Lisa Woollett

author & photographer

Lisa is author and photographer of the award-winning books Sea Journal and Sea and Shore Cornwall: common and curious findings. Both bring together her wanderings along Britain's shores with stories of their natural history, geology and evolution - from ancient myth to recent science. Current work includes a new book with John Murray/Hodder and a children's book due out in spring 2018.

After a degree in psychology, she studied documentary photography at Newport School of Art. For 12 years she worked as a freelance photographer, with past clients including The Independent on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph and The Observer.

Her first book Sea and Shore Cornwall: common and curious findings won a Holyer an Gof Publishers' Award 2014. Sea Journal was non fiction book of the year at the Rubery Book Awards and Highly Commended at the British Book Design & Production Awards in 2016. Each publication was accompanied by an exhibition of photographs and cabinets of finds, the first at The Eden Project and the second touring places that featured in the book, including Lyme Regis, St Ives and Whitstable.

She gives occasional talks about the books, previously at Port Eliot Festival, Waterstones, Fowey Festival, Eden Project, TOM Talks (Tomorrow's Oceans Matter) and Penzance LitFest.

Lisa & the sea

Lisa grew up by the sea, on the Isle of Sheppey at the mouth of the Thames. Her grandfather was from a South London family in the 'scavenging professions' and she spent much of her childhood collecting and fossicking along the island?s shores, searching for - among other things - fossils, shark's teeth and old bottles.

The cliffs near her childhood home had, and still have, a strange and other-worldly feel, as they are constantly being eroded and washed away - losing an average of five feet a year. She grew up with stories of local churches and pubs that over the years had been lost to the sea. A favourite place was 'The Pub With No Beer', at the time a derelict shell near the cliff edge, with the wreck of the gents already half way to the beach.

As a student and then freelance photographer she lived in cities, with the coast and the sea a place of solace and escape. After having her first child in 2003, she moved to Cornwall. She began photographing the sea the day her youngest started pre-school and spent that winter photographing storms and wild seas, selling the work through galleries in Cornwall. She had the idea for her first book soon afterwards and it took shape as she began researching the curious things she picked up along the shore.

She continues to live with her family on the south coast of Cornwall, in a house shared with buckets and boxes of beach finds.