The New York Times and international bestseller, Dying Young, which was made into a film starring Julia Roberts. She has written for major newspapers and magazines across the world, including The Times, Vogue, Redbook, The Guardian, Boston Globe, and Cosmopolitan. Widely translated, and published worldwide, Marti is a core tutor at the University of Oxford’s Master’s Programme in Creative Writing. 

Camilla Macpherson

Camilla Macpherson is a UK-based writer. Amongst other writing awards and accolades, she is a previous winner of the Margery Allingham / Crime Writers’ Association Short Story Competition. She was shortlisted again in 2024. Her debut novel, Pictures at an Exhibition, was published by Random House in 2012 and has been translated into Dutch, German and Polish. She has been working on a historical crime novel set in war-time Holland. 

Oliver Marlow

Oliver Marlow was brought up in Holland and Norfolk and now lives in Sussex. Being a teacher, he is lucky enough to have the holidays to work on his debut novel The Space Between, a spy thriller which he hopes to finish by the end of 2024. 

Dierdre Mcauley

Alexander McDermott

Alexandra is a graduate of City University's Novel Studio program. Her short story Breakdown won the Swanwick Short Story Prize and was a finalist in City Writes, Spring 2020. Her dystopian novella, The Truckers' Revolt, placed second in the 2019 3-Day Novel Competition and was also shortlisted in Black Spring Press's 2021 Best of the Bottom Drawer Prize. She is currently working on a series of crime novels set across post-war Europe. 

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Catherine McDermott

Cate’s self-published novel, Bernadette: Princess Under Protest, is currently under submission to the North Street Book Prize, and she has also self-published four study guides on the Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan in Our World (the final three instalments will be forthcoming!) 

Samantha Metcalfe

Samantha Metcalfe is an aspiring writer balancing a love of writing, spending time with family and a passion for the paranormal, this writer can often be found daydreaming about ideas for creepy tales. As a huge fan of both Stephen King and R.L. Stine, the writer brings their vivid imagination and love of the unusual together to create atmospheric and chilling reads. Their debut novel Welcome to Hotel Hell is nearing completion. 

Linda Millington

A creative writing course at the start of lockdown in 2020 inspired Linda to try her hand at a cosy crime short story, leading to her first full-length novel. By day she works in restorative justice, bringing victims and offenders together in face-to-face meetings, giving her a unique insight into the effects of crime and criminality. She has co-authored and co-edited several publications on restorative justice, but her passion is writing fiction. 

Donna Moore

Donna writes predominately crime fiction and historical fiction. Her first novel, a Private Eye spoof called Go To Helena Handbasket, won the Lefty Award for most humorous crime fiction novel and her second novel, Old Dogs, was shortlisted for both the Lefty and Last Laugh Awards. Her short stories have been published in various anthologies and her Cornell Woolrich inspired short story, First You Dream, Then You Die was shortlisted for an Edgar Award in 2023. She has a PhD in creative writing around women’s history and gender-based violence, and her third novel, The Unpicking, set in Victorian and Edwardian Scotland was published in October 2023. She is the co-host of the CrimeFest crime fiction convention in Bristol, England. 

Laurel Nicholson

Laurel was first published writing adventure books and game modules for Dungeons & Dragons, published by Mayfair Games. After a recent resurgence of D&D during COVID, she was interviewed by several podcasts and asked to write another game module which is now available online. Laurel has also wrote and published five fantasy-adventure books for YA or older. On the business side, she built and managed the communications department for the world’s leading professional services firm, becoming the first woman partner in their Chicago office, and also authored a book for the Bureau of National Affairs in DC. After more than thirty awards for communication excellence, Laurel opened her own communications consulting firm, Nicholson Creative Group. 

James Nisbet

Angela is the author of the Rowan McFarlane Detective Mysteries. She has had a varied career from Nursery Nurse to Bank Manager before becoming a writer. When she is not writing she can be found walking the coast looking for suitable crime scenes or touring the countryside in her camper van. 

Angela Nurse

Randy O'Brien

Addison and Highsmith published Randy’s novel Gettysburg by Morning in April 2023 and a second, The Farm, in November 2023. A third, Ribbon of Dreams, for publication next year. His entry is from Into the Shadowlands, a completed novel set in Nashville. My screenplays have placed in the top percentile in several contests, with The Uprising landing a semi-finalist place in the Nicholl Fellowship. He also also signed four options contracts with film producers.    

Barry Penfold

Writing has always been woven into Barry’s life. After working in press publishing, travel and food and wine reviews for newspapers, writing a non-fiction titled Secret Wines of New South Wales but he has only recently made the move to writing fiction. This is his first entry to a competition within the crime genre. 

David Potter

David spent 20 years as a newspaper editor before completing a Masters degree in crime and thriller writing from Cambridge University, where his tutor was crime writer Elly Griffiths. Apart from writing, his other great love is history and he can often be found tramping across battlefields or poking around medieval castles. 

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F.D Quinn

F.D Quinn has written all her life but mainly been focused on scientific articles and corporate reports writing across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Upon returning to Scotland to live, she joined a local writing group and studied creative writing at UWS. This resulted in her being welcomed into the supportive book and writing community and a new life: attending book festivals and hanging out with amazing authors. Her short story Best Served Cold in the anthology, ‘An Unnecessary Assassin’ is shortlisted for The Crime Writers Association 2024 Short Story Dagger. She is currently editing a contemporary YA thriller and writing her second novel, a speculative crime thriller set on the west coast of Scotland. 

Deborah Rayner

Deborah writes strong female-led stories in both comedic crime and commercial fiction. Stories with their heart set firmly in God’s own country, Yorkshire. When Death is the Day Job is the first in a morbidly comedic crime series that tells the story of three sisters who run a funeral home in a forgotten backwater town in the not-so-wild West of Yorkshire. Living life in the mundane lane until one of them accidentally murders the heir to the local organised crime group. 

Callum Reid

Callum is a Sheffield-based writer who holds a BA and MA in film. For several years he has written reviews for a local magazine and has been a frequent guest on BBC Radio Sheffield to discuss film-related topics. Inspired by his love of American crime authors like Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Richard Stark, Lee Child, and Donald Hamilton, he began writing crime fiction whilst at university. 

Reaghan Reilly

Reaghan has been published in Postbox Magazine and Voices from the Belvidere, Reaghan won first prize in a University of Glasgow contest for her flash fiction piece, Bath Time. She is also an editor of From Glasgow to Saturn journal. Reaghan is hard at work on her first novel.

Robin Richards

Robin has been writing for more than 30 years focusing on action packed crime thrillers and narrative non-fiction. In 2015, his crime novel The Piltdown Picasso won the Wishing Shelf Gold Medal for Fiction, and in his travel memoir LE-JOG-ed won the general non-fiction award at the Beach Book Festival. His most recent book, published in 2020, The Great Billy Butlin Race, tells the remarkable story of the marathon walking craze which swept Britain in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was made The South Wales Evening Post’s Sports Book of the Month. 

May Rinaldi

Leslie Roberts

Leslie has had short stories (and art) published in national newspapers and an even shorter story published in a collection of six word stories. It’s amazing the stories you can tell with even so few words. Leslie likes to spend his time in bookshops and coffee shops and writes whenever he can and wherever inspiration strikes. At home with a cup of coffee and the morning paper, on his daily commute or in those aforementioned coffee shops. 

Rodney Rogers

Rodney is a writer-performer living in Charleston, SC. He helped co-found PURE Theatre with his partner Artistic Director Sharon Graci. With a deep passion for developing complex characters, they work in multiple mediums. His feature film, Steaming Milk, garnered runner-up Best Actor and Best Director awards at the 1997 Seattle International Film Festival and was recognized as Best of the Fest by The Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Rogers is a two-time recipient of the National/LAFF Screenwriting Scholarship and won the 2010 Playwriting Fellowship from the South Carolina Arts Commission. On television, he has appeared in Ozark, One Tree Hill, Medicine Ball, Army Wives, and Reckless

Claire Rozario

Claire has a degree in English, drafted a film script, co-wrote a pilot for a sitcom and has self-published a series of short stories, collaborating with other writers. She is currently working on her first full length novel. 

Sabine Sapia

Sabine grew up in Germany and always wanted to do something creative. She is not sure how she ended up being an electrical engineer. She has been seen writing in Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Carolina, USA.  Her stories explore strong female characters, mischievous demons, mysteries, and finding where you belong. 

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Paul Smitham

In pursuit of greater challenges, and to escape the estate skinheads (great idea being a Goth!), Paul joined the Royal Marines Commandos. Although exceptionally fit, he struggled with ironing, something he had ample time to perfect during his 22-year military career.  

Paul then spent 12 years working in Afghanistan, gaining a broader understanding of the world and forming lifelong friendships with Afghan colleagues. While in Afghanistan and driven by a lifelong love for history and a flair for creative expression, Paul returned to academic education at the age of 54, studying for a degree in History and Creative Writing. After four years of study, through the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, Covid pandemic, and personal tragedy, he graduated.

Paul’s background, from the council estates of Cornwall to the frontlines of military service and beyond, gives him a particularly slanted lens to view the world. 

Rosie Sorenson

Rosie’s new memoir, If You’d Only Listen: A Medical Memoir of Gaslighting, Grit and Grace is available September. Her work has appeared in the Literary Medical Messenger, the Los Angeles Times, Mobius, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, University of Iowa Daily Palette and others. Her essays appear in popular anthologies, including the Magic of Memoir: Inspiration for the Writing Journey. In addition, she has been writing political satire for The Progressive Populist for the past six years. Prior to that she wrote a humor column for The Foolish Times for ten years. 

Daniel Stewart

When old enough to amass his own to-be-read mountains, he ploughed his way through the genres from whodunnits to psychological thrillers, from cozy crime to Scandi noir. A regular attender of the big crime fiction festivals - he once suffered for 24 hours on a storm-lashed ferry to reach Shetland Noir – Dan also enjoys writing his own stuff for competitions.   

Lorelai Tarlow

Michael Telfer

Before the Black Spring contest, Michael had never tried his hand at writing fiction, but something about the competition and its simultaneously open-ended and yet tightly constrained nature appealed and he gave it a go. Michael would love to write a book one day. 

Lorraine Thomson

Lorraine Thomson’s writing has appeared in a wide range of literary publications including Wyldblood Magazine, Epoch Press, and the Urban Pigs Hunger anthology. She is the author of seven novels, including neo noir thriller Boyle’s Law. Her first non-fiction book, Modernist Dreams Brutalist Nightmares, is a searingly honest and brutally funny memoir about being part of the first generation to grow up in Scotland’s most ambitious and experimental New Town. The sequel, Bitter Fruit, is an equally frank and darkly funny memoir set in the 1980s. 

Richard Valanga

Previously working as an Advertising Creative Director meant Richard was involved with advertising headlines and tag-lines so he has always been up for the challenge of creative writing. In 2013, he published my first book Complex Heaven, a story inspired by true events. Since then, he has built up quite a catalogue of novels and have received some really amazing reviews. Last year a Los Angeles company expressed interest in making my novel Bloodlust into a movie. 

Graham Wall

Throughout a twenty-year advertising career, Graham honed his storytelling skills, progressing from a copywriter to becoming one of the country’s youngest Executive Creative Directors, and ultimately the CEO of a leading London marketing agency. During this time, he crafted narratives for major brands such as Amazon, Adidas, Mars and McDonald’s. Graham’s favourite genre to read is crime thrillers, and like many from a creative background, he has always dreamed of writing his own book. As an avid reader who has devoured every Lee Child novel, entering The Big Bang was the push he needed to start his journey as an author and create a thrilling novel of his own. 

Rachael Warecki

Rachael is a crime writer from Los Angeles. Her mystery novel, The Split Decision, was a finalist in the 2019 CRAFT First Chapters Contest, and she has been selected for residencies at MacDowell, Storyknife, and Ragdale. Her short work has received the Tiferet Prize, semifinalist honors in the American Short(er) Fiction Contest and the Boulevard Creative Nonfiction Contest, and a Best of the Net nomination, and has appeared in various publications. An alumna of Antioch University Los Angeles' MFA program, she is also a 2021–22 BookEnds Fellow. 

Joanne Watkinson

Joanne is a theatre school owner from South Yorkshire. She’s a qualified teacher with a Performing Arts degree and a PGCE in Drama & English. She worked for 20 years in a Doncaster secondary school before leaving to set up Elite Theatre Arts. Joanne started by writing scripts and monologues for her classes and submitted a selection to LAMDA to be considered for their Anthology Volume 4, two pieces were selected for Grade 1 and 2. By then she had around one hundred monologues written, several plays and over 20 years of drama lesson plans. After initially self-publishing her Drama Pot series of books and a number of plays, her current books ‘The Ultimate Drama Pot collection, 100 Monologues for Young Performers’ and ‘Ultimate Drama Activities for the Classroom’ were picked up by independent publisher Salamander Street 

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Rachael Watson

Rachael is studying an Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford. Havok Publishing published her flash fiction story Reginald’s Saturday Morning Surprise in their ‘Legendary Anthology.’ Rachael enjoys writing fiction across multiple genres, thriller, fantasy and comedy, pulling on the imaginative strings of ‘what-if’s’ to see where the unraveling takes her. Inspired by her previous career in dance performance and choreography, she wants her stories to have an effortless flow. 

Jill Whitehouse

Jill’s debut novel is Seven Sins, which is about to go on submission to agents, and draws on her experience as a corporate finance partner in two London law firms. She is working on her next book, Too Good To Be True, which is about how a successful lawyer makes one bad decision with devastating and unexpected consequences. Jill also remains a solicitor, working on a freelance pro bono basis for charities and causes she believes in. 

Judith Wilson

Marcia Woolf

After a degree in Art History, she worked mainly in finance and the charity sector, with her first two novels Roadkill and Cut Out being published in 2016 and 2018 respectively. Marcia has had a long association with Hastings Writers Group, and was a co-founder of the Hastings Literary Festival (now Hastings Book Festival). Her short stories have appeared in several anthologies. Marcia’s inspiration frequently comes from the inside pages of local newspapers or from overheard conversations. She dislikes the lack of realism in unduly tidy endings, often not reading to the end of novels to avoid the potential disappointment, and always aims to leave her own readers to dwell on at least one unanswered question. A third novel, a near-future dystopian Borderline, and the fourth – The Habitat of the Dartford Warbler

Rebecca Wurth

Influenced by literary giants like J. R.R Tolkien, Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, and George Orwell, Rebecca’s passion for storytelling is evident in her captivating and imaginative narratives. An avid reader since childhood, Rebecca's love for literature fuels her creative pursuits.Rebecca enjoys weaving intricate stories that capture the human experience. She is eager to explore the realm of novels, aiming to delve into extended narratives with intricate plotlines. With the dream of publishing her own book and sharing her stories with a broader audience.