Simon Thirsk’s 2010 satirical novel Not Quite White was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and was the best-selling English language fiction novel in Wales that year.

His 1990 BBC2 play Small Zones, adapted for BBC2 Screen 2 by Jim Hawkins, highlighted the imprisonment of dissident Russian poet, Irina Ratushinskaya and was seen by 3.25 million viewers.

Simon also contributed to Dangerous Asylums, an anthology of short stories about mental illness and was commissioned to contribute to Jawbreakers, an anthology of flash fiction.

As a writer, Simon has appeared at Hay-on-Wye, the Welsh National Eisteddfod, the London Welsh Centre and other festivals and venues in both Wales and England. He is currently working on a second novel.

Simon Thirsk is a founder director and is currently executive chair of poetry publishers Bloodaxe Books Ltd, a specialist poetry press set up Neil Astley in 1978 and formed into a company in 1982,

He has worked as a journalist, lectured in journalism and marketing, and was co-ordinator of a children’s charity which raised £12m to build a medical research centre. He has also organised literature festivals and chaired a tourism group and town development project.

He has been a role model for Big ideas Waleswhich encourages young people into business, for over ten years and is also a speaker for Robert Peston’s Speakers for Schools initiative whose aim is to inspire young people. His talk “Hero or villain of your own life story?” has been delivered in schools around the country.

Having learned Welsh, he presents in both Welsh and English to all age groups. He splits his time between Newcastle and North Wales.