Newly appointed Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow: John Farndon

The Art School welcomes John Farndon, the new Writing Fellow, recently appointed by the Royal Literary Fund. The Writing Fellow is available to give friendly, confidential one-on-one advice to City & Guilds of London Art School students with any kind of writing – from personal statements to theses.

John Farndon is a writer of non-fiction books, and a playwright, lyricist, com-poser, poet and literary translator. Spurred by intellectual curiosity, his interests range widely and he writes on topics from chemistry to China. He’s currently writing the hubristically-conceived Omnipaedia, about how to know everything and has just finished the very straightforwardly titled The Shakespeare Book, The Sherlock Holmes Book and The Movie Book. Another recent project is Do You Still Think You’re Clever? a follow-up to his successful Do You Think You’re Clever?: the Oxbridge Questions.

He’s written hundreds of books, published worldwide – including bestsellers such as Do Not Open, a cult-hit in both the USA and Russia – and contributed to major reference works such as Science. In earlier years, writing mostly for children, he was shortlisted four times for the junior Science Book prize. Now he writes more for adults. An urge to inspire and inform is a com-mon thread, evident in his acclaimed Atlas of Oceans on endangered life in the oceans.

He’s translated literary works from Russian, including the poetry of Pushkin and Grigorieva, and the beautiful lyrical memoir Letters to Another Room by Ravil Bukharaev. He is currently translating a major Kazakh novel. His verse translations of two of Spanish Golden Age playwright Lope de Vega’s comedies are soon to be performed in Houston and Prague. His acclaimed new libretto for Puccini’s La Boheme set in contemporary Dalston was recently performed at the Arcola’s Grimeborn Festival.

His works for stage have been performed at theatres such as the Donmar and Almeida in London and his songs by artists from Russian folk group Koleso to West-end star Anthony Cable. Now he’s venturing out to perform himself, reading his poetry, performing his songs and hosting the Cauldron evenings in Islington that stir together writers, thinkers, musicians and anyone with an idea. In 2014 he recorded one of his songs with legendary folk-fiddler Dave Swarbrick for the Passing the Baton showcase EP and performed on Swarbrick’s tour. He is also super-assessor for the Best New Play and Most Promising New Playwright Awards for the Offies (Offwestend Theatre Awards). Earlier this year he was invited to create a multimedia storytelling event for the Moscow Polytech Festival.


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