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Meet the Team

Paul Blezard

Festival Director

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Multi award winning broadcaster, poet, author and literary commentator, Paul Blezard has for over twenty years spoken to, written about and worked with many of the world’s finest authors, poets, thinkers and writers.

On radio or television, international literary festival stages and as a critic, judge and editor, he profoundly believes in the transformative power of a good story well told.

Lyndy Cooke

Head of Finance

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Lyndy has worked in the literature and publishing sectors for over 35 years, ranging from owning a chain of bookshops across the UK to being Managing Director of Hay Festival for 20 years.

 

She is a highly experienced events producer, creator and curator, and a freelance international consultant for arts and cultural events.

 

Now working closely with organisations across the UK and worldwide such as the National Trust, British Council, Commonwealth Foundation, Queens Park Book Festival, York Festival of Ideas, Jaipur Literature Festival and Ubud Writers & Readers Festival through her events company – Handheld Events.

She is currently also working on a major research project for the Arts Council Wales and the National Museums Wales.

To keep her grounded, Lyndy, also co-owns a small herd of ponies that are trained to be faithful pack ponies, leading guests and carrying their equipment across the Cambrian Mountains, to enjoy the stunning scenery and the great outdoors.

Lyndy retains an honorary role with Hay Festival and is a Trustee of Hay Castle.

Paul 'Elky' Elkington

Head of Production

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Paul Elkington is the Managing Director of West End Ltd, an events and festival technical facilities company that worked with Hay Festival for 30 years as well as Jewish Book Week, Hinterland in Kells, Ireland, Queens Park Book Festival, London and festivals from Segovia in Spain, Budapest in Hungary and Nairobi, Kenya.

Paul says, “I like taking on events that have specific technical challenges that I know that I and the whole West Ent team have the skills and knowledge to solve. The sense of achievement when we break new ground is what drives me forward.”

Alex Hippisley-Cox

Head of PR & Communications

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Alex Hippisley-Cox is Head of PR and Communications for the LoveReading LitFest.

 

She has over 30 years’ experience in the publishing and book world, and runs her own independent PR company.

 

She currently also holds roles as Head of UK PR for the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival, and Bitter Lemon Press, and works with key publishing houses on author campaigns.

Daisy Line

Principle Author Liaison

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Given to crime, Daisy seeks an outlet that remains on the right side of the law by penning Golden Age crime stories.

 

After a long career in community cohesion, equality law and asylum seeker advocacy, she now can be found roaming the deserts of the United Arab Emirates finding unusual things people have discarded, growing produce in her sandy retreat in Abu Dhabi and caring for her ever-growing family of stray animals, much to her husband’s chagrin.

 

On occasion, she pops up to assist The Emirates Literature Foundation and The Emirates Festival of Literature as well as other Middle Eastern literary endeavours.

 

She is very proud to have been part of the original Lockdown Literature Festival team.

Deborah Maclaren

Managing Director of
LoveReading.co.uk

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Deborah Maclaren is a serial entrepreneur, business owner and strong leader who has been involved in market-leading media businesses for 25 years.

 

The majority of her career has been in senior commercial and board director roles within the media and publishing arena.

Since 2017 she has been involved in the LoveReading portfolio of brands, bringing together her media background, passion for books, her love of literacy, marketing knowledge and her commercial acumen.

 

She has been MD since mid-2018 and under her stewardship the LoveReading brand is flourishing.

Julia Wheeler

Principle Presenter

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Julia Wheeler is an experienced chairperson and trusted interviewer for many of the best festivals in the UK and abroad; Cheltenham (Literature and Science), Stanfords Travel Writers Festival at London’s Olympia, the Stratford Literary Festival and the Emirates Literature Festival. 

 

She has chaired events at The British Library and mid-Atlantic onboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. 

 

Julia hosts online conversations, webinars and panel discussions for UK and international organisations and audiences, including and the Global Association of Literature Festivals and the Singapore Book Council.

 

Julia worked for the BBC for more than 15 years including as the BBC’s Gulf Correspondent, based in the UAE and covering the Arabian Peninsula between 2000 and 2010. 

 

Her articles have been published in The Times, Telegraph, Guardian and Economist among others and she continues to work as a freelance journalist and writer.

Julia wrote the award-winning book ‘Telling Tales: An Oral History of Dubai’, capturing tales of court intrigue, pearl diving and gold smuggling, as well as the early days of education and banking.

   

Julia read Economic and Social History at university before post-graduate study in Broadcast Journalism.

 

She is a qualified management training instructor, founded a media training company with clients across the Middle East and North Africa and works with corporates and individuals to develop oral storytelling skills, helping to breathe life into their work and ideas.

Lea Sellers

Principle Presenter

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Lea Sellers is a moderator, media trainer and writer. 

She moderates at the Wells Literary Festival, Emirates Airline Literary Festival, the British Library and Hot Topics.

She co-founded The Confidence People and draws on her television background to train people to communicate with confidence when they speak in public or to the media.

 

A former television producer, she has worked on Newsnight and Question Time for BBC TV and on Channel 4 News. 

Lea has a Bachelor’s degree in Russian Studies, an MA in International Relations and an MA in Screenwriting.

 

She writes feature film scripts and plays and lives in London.

Katie Mead-Green

Social Media Executive

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Katie Mead-Green is our Social Media Executive and a Fashion Marketing with Management student, at the University of Southampton.

 

She has always been an avid reader, loving a wide range of genres, including contemporary fiction and non-fiction.

 

Katie uses her Instagram to display this love of books as well as photography.