Jane Johnson is a best-selling author of historical novels often flavoured with her intimate knowledge of North African landscape and culture, having married a Berber tribesman in 2005. Her latest novel, The Sea Gate, is set in Cornwall during WWII and the modern day, and is described by the Historical Novel Society as ‘echoing Du Maurier in its strong Cornish sense of place as well as the way it builds the feeling of tension and foreboding.’ Her latest (reissued) work is Pillars of Light, an epic novel spanning the medieval world and telling the story of how Wells Cathedral came to be built as the first true Gothic cathedral, employing knowledge gained from Muslim masons. It was described by Anne Fortier as ‘a masterpiece of historical fiction’ and is published for the first time in paperback in November. Of her novel The Salt Road (‘atmospheric and hugely romantic’ – Marie Claire) she says it was ‘a journey of discovery, not just about the Sahara and its people but also about my husband’s ancestral roots.’ Her session promises a fascinating insight into a tantalizing world.
Jane Johnson is from Cornwall and has worked in the book industry for over 30 years as a bookseller, publisher and writer. For many years she was responsible for publishing the works of JRR Tolkien, commissioning Alan Lee to create the centenary illustrated edition of The Lord of the Rings which was to prove so influential on Peter Jackson’s vision for his movie trilogy. She spent many months in New Zealand with the cast and crew and wrote the official visual companions to the films. The authors she publishes include George RR Martin (creator of A Game of Thrones), Dean Koontz, Robin Hobb, Stuart MacBride, Mark Lawrence, Raymond E Feist and SK Tremayne. While she was in Morocco in 2005 to research The Tenth Gift, based on the true story of the Barbary pirate raid on Mounts Bay, she met her soon-to-be husband Abdellatif, a Berber tribesman from a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. Returning home, she gave up her office job in London, sold her flat and shipped the contents to Morocco and they were married later that year. They now split their time between Cornwall and Morocco, and Jane still works remotely as a Fiction Publishing Director for HarperCollins.