Originally a painter, and jazz enthusiast, she switched to music, eventually studying at the Goldsmiths College and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has released several albums on her label Mandeville Records, and recorded with amongst others Tony Coe and Hugh Hopper (Soft Machine) and Geoffrey Richardson (Caravan) as well as playing live in numerous situations.
After some years in the music business Frances decided to pursue her interest in the written word and took an MA in prose fiction. Her fiction and poetry have been shortlisted four times for the prestigious Bridport Prize and longlisted for the Fish Short Story prize, as well as winning the University of Kent T.S. Eliot student poetry award.
Musical influences are eclectic, using piano, keyboards and accordion to explore not only jazz but tango and all kinds of music.
Derek Sellen is currently Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year. He has won seventeen first prizes in competitions during his writing career, including Poets Meet Politics, Poetry Pulse, Rhyme International and O’Bheal Five Words. His work has also won prizes in Poetry on the Lake, Bristol International Short Story Award and the National Poetry Competition among other competitions.
He has written poems on topics as diverse as Spanish painters, Korean musicians and Buddhist cave-paintings. His collection ‘The Other Guernica’ was published in 2018 and has been favourably reviewed – ‘This is a work of outstanding richness and variety, imagination, thought, storytelling, full of vivid imagery and the pleasures of language.’ Professor Janet Montefiore
Details of his collection can be found at: http://www.culturedllama.co.uk/books/the-other-guernica
Some his poems can be seen at: https://www.poetrykit.org/CITN/citn%20164.htm
Mary Anne Smith’s work has been recognised both nationally and internationally. Most recently she has won the 6th O’Bheal Five Words competition, first and second prizes in two Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry competitions, and had two poems on the shortlist/outstanding poems in the 2018 Poets Meet Politics competition. Her work has been published by Confluence Medway, Paper Swans Press, O’Bheal Five Words, Poets Meet Politics, Camden Lumen and The Kentish Gazette, and broadcast on radio programs and podcasts in both the UK and the USA.
Bookseller Mary Anne frequently reads at local literary events, and has also read in London, Ireland and Italy. The natural world, art, architecture, her own family history, and the lives of writers and artists are all sources of inspiration for her. For more information, visit her writer’s page at www.book-smith.co.uk