Jim Kelly is an award-winning crime novelist whose novels are set in the bleak landscapes and waterscapes of the Fenlands. He has written ten crime novels to date: the Philip Dryden novels, featuring a fictional journalist (Kelly's profession before he turned to crime), and the Detective Inspector Peter Shaw novels, based on the North Norfolk coast. His most recent book, Death's Door, is in the Shaw series; a new Dryden novel is in press; and there is a further Dryden in the pipeline.
In April, Jim blogged about the new book: "I'm struggling at the moment with the issue of the flooding - or to be exact - the re-flooding of the Fens. The next Dryden novel, provisionally titled Cloudland, will be set in the near future, or even a slightly different version of the here-and-now. In this parallel Fens, global warming has led to the re-flooding of a large area of farmland and reserves owned by the National Trust. I have in mind the area to the east of the Cam, before its junction with the Old West, south of Ely. In my version of this landscape, a new 'mere' or inland sea has been created which is big enough to appear endless from either shore". It is on transformed landscapes that Jim Kelly will be speaking in this year's Arts & Humanities Festival.
Jim Kelly was born in London in 1957, the son of a Scotland Yard detective. He went to Sheffield University and then into provincial newspapers before moving to the Financial Times, where he became Education Correspondent. In 1985 he was a press fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge. His first novel, The Water Clock, published in 2001 by Penguin, was short-listed for the John Creasey Award, given by the Crime Writers' Association for best debut crime novel. In 2002 he left the Financial Times to write full-time. Four more crime novels in the series, set in the Black Fens around Ely, followed - The Fire Baby, The Moon Tunnel, The Coldest Blood and The Skeleton Man. In 2006 he won the CWA's Dagger in the Library, in recognition of the popularity of the series. He began a second series in 2009 with Death Wore White, set on the north Norfolk coast, followed by Death Watch. In 2011 he won the New Angle Prize for Literature and has just been appointed a Royal Literary Fellow at Essex University.
He lives in Ely, Cambridgeshire, with his partner Midge Gillies, a writer and lecturer in creative non-fiction.
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