Patrons

Welcome to our Patrons page. Come and meet some authors who have appeared at the Wrexham Carnival of Words and can’t wait to tell you about what the Carnival means to them.

The Carnival of Words is an inclusive, diverse and, above all, enjoyable celebration of authors, books, writing and readers. We love bringing authors and their readers together – and authors invariably enjoy meeting their readers and talking with them about their books.

All our patrons are enthusiastic supporters of the Carnival of Words and all have appeared, at least once if not more often, at our previous annual festivals. Our authors reflect the range of genres promoted at the festival, from crime to romance, from contemporary to historical, from poetry to children’s books. Both the English and Welsh languages are represented.

Our thanks to our illustrious patrons. It’s great to have their endorsement and we’re very grateful that they’ve willingly put forward their names to support us.

Elen Caldecott

Elen writes fiction for children and young people: historical adventures, magical fantasies and real-life dramas. Her debut novel, How Kirsty Jones Stole the Elephant, was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize and longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Her second novel, The Short Knife, written with a breezy lyricism and breathtaking descriptions of the Welsh countryside won the 2021 Tir na n-Og prize awarded by the Books Council of Wales.

Her books have taken her around the UK and even to other countries. However, she describes Wrexham as her home and her latest book, The Blackthorn Branch, is set in an amalgamation of Cefn Mawr, Acrefair and Trevor, and readers who know those villages will recognise their neighbourhoods in the book.

Throughout her life, Elen has loved going to libraries and bookshops. She said: “When I was invited to become a Patron of the Wrexham Carnival of Words, I had to say yes. In honesty, it was a carnival I’d been a part of my whole life, even before the festival itself existed. As a writer, I was made by the libraries and booksellers I visited. And I’m honoured to play a part in encouraging future readers and writers by accepting this role. The Carnival of Words brings together readers and writers over a love of stories – long may it continue!”

Barbara Erskine

Barbara Erskine’s iconic debut novel and international bestseller, Lady of Hay, still delights generations of readers over thirty years after its first publication. It’s a story spanning the centuries and it paved the way in the now popular timeslip genre, fusing both historical and contemporary storylines. Lady of Hay has sold more than 3 million copies worldwide and has never been out of print since its first publication in 1986. Her books have been translated into over 20 languages and she has appeared at many international literary festivals.

Her first appearance at the 2017 Carnival of Words was a tremendous success when she discussed her latest book Sleeper’s Castle and the background to her stories. Her imaginative storytelling blends history and the supernatural and reflect the special place in her heart for the Welsh borders.

Since then, this wonderful storyteller has appeared at the 2022 Carnival (alongside another historical fiction great Patricia Bracewell) to discuss The Dream Weavers. Her new novel, The Story Spinner, will be published in the summer of 2024.

Aled Lewis Evans

Aled is a Minister, broadcaster, teacher, tutor, poet and writer. Currently, the Welsh minister at Capel y Groes, Wrexham, and Chester’s St John Street Chapel. Aled has published a number of volumes since Tonnau, his first collection of poems in 1989 including, amongst others: Rhwng Dau Lanw Medi, Amheus o Angylion, Llinynnau, Y Caffi a Llwybrau Llonyddwch. His published collections in English include Someone Else in the Audience, Driftwood and Afterglow. Harvest Tide is a translation of his semi-autobiographical Rhwng Dau Lanw Medi.

Aled is a good friend of the Wrexham Carnival of Words and has helped with organising and promoting a host of events over the years. It’s always a pleasure to hear Aled read his own work – he’s appeared at the Carnival five times over the past decade. Aled is also active with Chester Poets and holds several creative writing groups. He also helps organise the literary programme for Cymdeithas Owain Cyfeiliog.

Aled is a three-times prize-winner at the National Eisteddfod of Wales and his volume entitled Tre Terfyn, which provides glimpses on the communities and characters of the Wrexham area, took the Crown at Eisteddfod Powys in 2019.

Vaseem Khan

Vaseem spends most of his day murdering people. Not literally, of course, but on the page! He is the author of two award-winning crime series set in India. His debut novel, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, the first in the Baby Ganesh Detective Agency series, was set in modern Mumbai. It was picked by the Sunday Times as one of the 40 best crime novels published between 2015 and 2020.

In 2021, Midnight at Malabar House, the first in his historical crime novels set in 1950s Bombay, won the Crime Writers Association Historical Dagger and was shortlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. He also co-hosts the popular crime fiction podcast, The Red Hot Chilli Writers. In 2023, he was elected chair of the Crime Writers’ Association.

He first performed at the Wrexham Carnival of Words in 2018. Having never been to Wrexham before, he discovered a town with a wonderfully intriguing history. He was particularly taken by the tomb of Elihu Yale, who gave his name to the American university, and who worked in India for the British East India Company.

Vas Khan has said: “I’m delighted to act as a patron for the festival and know that it will continue its fine tradition of inviting a great mix of speakers to titillate and entertain you. I’m hoping to return myself soon enough!”

Jude Lennon

Jude is a professional storyteller with Little Lamb Tales and an author under her own name. Mostly, she writes picture books for children, many of which feature her popular storytelling mascots Lamby and Flossie. She regularly visits schools and tutors writing course and writing retreats. In 2022, Jude released a full-length novel called Kintsugi about a perfect life threated by shocking revelations from the past. It was deemed the best adult novel in in the Write Blend Book Awards 2023. Jude has also won a Points of Light award for her Builder Book project.

Jude performed at the second Carnival in 2016 and has appeared regularly since then. Over those years, she’s delivered workshops and storytelling sessions for us and they’ve always been great fun and entertaining. With Jude Lennon, there’s always something for everyone.

Jude has said: “So why should you come along to the Carnival of Words? It’s a whole week devoted to books, words and stories – what could be better than that? It will introduce you to new writers as well as some you already know. It’s also incredibly good value and you’ll certainly receive a very warm welcome from the team”.

Simon McCleave

Simon is a million selling British crime novelist. Born in South London, he now lives in the Wrexham area and is a great supporter of the Carnival of Words. His first book, ‘The Snowdonia Killings’, was released in January 2020 and reached No 1 in the Amazon UK Chart and selling over 300,000 copies. His subsequent novels in the DI Ruth Hunter Crime Thriller Series have all been Amazon Best Sellers and many have hit the top of the UK Digital Chart. He has sold over 2 million books since 2020. The sixteenth novel in the series is, appropriately, The Wrexham Killings.

The Ruth Hunter Snowdonia books are currently in development as a television series to be filmed on location in North Wales in 2023.

Simon also has a very successful crime series set on Anglesey with Harper Collins (Avon). ‘The Dark Tide’, the first of the series, was the highest ever selling Waterstones’ Welsh Book of the Month.

He has worked in television and film development. He was a Script Editor at the BBC, a producer at Channel 4 before working as a Story Analyst in Los Angeles. Simon then became a script writer for television and film. He wrote on series such as Silent Witness, Murder In Suburbia, Teachers, Attachments, The Bill, Eastenders and many more.