Liz Harris (Mani Lit Fest 2019) is the author of the historical novels The Road Back (US Coffee Time and Romance Book of the Year), A Bargain Struck (RoNA shortlisted for the Best Historical Novel), The Lost Girl and the novella, A Western Heart. Her almost-contemporary novels set in Umbria are Evie Undercover and The Art of Deception. Liz’s latest two novels, The Dark Horizon and The Flame Within, are the first two award-winning books in the Linford Series, a sweeping saga set between the wars. The Lengthening Shadow, Book 3 in the series, will be published in March 2021. Summer 2021 will also see the publication of Liz’s almost-contemporary novel, The Best Friend.
A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Historical Novel Society and Writers in Oxford, Liz gives talks and workshops at conferences and literary festivals, and regularly speaks to WI and book groups.
Click the photo to visit Liz's website for more information.
Peter Johnson (Mani Lit Fest 2019) has written all his working life, though not in any literary sense: they were papers dealing with various issues in medicine and healthcare, a career founded on degrees in biology and psychology. During this period he was also a part-time university lecturer and ran courses across the country focussed on research methods in the health service. Over the years he has written the occasional short story and tinkered in other subjects. For example he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Numismatic Society at the tender age of twenty four. Many years later he jointly published a paper in the Numismatic Chronicle after recognising a coin confirming the existence of an ancient Greek town (Sarbanissa, in Pontus) previously known only by one mention of its name by Ptolemy the Geographer. More recently he gained the Advanced Diploma in Local History with the University of Oxford, during the study of which he was contacted by Amberley Publishing. He has written five books for Amberley in the past four years, the latest three are Llandudno at Work, A-Z of Llandudno (both 2018), and Small Change: A History of Everyday Coinage (15 August 2019). In these books he also produced all the images and is usually found behind a camera, rather than in front of one (face perfect for radio anyone?). He enclosed two rare photographs of himself for the organisers to choose from to accompany this biography, both showing favourite pastimes of his: drinking strong tea in a Greek beach taverna on a summer’s afternoon, the other, pottering around an ancient site.
Rita Wilson (Mani Lit Fest 2019) is a writer, artist, and English and Creative Writing teacher. She has won several awards for her artwork, and her art and writing have been published in Rune and Riverspeak Literary Magazines, and the Voices from the Attic Anthology. Her short story, "Nature's Bounty", was featured in wolfmatters.org, devoted to the protection of the grey wolf. Wilson earned her MFA in Creative Non-fiction from Carlow University in Pittsburgh. She chronicles the experience of five generations of strong Greek women, from her Great Grandmother in a Greek Village, to her daughter in her debut biography/memoir, Greek Lessons. Her art and poetry are also featured in this book. Wilson currently teaches writing as a university adjunct and in workshops, including a creative writing workshop in Italy this past May, and a communications workshop for the Coast Guard in July. She resides in the Pittsburgh area with her husband, John.
Sarah Bower (Mani Lit Fest 2018 and 2019) is the author of three novels and many short stories. She has been published in Lighthouse, Spiked and MsLexia among others. Her work has been broadcast on BBC Radios 3 and 4, and has been translated into ten languages. Her first novel, The Needle in the Blood, won the Susan Hill Award 2007, her second, Sins of the House of Borgia, was a Toronto Globe and Mail bestseller. Sarah is a graduate of the University of East Anglia creative writing MA programme, where she was shortlisted for the Curtis Brown Scholarship. She currently teaches creative writing for the Open University, where she is also reading for a PhD in creative and critical writing, and has also taught at UEA and Lingnan University in Hong Kong. Sarah has lived in Canada and Crete as well as Hong Kong but is currently based in Norwich.
Marina Kazakova (Mani Lit Fest 2021) (b. Gorky, Russia, 1983) is a Russian-born Belgium-based poet. Her literature works deal to a large degree with confrontation with the past and explore the challenges posed both by memory and grief. Published internationally in magazines and journals (Three Rooms Press "Maintenant", "Great Weather for Media...", "Crannog", "Duck Lake Books", "Writing in a Woman's Voice", "Modern Literature"), Marina is a frequent performer, she has been shortlisted at various international poetry festivals and art events: Brussels Poetry Festival 2017-2018, Maintenant's Dada London Invasion 2018, Nothing To Sell 2019 - Rome, European Poetry Festival 2020, Red Square Festival 2020, The 3rd International Literary Festival Words of Fire 2020 in Portugal, Gerard Manley Hopkins International Literary Festival 2020 in Ireland, Stanza Scotland's Poetry Festival 2021, Mani Lit Fest 2021, etc.
Marina holds Masters degrees in Public Relations and Transmedia. Currently, she is Communications Officer at Victim Support Europe (Brussels) and working on her practice-based PhD in Arts at Luca School of Arts (KULeuven).
Sara Maino (Mani Lit Fest 2021) is an audio-visual artist, poet and performer, film and theatre director. She’s the author of several international poetry performances and theatrical shows held in all Europe, South Korea, Brazil. Some of her lyrics have been published on national reviews and collections. She’s coauthor of anthropology and ethnobotanical research books published in Italy. As an author and multimedia expert she worked for Rai Radiotelevisione Italiana in Trento and Milan, for University Luiss Guido Carli in Rome, for several foundations and museums. She is a freelance and spends much of her time as an expert in the Italian schools, researching with kids on the relationship between soundscapes, drawing, imagination and collective memory of the community. Her goal is to develop the awareness of active listening.
John Hayes (Mani Lit Fest 2021) spent his working life teaching geography in British secondary schools, eventually becoming a deputy head at Great Torrington School in North Devon, before obtaining early retirement in 1997. Since then, he and his wife have lived part-time in Greece, renovating an old stone house, creating a pleasure garden from a rubbish tip, learning the language, running a boutique olive and olive oil business, assimilating many facets of Greek popular culture, cuisine, politics and sport and engaging in many aspects of traditional and modern Greek life. His recently published book Greco Files captures the highs and lows of their Greek experience.
The Tsakiris family (Mani Lit Fest 2021) has made the Mediterranean lifestyle with its emphasis on the sea, sun, family, friends and, crucially, the food that celebrates all these things the centre of their lives.
NICHOLAS, father of Olivia and Chloe, returned to his roots in Greece after decades living in the US. A prize winning designer and architect who is now a computer networking engineer, he settled in an idyllic village, Kardamyli where he continues his tech work and his quest to live off the land. OLIVIA followed soon after a brief stint at UK Vogue magazine and completing a masters degree in Public Relations. She now owns Salt Yoga in Kardamyli where she teaches classes by the sea side and also works for a local architecture firm. Now married and with a baby son, she has settled happily into life there. CHLOE has since returned to NYC where she lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and works at Olo, the leading provider of online ordering for restaurants in NYC. Chloe also teaches yoga and curates social media content. Chloe worked with the Director of Product Development at Hammonds Candies.
Gail Aldwin (Mani Lit Fest 2021) is a novelist, poet and scriptwriter. Her debut coming-of-age novel The String Games was a finalist in The People’s Book Prize and the DLF Writing Prize 2020. Following a stint as a university lecturer, Gail’s children’s picture book Pandemonium was published. She volunteered at Bidibidi in Uganda, the second largest refugee settlement in the world but was repatriated early due to Covid-19. Her second novel for adults, This Much Huxley Knows uses a seven-year-old boy to narrate. The story explores friendship and community tensions during the Brexit referendum and is scheduled for release in July 2021. When she’s not gallivanting around the world, Gail writes at her home in Dorset. You can find Gail on Twitter @gailaldwin and on her blog https://gailaldwin.com.
James Heneage (Mani Lit Fest 2018/2019/2021) is a writer who lives half the year in the Mani. He is the author of the four-book Mistra Chronicles, published by Quercus, and is currently writing The Shortest History of Greece which will be published in May 2021 by Old Street Publishing. He is the founder of the Ottakar's Bookshop Chain which he sold to Waterstones in 2006 and of the Chalke Valley History Festival. He has chaired the Cheltenham Literary Festival and the Costa Book Prize and was a Booker prize judge in 2008. He likes walking, Tintin and Greece.