HEREFORDSHIRE’S own record-breaking rower Kiko Matthews is urgently knocking on Hay Festival’s door in hopes of airing a brand new book about her Atlantic odyssey during next month’s prestigious event.

Ironically, home for Kiko, whose name has flashed around the globe since completing her single-handed journey across the ocean in just 49 days, is Longtown, a few miles from the literary festival which will bring writers and adventurers from far and wide to Hay between May 24 – June 3.

While she awaits word, Kiko has another message for the world. The teacher, molecular biologist, ocean-going rower and confessed free spirit would one day like to settle down: Kiko is looking for love.

Her book’s title alone, ‘How to Row the Atlantic Solo After Brain Surgery’ sums up the dynamic personality of Hereford-born Kiko, who has battled a life-threatening tumour and at times, tumultuous seas in her unstoppable quest.

Rowing 3,000 miles, alone, from Grand Canaria to Barbados has put 36-year-old Kiko firmly into the record books while raising £100,000 for King’s College Hospital, London, where she underwent life-saving surgery. A tumour, discovered on her pituitary gland, had brought on an aggressive form of the rare Cushing’s disease.

Her book, which features a daily blog kept on the lonely voyage, is due to be launched at the same time as Hay’s world-famous festival. So Kiko is making a plea for “anyone who has any good connections to help find a small slot” for her during the 10-day event.

“I’m a Herefordshire girl, who’s done something, well, all right,” she says modestly. “If I could set my own little table up at the festival and chat away to people that would be good!”

In fact, Kiko has been interviewed by the world’s media, night and day, since coming ashore at Port St Charles to be met by her parents, retired Hereford GP Dr Paddy Matthews and his wife, Genevieve. Among the welcome party was Kiko’s brother, Robin and nephew, Louis.

The middle child of four, Kiko delights in having nine nephews and nieces, but she would like to find her own ‘Mr Right’. However, men looking for a ‘needy’ partner need not apply.

Kiko has braved an overland drive to South Africa, set up a paddleboarding charity, The Big Stand to “empower with education and inspire through adventure”, all before tackling her mission to row across the Atlantic.

She gave up her job as a science teacher – she won a first class honours degree in molecular biology at Newcastle University - having found the system too difficult to follow. “I am not very good at routine and feeling boxed in - and I don’t do what I’m told,” she said.

“I get bored very easily and there are so many things for us to learn – I have a fear of missing out!”

In September she will be revealing her next project. Tantalisingly it involves cycling and the Atlantic, but she won’t be drawn. “It’s a much bigger endurance project,” she states.

In the meantime, she is prepared to consider finding a partner. “I love the idea of cooking for someone, hanging out with a special person on Sundays,” she says.

“I need a man who is going to challenge me but my mum doesn’t expect me to bring home a normal man.

"If I was to advertise I’d say, ‘Herefordshire woman looking for a man who’s looking for an abnormal relationship’.”