Lisa is the author and photographer of several award-winning books including Rag and Bone (John Murray, 2020), which received the Royal Society of Literature Giles St Aubyn Award for Non-fiction.
A beachcomber and mudlark, she 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 fossicking along the island’s shores, collecting—among other things—fossils, sharks’ teeth and old bottles. The cliffs there have a strange and otherworldly feel as they are constantly being eroded and washed away, losing on average 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 edge of the cliff, with the gents already halfway to the beach.
For 12 years she worked as a photographer, with past clients including The Independent on Sunday, Daily Telegraph and Observer. Since 2004 she has lived in Cornwall with her family, in a house shared with buckets and boxes of shore finds.
For some background to Rag and Bone there is a Radio 4 Ramblings programme, BBC2’s Rick Stein’s Cornwall (a few minutes in) and a short North Cornwall Book Festival film. There was also a ‘Travelling Museum of Finds’ supported by the Arts Council. All show-and-tell some of the shore finds collected while writing the book.
Lisa’s next book is due out with John Murray in spring 2024. She is represented by Clare Alexander at Aitken Alexander.
Black and white portrait by Ellie Wainwright