Toby Venables

Senior Lecturer, Screenwriting

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:Cambridge School of Creative Industries

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Film , Creative writing

Toby Venables is an award-winning screenwriter, author and journalist. He has written for film and TV, published four novels and edited magazines in Cambridge, Oxford, Bristol and Peterborough.

Visit Toby's website

Background

Toby Venables holds and MA in Film Studies from ARU and is active in the film industry as a screenwriter and story consultant. He has written several commissioned film and TV screenplays, and was co-creator and co-writer of the hit Netflix socio-political horror movie His House, which premiered at Sundance 2020 and went on to win four BIFAs and a BAFTA in 2021. His other awards to date include an INCA Radio Advertising award, Regional Journalist of the Year 2019 and the Keats-Shelley Memorial Prize 2001.

Toby is also the author of four novels (published by Abaddon Books) including the Hunter of Sherwood trilogy, a series of gritty medieval adventures which cast Guy of Gisburne as the hero and Robin Hood as the psychopathic villain. He is a keen reader of historical fiction, horror and science fiction. His most recent work has involved the writing of a medieval fantasy series to be shot using revolutionary virtual production methods, and he is currently adapting a 1970s British horror novel as a feature film.

Research interests

  • screenwriting
  • horror cinema
  • historical fiction
  • adaptation
  • storytelling and story structure
  • medieval material culture
  • zombies in film and literature

Teaching

Toby currently teaches on the following modules:

  • Intro to Screenwriting
  • Script to Screen
  • Screenwriting: The Feature Film
  • Screenwriting: Adaptation
  • Film Reviewing
  • Film Journalism

Qualifications

  • MA Film Studies, Anglia Ruskin University
  • BA English and Study of Art, Anglia Ruskin University

Selected recent publications

Venables, Toby, 2017. Hood (Hunter of Sherwood 3). Oxford: Abaddon.

Venables, Toby, 2015. The Red Hand (Hunter of Sherwood 2). Oxford: Abaddon.

Venables, Toby, 2014. 'Zombies, a Lost Literary Heritage and the Return of the Repressed', in: Laura Hubner, Marcus Leaning, Paul Manning (eds) The Zombie Renaissance in Popular Culture. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Venables, Toby, 2013. Knight of Shadows (Hunter of Sherwood 1). Oxford: Abaddon.

Venables, Toby, 2011. The Viking Dead. Oxford: Abaddon.

Venables, Toby, 2001. 'The Lost Traveller.' Keats-Shelley Review 15 (2001): 15–21.

Recent presentations and conferences

'Bringing the zombie back home' – paper for NAWE Conference, York, November 2013

'Living the dream: loving the nightmare' – paper for Cambridge University Festival of ideas, 25 October 2012

'Locating the zombie: landscapes of the living dead' – paper for The Zombosium, Winchester University, 28 October 2011

'Frankenstein into film' – one-day workshop examining the theory and practice of the novel's cinematic adaptations, as part of the conference Mary Shelley: Parents, Peers, Progeny at Anglia Ruskin University, September 1997

Media experience

Occasional contributor to Val Verde Broadcasting YouTube film review channel.

Editor and contributor to various publications since 1997, specialising in reviews and interview features. The diverse range of interview subjects has included Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Anne McCaffrey, Des O’Connor, Gunther von Hagens, John Godber, Alison Weir, Ray Harryhausen, Tim Peake, John Cleese and Cate Blanchett.

Press and PR Manager for Cambridge Film Festival, 2011-2013. This involved organising live interviews and photo shoots with festival guests including John Hurt, Gary Oldman and Paddy Considine.

Managing editor and reviewer for relaunch of Cambridge Film Festival Daily (which would later become Take One) July 2003. Interviews with Festival guests included Peter Greenaway, David Gordon Green, Monika Treut, Nicolas Winding Refn, Gregor Jordan and Jane Birkin.

Writer, editor and interviewer for Cambridge Folk Festival website 1999-2002.

Writer and presenter of a series of five hour-long entertainment shows for Red TV, Aug-Nov 1998.