Kapka Kassabova

Bulgarian writer, Kapka Kassabova, who is set to showcase her latest book at Words by the Water has spoken of her love/hate relationship with her troubled native country.

Kapka’ latest title Street Without a Name outlines her difficult past in the formerly communist-run country, told Write On that her past experiences have helped create a lifelong passion for travel.


Emmanuel Jal

Emmanuel Jal’s road has been long, taking him from a horrific early life as a child soldier in Sudan to centre stage at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday concert.

Emmanuel’s life turned around when was rescued by a British aid worker. Today he is a world famous hip hop artist fighting for nothing but peace.

“If people knew what I have gone through they would do anything to stop war,” Emmanuel says.  He believes he survived the war for a reason, and now does everything he can to help children in the region.


Vesna Maric

When Vesna Maric first came to the Lake District, she was a 16-year-old refugee from war-torn Bosnia. This year, she returns to Cumbria to promote her memoir Bluebird at Words by the Water.

Bluebird tells Vesna’s story of the outbreak of the Bosnian war in 1992. She takes her readers with her on the bus journey to Penrith as she explores British culture and traditions and life as a not-so-stereotypical refugee through the eyes of a teenager.


Stephanie Calman

There is nothing more complicated than the mother-daughter relationship. A mother teaches her daughter how to be a woman - whether she likes it or not. Stephanie Calman explores this complex relationship in her new book, How (Not) to Murder your Mother, and now she is visiting Keswick for this year’s festival. 


Melvyn Bragg

The journalist in Melvyn Bragg might think otherwise, but the novelist has no regrets about mixing fact and fiction.

Throughout his career, the award-winning Cumbrian writer and broadcaster has made his name across the many media platforms. He has worked as presenter, critic, columnist, broadcaster and novelist.  At this year’s Words by the Water festival he has chosen to talk about the presence of autobiography in fiction.


Robert Crawford

As far as Burns biographies go, this is not the first, but author Robert Crawford firmly believes that his could be the finest one yet. “It contains new material. Things like poems, rediscovered interviews and manuscripts and it is more nuanced than earlier biographies of Burns. Though there have been a lot of biographies, I felt none got him quite right,” says Crawford.


Keith Richardson

Former newspaper and magazine editor Keith Richardson, 58, is now a full time-author who also runs his own publishing house, River Greta Writer, in his home town of Keswick.  

“I feel great satisfaction when I close the lid on my laptop computer knowing that — in my view — I have written a few thousand words and am proud of what I have created. It makes me feel good. Everything which follows — having a meal, watching TV, walking by the River Greta or going down the pub for a few pints — seems to be more enjoyable in the wake of writing."


Philip Ball

The stones of the Giant’s Causeway, the stripes of an Angelfish or the great spot on Jupiter all have a fascination for Philip Ball.

He has published many books on patterns of movement and formation of shapes in nature. A Chemist and physicist with an insatiable curiosity about symmetry and patterns in both the natural and man made world. 


Richard Dowden

In 1971, Richard Dowden arrived in Africa for the first time. He went there as a voluntary teacher and spent two years there in a time when Africa was living in fear and under the dictatorship of Idi Amin. In between 1971 and 1979, Amin is said to be responsible for 80,000 “and more likely around” 300,000 deaths. For most, this would be a terrifying time to be in Africa, but for Richard Dowden, he relished the experience. He once said; “Had I not been forced to leave at the end of 1972 I would probably be there still.