Lisa is the author and photographer of several award-winning books about the sea, beachcombing and mudlarking. Her most recent, Rag and Bone (John Murray, 2020), received the Royal Society of Literature Giles St Aubyn Award for Non-fiction. She is represented by Clare Alexander at Aitken Alexander and her next book, Lost to the Sea, is due out with John Murray in spring 2024.
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 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 childhood 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.
After leaving the island, Lisa worked as a documentary photographer for 12 years, with past clients including The Independent on Sunday, Daily Telegraph and Observer. Since 2004 she has lived with her husband and children in Cornwall, 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. All show-and-tell some of the shore finds collected while writing the book, along with a ‘Travelling Museum of Finds’ supported by the Arts Council.
Black and white portrait by Ellie Wainwright