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Contemporary Fiction

Chris Dresser

Chris emigrated to South Africa as a child and attended the same school as Wilbur Smith (although the two never met at the time). He has spent his working life in the film and television industry, starting with the BBC in London, then ATV in Birmingham, where he was the youngest Studio Manager in Britain.


Later, in South Africa, he wrote and directed film and TV commercials and had four South African entries at the Cannes Advertising Festival.  Chris wrote, directed and produced documentaries, eight of which won international awards. He then concentrated on writing screenplays and had five feature films and seven television series screened.  He is currently obtaining finance for an action adventure feature film that he has written and is co-producing.


Chris is a published poet and has given many readings.  Chris has just completed the third novel in the Willjohn Trilogy - Surviving Treachery.

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Margaret Grant-Smith


Margaret was born on Christmas Eve 1924 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to English parents and they moved back to Coventry when she was a young girl.  She spent her teenage years in wartime, surviving the Coventry Blitz.


She trained as a secretary and emigrated to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) returning in the fifties.  She was a finalist twice in “Miss Secretary of Great Britain” in the sixties.


Margaret spent a large part of her working life lecturing at Coventry Technical College from before she went to Africa and beyond her retirement.


As a member of Earlsdon Writers, Margaret performed her poetry locally and on BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire.  In 2008 she was awarded the Open Studies Certificate in Creative Writing from Warwick University.

She was very active in her local church, an avid Scrabble player and loved swimming even into her late eighties.  She passed away at the age of ninety.


Margaret had several of her poems published in various collections including Earlsdon Writers’ Slim Volumes.  The Mixture Varies is her first published collection.

Classic Fiction

Jane Austen

Jane Austen was born on 16th December 1775 in Steventon, near Basingstoke, the seventh child of eight children born to the Reverend George Austen and his wife, Cassandra.  Jane began writing when she was around 12 years old and her parents encouraged her, buying her a writing desk and paper and tried to help her get her novels published. 

After her father’s retirement, the family moved to Bath.  In 1805 the death of George Austen heralded another move for Cassandra and her two daughters to Southampton, where they lived with the family of Jane’s brother Frank.  In 1809 the women moved to Chawton, near Winchester, where brother Edward provided a cottage on one of his estates, which is now home to Jane Austen’s House Museum.  When Jane fell ill, her sister moved her to rented rooms in College Street in Winchester.  Sadly, Jane passed away on 18th July 1817.  She was buried in the north aisle of Winchester Cathedral.   

Austen’s first published novel was Sense and Sensibility, in 1811.   Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813, the most popular novel telling the story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy.  In 1814 Mansfield Park was published and Emma was the last novel to published in Jane Austen’s lifetime in 1815.  The year after Austen’s death, Northanger Abbey, was published in 1818, bound in a single volume with Persuasion.  Jane’s early writings, the Juvenilia, were all published posthumously in three volumes.  Likewise, her first completed novel, Lady Susan, written in the epistolary style (a literary work in the form of letters), was not published until 1871. 

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