Art Lester grew up reluctantly in the southern USA. He has worked as a reporter for a large Florida daily newspaper, researcher in sociology, draughtsman, supermarket clown, fire lookout tower operator, taxi driver, carnival worker and short order cook. After university, he ran a counter-culture Mexican restaurant that hosted Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, among others. That was where he met and got drunk with the literary hero of his youth, Jack Kerouac.
Throughout the eighties he worked in Botswana, the Dominican Republic and northern Kenya, becoming a fluent speaker of Spanish and Swahili. In between assignments he lived in a small village in southern Spain.
Over the past twenty years he has been minister to Unitarian congregations in London and Dublin. Along the way he has sold both news and fiction pieces, including such diverse markets as Mike Shane Mystery Magazine and the BBC World Service. His column, Culture Shock, ran for several years in an English language paper in Spain. His book, Seeing with Your Ears: Spirituality for Those Who Can’t Believe, won first prize in a prestigious US self-published book competition. A recent book, The Coffee Table Book of Doom, was co-written with the cartoonist Steven Appleby, by Square Peg, an imprint of Random House. It was picked up by Penguin in the US and published in 2012. In that same year, he won second place in the prestigious short story competition of the Royal Society of Literature.
His new book, The Demon Cat of Calle del Rio, is a memoir of a year he spent in a remote mountain village in the Sierra Nevada range of Andalucia.
Art divides his time between Spain and England with his wife, Gilly Fraser, a pioneer scriptwriter for Eastenders, and former playwright in residence at the Royal Court Theatre.