Meet the team

Robin Lloyd-Jones: Project Manager

Photo of Robin Lloyd-Jones

Robin lives in Helensburgh with his wife Sallie and their cat Orlando. He has lived in Scotland for most of his adult life and has three children and three grandchildren. After a childhood spent in India and the west country of England, he graduated from Cambridge University with an MA in Social Anthropology and was a teacher before becoming an Education Adviser in Strathclyde Region. He took early retirement in 1989 to focus on writing. His other main interests have been mountaineering, sea kayaking, photography and chess.

Robin at 86 can confidently claim to have ‘insider knowledge’ about later life! His two most recent books – Autumn Voices (PlaySpace Publications, 2018) and The New Frontier (Thunderpoint Publishing, 2019) – are both about people who lead active, creative lives in later life. Robin was a Tutor in Creative Writing at Glasgow University in the nineties and subsequently served in an executive capacity for the Society of Authors in Scotland (SOAiS) and Scottish PEN International. He is also an award-winning writer of novels, short stories, non-fiction and radio drama. His other publications include:

  • The Sweet Especial Scene (Two Ravens Press, 2014)
  • The Sunlit Summit (Sandstone Press, 2013)
  • Argonauts of the Western Isles (updated edition, Whittles Publishing, 2008)
  • Red Fox Running (Andersen Press, 2007)
  • Fallen Pieces of the Moon (Whittles Publishing, 2006)
  • Fallen Angels (Canongate, 1992)

Kriss Nicholl: Social Secretary

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Kriss Nichol is a retired teacher with an MA in Creative Writing from Northumbria University. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in numerous small presses, magazines and anthologies, won prizes and been shortlisted in competitions. As a member of Scottish PEN, the Federation of Writers (Scotland), the Scottish Writing Centre and Dove Tales, (Poets for Peace) some of her work has appeared in their publications or on their website. She loves sharing her knowledge and insight with others and runs a writing group in her hometown.

Kriss has self-published three poetry pamphlets: The Language of Crows (2012), Between Lands (2013) and A Suggestion of Bones (2017). She has also published two novels: In Desolate Corners Shadows Crouch (2012) and Monsoons and Marigolds (2017). Her most recent publication, Ancient Anchors, marks an innovative departure for her. It is an extended sequence of poetry and prose in the style of Haibun (a prosimetric literary form originating in Japan which combines prose and Haiku), that charts the story of the relationship between the Earth and all her inhabitants from the Big Bang to modern day. Its release date is August 2020.

Sophie Elkan: Social Media & Marketing Coordinator

Sophie’s career started off in the world of fashion magazines, where she worked for some years in marketing and promotions before switching over to PR, specialising in natural toiletries. After a move to Oxford she worked for many years as Alumni Relations Editor for one of the University Colleges, which gave her the opportunity to hone her communication skills.

Although always a passionate reader and lover of language, it wasn’t until in her mid-40s that Sophie found confidence in the written word when her guide to puberty for young girls was published by Bloomsbury (The Girls’ Guide to Growing Up Great; 2018, 2020). Since then, she has turned to writing as a career, working as Fashion & Beauty Editor for Oxfordshire-based lifestyle magazine, OX.

She lives with her husband, daughter and two beloved cats, and loves reading, cooking, making things look pretty and wasting time on social media. She dreams of having her novel published.

Clare O’Brien: Competitions Administrator

Originally a Londoner, Clare graduated in English and American Studies from the University of East Anglia in 1979 and gained her PGCE in London two years later.  She worked for two decades in teaching, journalism and arts administration before moving with her husband and two young sons to the Scottish Highlands.  

As part of a crofting family living on the rugged north-west coast, she has since combined her interest in horticulture with freelance work in writing/editing, PR and social media management for clients around the world as well as helping to run the family tourism business. She has taught local creative writing courses and workshops and for many years she was part of a team promoting professional live music and theatre events in village halls via Creative Scotland-funded organisation West Coast Arts.

Clare’s poetry, fiction and non-fiction has appeared in print and online in various magazines, newspapers, literary journals, anthologies, podcasts and competition shortlists. (It’s also won a few!)  She has just completed a themed poetry collection called Huginn & Muninn, named after Odin’s ravens, and having put it off for years, at the age of 62, she is finally writing a novel – Light Switch

Gillian Hamnett: Consultant

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Gillian makes up for what she lacks in relative age by bringing other experience to Autumn Voices! She has an MA and MSc in Scottish Literature and History from Edinburgh University and has worked with books, readers and writers for twenty years. She has predominantly been a bookseller and bookshop manager, but has also worked on events, projects, administration, marketing and development for a national reading charity, a tertiary training organisation and a poetry library.

Since completing editorial training with The Publishing Training Centre, Gillian now works with publishers doing proofreading and copyediting work. She runs a sole-trader business called Dark Sky Pages offering commercial and editorial services to the creative sector on a freelance basis. As well as working with Autumn Voices, she is the Bookstalls Manager for StAnza and founder of Stellar Words – a new annual Scottish Publishers’ Fair. She is also an ad hoc bookseller for The Bookshop in Wigtown, where she lives (the town, not the shop) with her husband and cat. She loves books.

Craig Hamnett: Website Developer & Technical Support

Photo of Craig Hamnett

Craig is banned from entering any Autumn Voices competitions on account of being the youngest person in the Autumn Voices team, at just 34 and a half years old. Craig, a former child, is a full stack web developer, and after winning Time Person of the Year in 2006 (with some others), he has built websites for people across the world. Craig works part time on Autumn Voices and has redeveloped the website from the ground up – so if you notice any bugs or errors on the website, they’re probably features.

Coincidentally Craig has the same surname as Gillian, which seems statistically improbable were it not for the fact that they are married to one another. In his prime, Craig was a thrifty cycle tourist and biked across America just to get a cheaper flight to New Zealand. He has subsequently been rehomed and enjoys growing older with Gillian in Wigtown.

Craig’s top tip for anything tech related is to turn it off and on again – 90% of the time it works 100% of the time.