Steps leading down to the estuary from the quay at Appledore

© Terry Mathews

Who we are

Our Patrons give up their valuable time to advise and support us and, in doing so, help to ensure the Appledore Book Festival continues to grow and deliver a diverse and inspirational festival.

Our Patrons

Nick Arnold:

After studying history at University, the only publishing job Nick could find was editing children’s science books.  This work showed Nick that science was a lot more interesting than he had imagined and it encouraged him to start writing his own science articles for teachers’ magazines and the Guardian newspaper with the help of a scientist friend.  This led to larger books and then in 1996 Scholastic published the first in the Horrible Science series, illustrated by Tony De Saulles.

Today Nick is one of the world’s most successful science writers for young readers.  He has written more than 50 books and sold more than 20 million books in 40 languages.   He presents Horrible Science shows all over the world and became the first children’s author to go on tour in China.  In addition he founded and was the first Director of the Appledore Book Festival and is the only British author to have saved a public library from closure and organised its complete refurbishment using funds he had helped to raise.

Andy Cooper:

Andy is a journalist and editor with over 30 years' experience in national, regional and local media. He first moved to Devon in 1997, when he was appointed editor of the North Devon Journal. 

In 2011, he left newspapers to take up the position of editor of Devon Life magazine, a role he still holds, as well as running his own part-time copywriting business. Now living in Exeter, where he can indulge his love of the Chiefs rugby team, Andy still finds himself drawn back to North Devon whenever possible and he was delighted to be asked to become a patron of Appledore Book Festival two years ago as he has been a strong supporter of the event way back to its foundation. 

Tanya Landman :

Carnegie Medal winning Tanya Landman is the author of more than forty books for children and young adults. 

Born and brought up in Kent, Tanya now lives and works in Bideford and the nearby coastline was the inspiration for her Flotsam & Jetsam series.

Tanya's first books were "adventure stories with a sprinkling of magic and a spoonful of humour."  But then Tanya turned to crime, writing Mondays are Murder (winner of a Red House Book Award) - the first in a series of ten "Agatha-Christie-for-kids" featuring child sleuth Poppy Fields and her friend Graham. Her new highly illustrated series for younger children - Sam Swann’s Movie Mysteries – features an accident-prone boy sleuth and his faithful canine sidekick Watson.

Although she writes across a broad age range, Tanya is probably best known for her historical thrillers for young adults.  She has been shortlisted for several UK awards and has won many UK and international prizes and awards, including the Western Writers of America, the 2015 Carnegie Medal and the Scottish Teenage Book Prize 2020.

Judi Spiers:

Judi is a well-known broadcaster and presenter.

Initially, trained as an actress at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, she joined Westward Television, latterly Television South West, presenting news and current affair programmes as well as her own chat show which was networked.

For six years in the late 80’s and early 90’s, Judi presented the iconic daily magazine programme ‘Pebble Mill’ where she interviewed some of the biggest names in film, television, theatre and music including Kirk Douglas, Jack Nicholson, Sigourney Weaver, Mel Brooks ,Jack Lemmon, Rod Steiger the Bee Gees, Michael Caine, Tom Hanks, Burt Bacharach, Maya Angelou, Dudley Moore  and Take That!!!

During the 90’s she had her own Radio Two Saturday Morning and afternoon show interviewing the stars of the day and also appeared on quizzes and light entertainment shows including Celebrity Squares, Give Us a Clue, Blankety Blank, Through the Keyhole and Noel’s House Party - where she received a Gotcha Oscar!

More recently, Judi could be heard on our local airwaves where she presented the morning show on BBC Radio Devon from 2005 until 2015.

Jeremy Vine:

Jeremy is an award winning broadcaster.  

In the 80’s, he began his career as a trainee reporter at the Coventry Evening Telegraph before joining the BBC as a news trainee. During the nineties, Jeremy was a political correspondent and later BBC Africa correspondent based in Johannesburg.

Jeremy now presents the graphics for election specials and was recently at the helm with David Dimbleby and Emily Maitlis for the 2015 and 2017 General Elections.

In 2015, Jeremy appeared on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, partnering professional dancer, Karen Clifton.

The BBC’s daily Radio 2 programme, The Jeremy Vine Show, is now the most listened-to radio current affairs programme in the UK. You can also see Jeremy on Channel 5’s daily current affairs show ‘Jeremy Vine’.

You will have also seen Jeremy on BBC 1’s Points of View on Sundays, as well as Eggheads, now one of the longest-running quiz shows in British TV history.

Jeremy regularly interviews authors and will often introduce them to the Festival.

Richard Wolfenden-Brown:

Richard is Director of The Plough Arts Centre in Great Torrington and has programmed live events at the venue since 1999. He is delighted to garner closer ties with the Appledore Book Festival and looks forward to arranging future 'satellite' events at The Plough throughout the year.At last year Festival, he enjoyed running a play-story drama session for young children in the village library and can't wait to do the same this year.In his spare time, Richard runs the Bude Youth Theatre, something he has done for the past 20 years, and is also chair of 'Connect Bude' which campaigns to reinstate the Bude rail line to the National Rail Network.Richard is also a trustee of Dance-In-Devon, the county's dance development agency.

Our Trustees

Pat Hadley-Smith Chair of Trustees

Sara Mendosa Trustee: Company Secretary

John Rankine Trustee: Company Treasurer

Mark Juby Trustee

Susan Sandon Trustee

Richard Cable Trustee

The Festival Team

Ann Juby Festival Director

David Carter Box Office

Joy Smart Friends’ Coordinator

Judith Byrne Volunteers’ Coordinator

Judi Unwin Children’s Events and Torridge Primary Schools Liaison

Isabella Leonard Finance

Patricia Morris Health and Safety

Pat Glover Secondary Schools Liaison

Marilyn Young North Devon Primary Schools Liaison

Nicola Cockell Schools Programme Volunteer

Pat Hadley-Smith Schools Administrator

Sara Mendosa Operations

Susie Palmer

Appledore Book Festival Sponsors