About Mark Illis
Born in London in 1963, Mark studied English at UCL, where his first short story was published, and was a runner up for the Whitbread Prize for Young Writers. He also had stories published in the London Review of Books and Fiction Magazine while he was at UCL. He went on to do an MA in Creative Writing at UEA, where Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter were the tutors.
Mark had three novels published by Bloomsbury before he was thirty, A CHINESE SUMMER, (which was translated twice and published in America), THE ALCHEMIST and THE FEATHER REPORT. At this point he was still writing and publishing short stories and was teaching English GCSE part-time, doing research for a charity, and then working as a Literature Development Worker.
In 1992 he moved to West Yorkshire to be a Centre Director for the Arvon Foundation. On leaving this post in 1995 he and his wife settled in the area, and Mark started writing for TV and radio. He has written three radio plays and has written for EastEnders, The Bill and Peak Practice. He was on the writing team of Emmerdale for over a decade, and is now developing original TV ideas. His screenplay for Before Dawn, a relationship drama with zombies, won the Best Screenplay award at the Whitby International Film Festival.
Mark has more than twenty years' experience of teaching writing. He has worked in schools, libraries, universities, Reading Prison and Broadmoor Secure Hospital and has run workshops in Hong Kong and Norway. He has taught more than 30 Arvon courses and has given readings at festivals from Brighton to Ilkley, Cheltenham to King's Lynn. He has recently been working for the charity First Story and he is a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund.
Mark has reviewed for The Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator and Radio 4's Kaleidoscope.
His fourth book TENDER was published by Salt in 2009, and his latest novel THE LAST WORD was also published by Salt, in 2011. He continues to write short stories and is working on a Young Adult novel. He is still in West Yorkshire, with his wife and two children.