Picnic Publishing Logo

Political Blogs picnic spots, picnic sites and areas

Authors, Illustrators & Photographers

Caroline Bailey
The Sleepy Ladybird

Caroline is French and moved to London from Paris ten years ago where she met her partner Iain. In between attending the Putney School of Art and Design, and attending Tony Ross and Chris Riddell seminars, she and Iain set up the website design agency Flame New Media. For this, Caroline designed a flash interactive website with animated characters sponsored by the Vodafone UK Foundation. A talented artist with contrasting styles, she is now designing her second book for Picnic Publishing, a zany affair called The Ghostly Garlic and Silly Salami.

Caroline posted on the Picnic author blog, 8 - 12 September 2008 >>

Caroline Bailey

Caroline Bailey

Ben Beazley
Crooked Mile

Ben Beazley has been writing regional history books since 1999 with six published works to his credit. From the extensive research involved he has acquired an in depth knowledge and interest in the late 19th century and Edwardian periods, which combined with a career of almost thirty years as a police officer gives him an unrivalled background when it comes to writing period detective novels. His first novel for Picnic, ‘Crooked Mile’ is due to be published in early 2009.

Ben posted on the Picnic author blog, 28 July - 1 August 2008 >>

Ben Beazley - author of Crooked Mile

Ben Beazley

Nick Blackstock
Something Hidden

On leaving school at sixteen, Nick joined ICI until National Service took him to Kenya. Returning to London, he worked in the City with the shipping side of BP, progressing up the corporate ladder with a major British firm. Having always regretted not going to university, he read History and Geography at Bradford university, 1974 - 1977. Thereafter, he obtained a teaching qualification and started work in the Business Education Department of a local college. As a Senior Lecturer he took early retirement in 1999.

Nick has contributed to a range of articles in professional publications and also co-wrote a text book on business communications: twenty seven years after publication it is still selling! His first historical novel (Beast, Dewi Lewis 2002)was about a killer wolf that terrorised wide swathes of Southern France in the eighteenth century. The genesis of his second, Something Hidden, published by Picnic, is a fatal train crash in Gloucestershire in 1928. Among the dead were the bodies of two young children who, despite massive publicity, were never identified.
Nick has also written a series of ‘one off’ published articles (mainly on travel) with titles ranging from ‘Silver Nomads in Australia’, to ‘Golden Bosuns on Christmas Island’. Currently, he is researching Dutch East India shipwrecks off the coast of Western Australia. In one or both of these areas he hopes to produce a novel within the next year.
Nick is married with two adult children.

Nick posted on the Picnic author blog, 4 - 8 August 2008 >>

Nick Blackstock - author of Something Hidden

Nick Blackstock

Michael Bollen
Earth Inc

Michael Bollen was born in Chelmsford in 1974 and now lives in Brighton where he works in a library. He studied Theatre at Warwick University where the most important thing he learnt was that he didn’t much care for theatre. He is one half of satirical cut and paste band Cassetteboy, who painstakingly re-edit audio stolen from TV and radio programmes to occasionally hilarious, and seldom musical, effect. Until now Cassetteboy have remained anonymous, scared of being sued for massive copyright infringement. This is the first time that Michael has publicly admitted his crimes. Earth Inc. is his first novel.

Michael posted on the Picnic author blog, 7 - 11 July 2008 >>

Michael Bollen - author of Earth Inc

Michael Bollen

Arthur Butler
Politics,people and pressure groups
Memoirs of a Lobbyist

After a hectic career as a lobby journalist serving newspapers as diverse as Beaverbrook’s Daily Express and Labour’s Reynold’s News, Arthur Butler became a public affairs consultant in 1971 and soon made news himself winning battles for major local authorities – Cardiff, Essex, Teesside – against prime minister Heath’s local government reform bill. By successful, open campaigning involving the mobilisation of grass roots support, he made the word lobbying respectable.Big business, such as the tobacco and motor industries, used his expertise, helping him to create one of the most impressive client lists of his era. At the other end of the scale, the people of the depressed, strike-shattered coal mining communities sought his help to restore their morale and livelihoods. Charities, for example those fighting for victims of the scandalous use of imported bad blood by the NHS, also turned to him for help. The pace-setting lobbyist of the 1980s and founding secretary of numerous parliamentary groups, his previous publications include NO FEET TO DRAG (with Alf Morris) and THE PARLIAMENTARY AND SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE (with Christopher Powell).


Arthur Butler

Arthur Butler

Iain Bailey
Emigré London

Iain Bailey cut his photography teeth underneath an African sun where he was born. He arrived in London in 1989. More at home with picturing nature - and the tour de France (!) - he says of Picnic's illustrated book Emigré London: 'To begin with, I did not tell my mates I was photographing frocks. Now, however, I am so pleased with the result, I am telling everyone!' In addition to his photography career, the talented entrepreneur and web guru is an internet consultant with his own agency based in Kent.

Iain Bailey
Iain Bailey

Colin Challen MP
Too Little, Too late - the politics of climate change

Colin is Labour MP for Morley & Rothwell. Prior to his election to Parliament in 2001, he was a local Labour party organiser.
Before that he was a self-employed printer and publisher, having started a small business after leaving university in 1982.
Before going to Hull University as a mature student, he was a postman and served in the Royal Air Force. A member of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Select Committee, he has presented several bills in Parliament, including bills to promote personal carbon rationing and the intern. In addition, he launched and is a founder member of, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change which he chairs. Picnic publish his Too Little, Too Late - The Politics of Climate Change in January 2009. His other publications are: Booklets: The Quarrelsome Quill, Hull’s Radical Press from 1832 (Hull, 1984) (with Mike Hughes); In Defence of the Party: The Secret State, the Conservative Party and dirty tricks (with Mike Hughes) (Leeds, 1996); Save As You Travel: New directions in mutual ownership (Wakefield, 1999).
Book: The Price of Power: the secret funding of the Conservative Party (London, 1998). He was editor, Labour Organiser 1997 to 2001.

Collin Challen - author of Too Little, Too Late - the politics of climate change
Colin Challen

Dr Roger Cottrell
Enemy Within

Dr ROGER COTTRELL is head of film at Kidderminster College. He is a former crime reporter and member of the WRP. His experiences in the latter informed his bleak crime retrospective Enemy Within. A movie script writer, Roger attended the Irish National Film School in Dun Laoghaire. He taught American crime fiction and film noir at Queens University, Belfast where he did his doctorate on British crime films. His SF will shortly be screened on the Science Fiction channel; his anti-Fascist thriller Straight to Hell will shortly be made into a TV thriller. He served briefly in the Army Intelligence Corps during which time he was politically radicalized. Enemy Within was short listed for the 2004 Dundee Book Prize. His remake of Orwell’s 1984 as a noir thriller called Last Man Out of Europe ISBN ; his novel about McCarthyism in 1940s Hollywood and the Cecil King coup plot, Hollywood Bowl, ISBN

Roger posted on Picnic's author blog 18 - 24 August 2008. >>

Roger Cottrell - author of Enemy Within

Dr Roger Cottrell

James Anthony Crabb
The Dragon and Dinosaur Juice Cafe

Born in Surrey during the Second World War, James followed in his family footsteps and started painting in oils at a very early age. Because of the war years, canvas was expensive and in short supply. Therefore - and ever the resourceful schoolboy - he painted on plywood and glass winning many competitions in art, including the county schools annual trophy. (It being a team effort, James, along with three school chums, used the Queen's Coronation Parade as the subject, painted on a 7 feet long canvas!) He was offered a place at Sutton School of Art but had to decline because of family reasons, becoming an engineer instead. Now in a position to return to his first love - painting - in recent years he has designed badges and children's board-games, some used by charities for fund-raising events.

The Dinosaur and Dragon Juice Cafe is his first illustrated book for Picnic Publishing. His use of water-colour and pencil drawing will delight all children - and adults will appreciate his, unique, joyous and retro style. James' next project - Tiger Trap! - also with Picnic Publishing, is an adventure story for boys set around Dover castle.

James posted on the Picnic author blog, 22 - 26 September 2008 >>

James Anthony Crabb

James Anthony Crabb

Dr Kim Fleet

Kim Fleet has a PHD in Social Anthropology and is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute. She lived and worked in aboriginal communities for five years, spending three years working on land-rights. Her short story 'Winnebago Nomad' was published in 'Don't Know a Good Thing', edited by Kate Pullinger, Bloomsbury 2006. She has published several short stories in magazines in the UK and Australia and was a finalist in the 2005 ASHAM Award. Her debut thriller Sacred Site will be published by Picnic in 2009. She has worked as a bookkeeper, teacher, bus cleaner and anthropologist. She grows her own vegetables, is a menace on the dance floor, invented the game ‘Musical Blobs’ and lives with two cats.

Kim posted on Picnic's author blog on 11 - 15 August 2008 >>

Kim Fleet - author of Sacred Site

Kim Fleet

Bonnie Greer

Bonnie was born in Chicago where she later studied with David Mamet before moving to New York to study at the Actors Studio with Elia Kazan. She has been living in Britain since the late 1980s. Bonnie regularly contributes articles to the Guardian, Telegraph, Independent and Marie Claire as well as
appearing for comment on TV and radio. She has been a judge on many prizes including the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her latest play will be moving to the West End in 2009.

Bonnie Greer - author of Entropy

Bonnie Greer

Gisela Hoyle
The White Kudu

Born in Northern Cape of South Africa, Gisela Hoyle grew up on a cattle and game farm there, which, she says,' is as glorious a childhood as you can get in terms of landscape and freedom'. It being a Mission farm, she was aware even as a child of the problems of Apartheid South Africa. Thus began her interest in the relationship between people and the patch of earth they inhabit, which plays such an important part in The White Kudu to be published by Picnic in Jul7 2009. Her interest in writing was sparked again as an adult when she gave a class of 17 year olds a sonnet assignment and they challenged her to write one, too. In a long and varied teaching career, she has found getting to know people invariably meant getting to know their stories, which 'is always fascinating, often moving and a profound gift'.

New: Gisela Hoyle's Interview >>

Gisela posted a guest piece on Robin Ramsay's political blog on the Picnic website, 31 August 2008. >>

Gisela posted on the Picnic author blog, 6 - 10 October 2008 >>

Gisela Hoyle - author of the White Kudu

Gisela Hoyle

Brian Landers
Empires Apart
America and Russia from the Vikings to Iraq

Brian Landers, a main board director of Penguin Books UK, defies classification. Having forsaken academia to become a political adviser in the City - where he was first introduced to the CIA - he went on to a career in British, American and Swedish multinationals. A former senior Home Office civil servant, he has worked on charity programmes throughout the third world, had spells with Price Waterhouse, served as a Trustee of the Royal Armouries and was inaugural Deputy Chairman of the Financial Ombudsman Service. Previous directorships include Waterstone’s, WH Smiths and MML, South Africa’s largest publisher. Educated in the UK and US, he has an MBA from London Business School and has lived in Europe, North and South America. He has written on subjects as varied as quangos, Europe and House of Commons committees and is currently working on his second book, THE CORPORATE BURQA.

Brian posted on the Picnic author blog, 1 - 5 September 2008 >>

Brian has recently launched the Empires Apart website: www.empiresapart.com

Brian Landers - author of Empires Apart

Brian Landers

Mathew Little
Public Service Reform . . . but not as we know it: A story of how democracy can make public services genuinely efficient

Mat Little is a writer and freelance journalist who writes a weekly column in Third Sector and contributes to the Guardian on public and third sector issues. Hilary Wainwright's book on public service reform was written with Mat and published by Picnic, February 2009.

Public Service Reform . . . but not as we know it: A story of how democracy can make public services genuinely efficient

Jackie Norman
Nanny Brown's Scrapbook

Tearing herself away from the industrial beauty of Redcar, North Yorkshire and her Dickensian schooling at Casterton, Cumbria, (the same Lowood School where the Bronte sisters went and where Charlotte Bronte placed her heroine Jane Eyre) Jackie Norman worked in London at the BBC, Amnesty International, taught in the East End off Brick Lane, acquired a B.Ed at the University of London and a BA (Hons) Photography and Multimedia at the University of Westminster, but not necessarily in that order. Her son works on computer architecture for a national newspaper and her daughter is an up and coming product designer. Jackie is married (still), with one Jack Russell.


Jackie Norman
Jackie Norman

Lakshmi Raj Sharma
The Tailor's Needle

Professor Sharma‘s writing sits alongside heavy teaching and pastoral responsibilities for students within the Department of English, Allahabad University. Head of Department - as well as recognised English Literature scholar - he wrote the first book on the THE TS ELIOT MIDDLETON MURRY DEBATE (1994) – six years ahead of David Goldie; co-authored THE TWAIN SHALL MEET (1998); and edited SHAKESPEARE’S PROBLEM PLAYS (1999). In recognition of his work, he was invited to attend the J. Middleton Murry centenary in Oxford, and did so following award of a British Council travel grant. As well as numerous articles, his other published works include MARRIAGES ARE MADE IN INDIA: STORIES (2001). Currently working on his second novel, EMANCIPATION, he recently completed a further collection of short stories, THE ENGLISH WORLD AND OTHER STORIES. He is currently organising his university's international conference on the 21st century novel in Allahabad, 29 November - 1 December 2009.

Note to Scholars: Call for papers: The above seminar is open to scholars and researchers working on the novel. Their institutions will pay for their airfare and the registration fee of $100. If they are experts, and if the committee approves their names, it will pay for them. Papers will be published. Presentation time will be less than the actual length of papers — 15-30 minutes. Thank you.

Lakshmi Raj Sharma posted on his book on the Picnic author blog, 3 April 2009 >>

Lakshmi Raj Sharma - author of The Tailor's Needle

Lakshmi Raj Sharma

Robin Ramsay
Politics and Paranoia

Robin Ramsay has been the editor/publisher of Lobster since 1983. He was the co-author (with Steve Dorril) of Smear! Wilson and the Secret State (London 1991), the author of Prawn Cocktail Party (London, 1998) and for the Pocket Essentials series he has written: Conspiracy Theories (2006), The Rise of New Labour (2002) and Who Shot JFK? (2007). He is currently compiling his second book for Picnic, due in early 2009. His first, Politics and Paranoia will be published in May 2008.

Robin posted on the Picnic author blog, 29 June - 6 July 2008. >>

Robin also has his own political blog on the Picnic website and can invite others to do a guest post if their subject interests him. >>

Robin Ramsay - author of Politics and Paranoia - Photographed by Sarah Appleyard

Robin Ramsay

Caroline Rance

Caroline Rance was born in Bromborough, Wirral in 1975. Kill-Grief is her first novel and was inspired by her research into 18th-century medicine while studying English and History at Keele University.

Caroline has previously worked for the NHS, the National Trust, a plant nursery and a charity focused on the Middle East, but is now looking after her toddler and writing her second novel. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband, son, three Arab horses and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. You can visit her website at www.carolinerance.co.uk.

Caroline posted on the Picnic author blog, 14 - 18 July 2008 >>

Caroline Rance - author of Kill-Grief

Caroline Rance

Rick Schmidt
Black President

Rick Schmidt's previously published work includes the best-selling guides, Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices (Penguin, 1988, 1995, 2000), and Extreme DV (Penguin, 2004). He has written/directed over 20 features, including the iconoclastic Emerald Cities, since his feature film debut, A Man, a Woman, and a Killer, which was co-directed with Wayne Wang (Joy Luck Club, Smoke, Anywhere But Here, etc.). Other features have premiered at top international film festivals; Sundance/Dramatic Competition, Berlin/Panorama, New Directors/New Films, etc. His epic musical, 1988-The Remake, screened at the London Film Festival and on Channel Four/UK (see: ). Black President is his first novel.

"He (Schmidt) super-empowered me. The book (Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices) changed my life." – Vin Diesel, Actor

"Without Rick's book (Feature Filmmaking…), Clerks would have been an idea that never made it past this page."
Kevin Smith, Writer/Director, Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma, etc.

"Rick Schmidt shows filmmakers how to use these new tools (as discussed in Extreme DV) to realize their visions."
John Lasseter, Writer/Director, Toy Story, Cars, etc.

Rick posted on the Picnic author blog, 13 - 24 June 2008. He was
Picnic's inaugural blogger, blogging from America on his novel Black
President. He blogged again 30 September - 4 October 2008 when
Picnic published the book. >>

Rick Schmidt - author of Rick Schmidt

Rick Schmidt

Andrew JH Sharp
The Ghosts of Eden

Andrew Sharp trained as a surgeon and then a general practitioner and has lived and worked in East and Southern Africa where he has close family ties. Now based in the East Midlands he is a contributor to medical magazines and has written award-winning short stories. Comfortable in combining both the practice of medicine and the art of writing he concurs, humbly, with Chekhov who wrote: ‘Medicine is my lawful wife and literature my mistress’. A love of the peoples and landscape of Africa stirred his pen for his first novel, The Ghosts of Eden.

Andrew Sharp posted on his book on the Picnic author blog, 21 - 25 July 2008 >>

*New* The Ghosts of Eden website >>

GHOSTS OF EDEN launch party in Zimbabwe >>

Andrew JH Sharp - author of The Ghosts of Eden

Andrew JH Sharp

Corinne Souza
Jasmine's Tortoise

Corinne Souza's non-fiction books include Baghdad's Spy. Jasmine's Tortoise is her first novel.


Jasmine's Tortoise by Corinne Souza


Hilary Wainwright
Public Service Reform . . . but not as we know it: A story of how democracy can make public services genuinely efficient

Hilary Wainwright is a Fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, Senior Research Associate of the International Centre for Participation Studies, Bradford University and Co-editor of Red Pepper. Her other books include 'A Workers Report on Vickers with Huw Beynon' (1979 ) 'Beyond the Fragments, Feminism and the Making of Socialism' with Sheila Rowbotham and Lynne Segal (1981) 'The Lucas Story, A New Trade Unionism in the Making?' with Dave Elliott (1982), 'Labour, A Tale of Two Parties' (1988) 'Arguments for a New Left, Answering the Free Market Right'(1994) 'Reclaim the State, Experiments in Popular Democracy' (2003 and update 2009.)

Her book on Public Service Reform, written with Mathew Little, was published by Picnic in February 2009.


Public Service Reform . . . but not as we know it: A story of how democracy can make public services genuinely efficient