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Author: Jasmin Kirkbride

Blanchard, Gill

Gill Blanchard a historical biographer, writer of local histories, professional genealogist and house historian based in Norwich. She has had three books published on tracing family and house histories and on writing a family history. She was awarded an MA with Merit in Biography and Creative Non Fiction by the University of East Anglia.

Her first biography was published by Amberley Publishing in May 2017. It is entitled ‘Lawson Lies Still in the Thames’: The Extraordinary Life of Vice-Admiral Sir John Lawson. It details the career of an ordinary merchant seaman, Yorkshire born and bred, who navigated his way up the ranks to become a Vice-Admiral. He served in the republican army and both the republican and royalist navies; was rewarded by Cromwell and knighted by Charles II and yet, until now, has been largely ignored by historians. See: lies-still- in-the- thames.html

Other publications include I Therefore Post Him as a Coward: An anatomy of a Norfolk scandal 1836 (Poppyland Publishing 2017)

Blanchard’s website is:

Haig, Robin

Robin Haig has an MA in modern and medieval history, and is the author of Knight Errant: Lord Craven and the Court of the Winter Queen, published in 2015. He lives in Herefordshire, where he divides his time between  writing and growing cider apples.

Frank, Katherine

Katherine Frank has written five biographies: Crusoe: Daniel Defoe, Robert Knox and the Creation of a Myth; Indira: A Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi; A Passage to Egypt: The Life of Lucie Duff Gordon; Emily Bronte; A Voyager Out: The Life of Mary Kingsley. She is currently working on a biography of suicide.

Hepburn, Ainslie

photoAinslie Hepburn’s fascination with people and the times in which they live has prompted research into the life of Herbert Sulzbach OBE (1896 – 1985). She has now completed writing his biography, which is a study both of his life and of the post-war Anglo-German reconciliation and friendship that was his passion for the second half of his life.

While Hepburn writes as a social historian, her work is not only for academic consultation but also for a wide audience of curious, engaged, and thoughtful readers. She is deeply committed to an understanding of the lives lived by the non-famous in 19th and 20th century Europe, and has enjoyed teaching social history to adult students.

Hepburn is now embarking on research for a memoir/biography of four women in her family – her grandmothers who lived during the late 19th and 20th centuries – whose lives were lived in very different circumstances and who yet shared many experiences, events, and expectations.

Hucknall, Joseph

just-friend-2011Joseph Hucknall was born Cumbria 1929 and lives in London with his civil partner. He worked at Woolworths from 1950 to 1985, when he took early retirement to enjoy freedom from business, to write, and to travel.

His autobiography, A Life’s Tales, was published in 2013 by Paradise Press, while his short stories have featured in A Boxful of Ideas and in Gazebo, a gay-focused magazine. His 18th-century historical novel, The Boy in a Turban, was published in 2018.

Hucknall studied writing for three years with Sheena Joughin (author of two published novels and a regular contributor to The Times Literary Supplement).

Martin, Henry

unnamedHenry Martin is an award-winning writer. His work has been shown at Theatre 503, Arcola Theatre, The Roundhouse, Latitude Festival and Fishamble Theatre. He has also been involved in projects at the National Theatre, HighTide, Hampstead Theatre and Central School of Speech and Drama in the UK. 

His biography Agnes Martin: Pioneer, Painter, Icon will be published by Schaffner Press in March 2018. 

Henry has been nominated and shortlisted for various awards including the Red Planet Prize. He is a contributor to House Magazine and has written and produced content for Phaidon Press. He has previously worked at Head of Zeus and Phaidon Press.

Twitter: @henrymartinHM


Galvin, Elisabeth

profile-pictureElisabeth Galvin is a magazine journalist who has worked in London, Hong Kong and Australia (including in the remote red desert of Alice Springs).

Being extremely nosy, profile stories have always been her favourite and she is thrilled to be writing her first biography about the children’s author Edith Nesbit.

Elisabeth is a volunteer with the Royal Life Saving Society and swam across the English Channel in 2002.


Laursen, Eric

Eric Laursen is an independent writer and editor, based in western Massachusetts. He has worked for Institutional Investor and Corporate Finance magazines and was co-founder and managing editor of Plan Sponsor, a monthly magazine for pension fund executives. Eric has written for a wide variety of publications, including The Village Voice, The Nation, Investment Dealers’ Digest, CFO, In These Times, Z Magazine, The Arkansas Review, and

Eric is the author of The People’s Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan (AK Press, 2012), a history of the Social Security debate in the US (a BookList Editors’ Choice nonfiction selection and Gold Medal recipient in Current Events from the Independent Publishers Book Awards, 2012) and co-author of Understanding the Crash, a graphic nonfiction account of the causes and consequences of the 2007-08 economic meltdown (Soft Skull Press/Counterpoint, 2010). He blogs on Social Security at

A graduate of Columbia University in the City of New York, Eric is currently writing a biography of the biologist, poet, and author Alex Comfort.

Hanson, Edward W.

ed-in-florenceEdward W. Hanson trained as an historian in his native Boston, Mass., where he worked as an editor for the Massachusetts Historical Society. His academic work includes biographical sketches in the “American National Biography” and “Sibley’s Harvard Graduates” as well as the edited papers of Robert Treat Paine, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Ed moved to England in 2000, was ordained in the Church of England, and was a curate in Lincoln and then a rector in Essex for ten years. Since retirement, he continue his work with the church as a locum priest both in West London and on the Continent, and has also returned to historical research and writing. His recent biography of Hélène d’Orléans, Duchess of Aosta (1871-1951) has been accepted for publication by Fonthill.

Hisham Matar on winning the Best First Biography Prize 2016

“I would, before anything, like to express my appreciation to my fellow shipmates, David Aaronovitch, David Hare, Juliet Nicolson and Philippe Sands. I thank you for your books, and I am honoured to be included in your company.

Every book arises from conversations with the consciousness of our culture and our history, and, in my case and particularly with this book, conversations with other books, several paintings and buildings, and many individuals, living and dead, who are, in one way or another, and like me, embroiled in these events.

Literature cannot tell us what we are here for. But in a world where the ambition is that everything is measured and employed, literature’s seeming limitation—that it cannot tell us what we are here for—might mean that art is perhaps the last place for genuine thought and expression. It’s not that I believe literature can make the world better or less unjust, but that by its very nature, its will for doubt and remembrance and complexity and expansion, literature can hinder the cruel and bigoted oversimplifications that every tyrannical gesture requires.

I would like to thank my friends and family, and my publishers and agents. Most of all I am indebted to my first reader, my friend and companion, my wife the artist Diana Matar.

My deep thanks to the judges—Richard Davenport-Hines, Flora Fraser and Ysenda Maxtone Graham—and everyone else involved in the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography prize. I am honoured and accept the prize with the deepest gratitude and humility.”