Two writers, local children’s author and poet Leanne Ellul and bestselling Irish crime writer Sam Blake, discuss their shared love of storytelling and their inspiration. Finding the best way to tell a story is a challenge faced by every writer. Literary agent Simon Trewin will be moderating the discussion and delving into the nature and origin of story ideas, and how these two writers bring them to the page. Some ideas suit a short story, some a poem, others a novel; this exchange sheds light on how writers decide on the best approach.

Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin writes crime as Sam Blake, the multiple No 1 bestselling author shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of the Year three times. Her seventh bestseller, The Mystery of Four, and her recently published YA debut, Something Terrible Happened Last Night, are both in shops now. Vanessa is the founder of Europe’s biggest writing resources website, the award-winning, the Writers Ink online writing group, and Murder One, Ireland’s International Crime Writing Festival. Vanessa is a board member of the Society of Authors, and a fellow of the RSA. Having developed a range of initiatives in the writing world, she is a champion for emerging writers, working with agents and publishers both in the UK and Ireland, and spotting new talent. Vanessa joined the Board of the Crime Writers Association in 2021 and takes a dynamic lead in organising National Crime Reading Month.

Leanne Ellul writes poetry and prose, and has published works for both adults and children. She was named Best Emerging Author in the 2016 National Book Prize and her works for children have garnered various Terramaxka awards. L-Inventarju tal-Kamra l-Kaħla, her first poetry collection, was published in 2020. Her latest published work is Bjuda, the fruit of an interdisciplinary project centred around the colour white. Ellul lectures on Maltese language and literature and is active in Inizjamed and HELA Foundation, two NGOs that have Maltese language and culture at their core.