The Book Festival Patrons
Henry is a writer, poet, TV & Film producer, founder of the Manchester Poetry Festival (now the Literature festival) and co-founder of the Nottingham Poetry Festival.
In June 2017 he was honoured with a special BAFTA for services to Television.
He co-wrote and script edited the multi-award winning Mrs Merton show and also co-created and co-wrote the first series of The Royle Family.
In 1990, Henry set up
Baby Cow Productions Ltd and Executive Produced all, and script edited many of the shows of it's 17 and a half year output -including the Oscar nominated film Philomena, Gavin and Stacey, Nighty Night, The Mighty Boosh, and Alan Partridge.
Since retiring in April 2016, Henry has written and performed numerous BBC Radio 4 shows combining comedy, poetry and stories about family.
Born in St Anne's, Nottingham in 1956, Henry now lives in Fairlight with his wife and screenwriter Angela Pell (Close to Me, Snowcake) and their son Johnny.
Henry performs poetry at Literature Festivals around the UK and has published more than a dozen poetry books. He was recently given an honourary doctorate of letters by Nottingham Trent University, another by Nottingham University and has a beer and a bus named after him in Nottingham!
Patrice Lawrence MBE
Patrice Lawrence is a highly acclaimed writer for adults and children. Her books for young adults have won many prizes including the Bookseller YA Prize, the Waterstones Prize for Older Children's Fiction, the Crimefest YA Prize twice, the Woman and Home Teen Drama Award and the inaugural Jhalak Prize for Children and Young People.
Her first story to be published was Duck, Duck, Goose, which was included in The Decibel Penguin Prize Anthology in 2006. It was while attending an Arvon Foundation crime writing course that Patrice had the idea for her award winning debut young adults' novel, Orangeboy.
It received a five-star rating from MuggleNet, with the reviewer stating: "I absolutely adored this moving story. It is full of tears and laughter, unfettered fears and furious joy, family and friendship." Patrice said of the novel that "though her primary aim had been to promote hope in her story of a teenager caught in gang violence, she wanted to reflect the real situation faced by many black teenagers in Britain".
Before becoming a full time writer, Patrice worked for more than 20 years in organisations promoting social justice.
Patrice now lives in Hastings has judged numerous book prizes, mentors emerging writers and was awarded an MBE for services to literature in June 2021.
Salena Godden FRSL is an award-winning author, poet and broadcaster of Jamaican-mixed heritage.
She is now based in London but was born and grew up in Hastings and maintains close links with the town.
Her debut novel Mrs Death Misses Death won the Indie Book Award for Fiction and the People’s Book Prize. It was also shortlisted for the British Book Awards and the Gordon Burn Prize. Film and TV rights for Mrs Death Misses Death have been optioned by Idris Elba’s production company, Green Door Pictures.
Her work has been widely anthologised and broadcast on BBC radio, TV and film.
She was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2022.
A new hardback edition of Pessimism is for Lightweights - 30 Pieces of Courage and Resistance was published by Rough Trade Books in February 2023 and the poem Pessimism is for Lightweights is on permanent display at The Peoples History Museum, Manchester.
Salena has signed a 3-book deal with Canongate and is currently working on a literary memoir, a poetry collection and an eagerly anticipated second novel set in the 'Mrs Death Misses Death' universe. All three books are due for publication in 2024 and 2025.