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Our Committee

Chair

Gerald Hornsby

Gerald Hornsby

Gerald was born in a suburb of Birmingham, and has lived in Birmingham, Staffordshire, East London, and now lives in North-East Essex. He is a graduate engineer, and has had a long career in industry, culminating in being a director of a Romford (Essex) company with over 50 employees.

 

After stepping down from the high-pressure world of international travel and sales, he concentrated on his writing. He first self-published a collection of short fiction in 2010. Since then, he has written and published seven novels, another collection of short fiction pieces, and six non-fiction books for authors. He has been on the committee of the Frinton Literary Festival in Essex since 2010 and has been an active member of several local writing groups. Since 2018, he has been a full-time author and writing and publishing mentor. He has been a co-host of Literary Roadhouse, a literary short story podcast, since 2015.

 

Gerald first attended Swanwick in 2017 and was smitten with the convivial environment where authors could talk about writing, help other writers, and share experiences. In 2018, he ran his first two workshops at the school, wanting to share his knowledge with a wider audience. He was surprised to be suggested as the new chair for 2022/3 and was happy to put his name forward. He was appointed at the 2022 AGM.

 

Email: chair@swanwickwritersschool.org.uk

Vice Chair

Val Penny 

Val Penny

Val’s crime novels, starting with Hunter's Chase form the bestselling series of DI Hunter Wilson Thrillers. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland and published by SpellBound Books Her first non-fiction book Let’s Get Published is also available from Amazon. Val is an American author living in SW Scotland with her husband and their cat.

 

Email: vicechair@swanwickwritersschool.org.uk

Treasurer

Sally Warr

Sally Warr

Sally has been attending Swanwick since 2018. For the last year, she has edited the newsletter before moving into the role of Treasurer in October 2023. Sally lives in an old farmhouse with her husband in rural North Lincolnshire. They have one son who is an archaeologist. This is the profession that Sally would have loved to have pursued when she was younger, but life was different for women back then. Archaeology forms the background of the novel she is currently writing, which will be the first in a series set around an archaeological theme. For most of her professional career, Sally worked in Education Management, with over 35 years’ experience of working in FE environments. She is a skilled senior manager and for the final 6 years, before retiring in 2022, she worked as an educational consultant to a variety of institutions around the country.

 

Sally is a dedicated volunteer and over the years has held positions of secretary and treasurer at a local playgroup, served on the committee of her local primary school for several years before being elected to the chair. Chaired several groups responsible for improving the lives of young people with additional learning needs in the community.

 

Reading is Sally's biggest passion, including beta reading for fellow Swanwickers; she has undertaken training as a copy editor. Sally enjoys crafts and when she gets time, in the not-too-distant future, she is hoping to learn to paint with watercolours. She is an avid traveller and last year travelled solo to Italy for a 7-week spiritual break, that she shared part of with a like-minded friend. However, it ended up being a different kind of break as she literally broke her foot on the last week in Rome!

 

Email: treasurer@swanwickwritersschool.org.uk

Secretary

Sharon Payne 

Sharon Payne

Sharon was born in the crater of a volcano in Yemen, the same year as comedian Izzy Izzard. She travelled throughout her childhood with her R.A.F. family. The result was a shy child who listened to records and read Enid Blyton. Thirteen schools in fifteen years weren’t funny. She loved drama and dreamed of being cast as George in The Famous Five (Enid Blyton) on T.V.

 

At nineteen, Sharon enlisted in the R.A.F as a cook, which included a tour behind the Iron Curtain in Berlin. Following a lengthy career in catering, she retrained in food technical management. This involved technical writing and control of the quality management systems (food safety). She handled staff training and designed pictorial procedures to help Polish staff grasp the instructions more easily.

 

A colleague commented Sharon should be a creative writer, and it sowed the seeds. Swanwick beckoned in 2013. Since then, it has been an addictive experience, nourishing her mind, body, and soul. Sharon has many hobbies and interests and loves to engage with others. She dabbles in short stories, novel writing, and poetry, and is especially drawn to psychological thrillers and comedy.

 

Email: secretary@swanwickwritersschool.org.uk

Committee Member

Andrew Roberts

Andy Roberts

Andrew was born in Rochdale but moved to Staffordshire when he was 9. He has been writing as a hobby since the age of 17, having developed an interest through table-top roleplaying games. He predominantly writes actions/adventure in historical settings, with a particular fondness for writing about pirates.

 

After discovering Swanwick in 2016, he took his writing further. In 2018, he left his full-time job as an accountant to study Creative Writing at De Montfort University. He stayed in Leicester after graduation and is pursuing freelance opportunities in writing.

 

Besides his pulp stories, he blogs about popular culture and dabbles in poetry. He's also an avid video gamer.

Committee Member

Samantha Ridgway

Samantha Ridgway

Samantha lives with her family in Cumbria. She is a retired NHS professional where she worked as head of studies. She has several years’ experience at a strategic level in the NHS and in higher education. Educated at masters’ level, she taught many subjects, including management with the Open University. With her experience as a trustee in voluntary organisations, she applies this to her current role as vice chair of her local U3A.

 

She first attended Swanwick in 2014, where she met many writers from across the UK and beyond and became long-term member of a group in Largs. She enjoys the family atmosphere at Swanwick, and gets involved in many activities, including the fancy dress. Two of her crime fiction novels have been published, and she has completed two more in the series.

 

Samantha leads a writing group in the U3A and has given talks on writing to many groups, including the WI and the Inner Wheel. As a member of the Society of Authors, she has established a support group for authors in Cumbria. Her hobbies include amateur photography, history, and walking. She enjoys travelling, especially to Australia, where she visits her extended family.

Committee Member

Alison Proom 

Alison Proom

Born in Kent, throughout her childhood Alison’s family enjoyed moving house (which probably explains a lot), always in the Medway area.

 

Although she did a degree in computing, partway through her career she became a Bid Manager and began a new direction as a technical author.

 

She has had some success in poetry and short story competitions and discovered a knack for 5-minute plays through Swanwick’s Page-to-Stage programme. She and her daughter Maddy love coming every year and making new friends and contacts.

 

They now live in Surrey with Alison’s husband (and Maddy’s father) Allun and their two cats.

Committee Member

Lyndon Wall

Lyndon Wall

Lyndon had a long career as a medical student, mainly because he found his studies interfered with the enjoyment of student life. Having qualified as a doctor, he joined the RAF and flew his stethoscope around the world for 16 years.

 

He subsequently worked for several organisations as a doctor, including the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency, the Automobile Association and in several NHS Hospitals looking after staff health.

 

Lyndon always had an interest in writing, and this has been brought to the fore since retirement from active work. He has written short stories and is currently working on a non-fiction medical book for the general public.

 

His major sport when he was younger was fencing. Now he is a keen golfer (where keenness does not equate to ability or success).

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