Emma grew up around the Black Mountains, studied art in London, as well as training as a holistic therapist, before training volunteers for Greenpeace. Returning to Wales, Emma then trained as a tutor, combining her love for writing with teaching literacy, whilst quietly building upon her artistic skills, and occasional talks, in the Brecon Beacons. In addition to Emma's felt-making workshops and commissions, her experience includes creating and co-directing the Beacons Creative Retreats, working as Creative Director of The Makers Gallery at Crickhowell, and spending a few hours each month as events coordinator for The Big Skill cic, with their programme of skills based workshops and community events. Emma is passionate about the importance of community and creativity. When Emma is not organising or making, she loves long walks with the rescue dog, or riding out in the hills.
Matthew lives in South Shropshire where he is in private practice as a Dramatherapist. Graduating as a secondary school teacher at Goldsmiths College London, he went on to post-graduate training in film making and worked with multimedia in London Schools for several years before moving into the corporate environment. A commercial career in the IT industry followed working in sales marketing and organisational development. At 50, Matthew trained as a Dramatherapist, going on to work in inner-city areas with young people, parents and teachers before joining the University of Roehampton Department of Psychology as a Senior Lecturer.
Edward has worked for over 30 years in publishing, mainly in the academic and professional arena. For over two decades he ran his own business, which was sold in 2011. Since then, he has moved to Herefordshire, and taken up a range of both paid and unpaid roles in publishing and other activities. He has a strong interest in energy, the environment and sustainability in all its forms.
Alison has worked for English National Opera, the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra and the Tallis Scholars amongst others. She was general manager of The Sixteen and established its UK touring programme, the Choral Pilgrimage, and its recording label, CORO. She now works across the UK as a fundraising consultant. She is best known locally for her management role at Presteigne Festival. Recently she has added management of Brecon Baroque Festival to her project portfolio. Alison has lived close to Bleddfa for the last decade.
Tony grew up in Belfast, studied at Cambridge, worked in London and now lives in Oxford where he is a member of Kellogg College. Most of his professional life has been spent as a book publisher. For a decade he ran the History List at Oxford University Press, before co-founding Hambledon & London (Sunday Times Small Publisher of the Year) and later becoming CEO of The History Press. He was an original board member of Théâtre de Complicite and Senior Advisor to Historypin, the world’s largest open-access digital image archive, partnered by Google. He is a Trustee of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. His writings include What Do Buddhists Believe? (Granta Books) and Buddhism by Numbers (Mud Pie). When not at his desk Tony likes to go for very long walks.
Caroline is a freelance writer, editor and books journalist. She is Associate Editor and non-fiction previewer for trade magazine, The Bookseller, and writes and reviews for other publications, including The Sunday Express and Mslexia. Caroline is the author of five non-fiction books of her own, including ‘A Rambling Fancy: In the Footsteps of Jane Austen’; and ‘Someone Like Adele’, a biography of the superstar singer. She is also Associate Fellow at the Royal Literary Fund. Caroline lives in Stroud, co-presents a monthly book club feature on BBC Radio Gloucestershire and chairs events at book festivals including the Cheltenham Literature Festival. She is also a primary school governor, an Oxfam volunteer, and a ropey but enthusiastic flamenco dancer.
Peter was a Professor of English and Head of Department at Kingston University, before taking early retirement to write free-lance 20 years ago. He wrote the authorised biography of Dame Iris Murdoch in 2001 and his other books include Going Buddhist, At the Bright Hem of God : Radnorshire Pastoral, and A Very English Hero : the Making of Frank Thompson. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2009 and his Family Business : a Memoir came out in 2019. He co-edited the annual Transactions of the Radnorshire Society for ten years. He is also a teacher of Buddhist meditation and has co-led many retreats at Bleddfa.
Margaret has spent most of her life in the Marches, from the war years until retirement. Her professional life as Head Teacher of a primary school subsequently led to a political life as County Councillor in the Wye Valley to Chairman of Powys County Council, and as a Chairman of the Brecon Beacons National Park. A staunch supporter of Radnorshire, Margaret has worked in voluntary positions for the judiciary and in school governance. Margaret is an unapologetic lover of smallholding, Women’s Institute and country living. In the role of trustee of the Bleddfa Trust she enjoys encouraging local people and especially children to participate in the programmes we offer.