Johnny is the author of several books including Preserved (Kyle Cathie, 2005) (‘Elegantly written’ – Mail on Sunday) and The Man Who Touched the Sky (Hodder 2002) (‘A fascinating and exhilarating read’ – Sir Richard Branson). He co-authored The Football Book with David Goldblatt. In 2012 he and David published How To Watch the Olympics(UK: Profile; US: Riverhead), which was an Observer, Independent and Independent on Sunday sports book of the year. In 2015 they published The Time Travel Handbook: From the Eruption of Vesuvius to the Woodstock Festival(UK: Profile; US: Harper Design).
Ben Ambridge is Professor of Psychology at the University of Manchester. His first book, Psy-Q: You Know Your IQ – Now Test Your Psychological Intelligence, was translated into fifteen languages worldwide, and was shortlisted in the Popular Science category for the British Medical Association book awards. His follow-up, Are You Smarter Than a Chimpanzee? led to an appearance on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, while his TED talk on The Top 10 Myths of Psychology has been viewed over 2½ million times. Ben has written as a regular columnist for the Guardian/Observer and The Big Issue.
David is the author of the critically acclaimed, multi-awarding novels Skellig, My Name is Mina, Counting Stars, The Savage, Island, A Song for Ella Grey, The Colour of the Sun and many other stories, picture books, librettos, songs, and plays. His work is translated into 40 languages, and is widely adapted for stage and screen. His major awards include the Carnegie Medal, two Whitbread Awards, the Eleanor Farjeon Award, the Michael L Printz Award (USA), Le Prix Sorcières (France) and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. In 2010 he won the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the world’s most prestigious prize for children’s authors. David speaks at festivals and conferences around the world and is widely regarded as one of the most exciting, inspirational and innovative children’s authors writing today. He has one amazing daughter and lives in Bath and in Newcastle, the city in which he was born.
David’s new book, Paper Boat, Paper Bird, was published by Hachette Children’s in August 2022. This stunning new story sees the return of Mina (from the unforgettableSkellig and My Name is Mina) as she journeys to Japan and discovers the wonders of the world around her. He also recently authored The Woman Who Turned Children into Birds (2022) for Walker Books, described by The Sunday Times as ‘ a beautiful, whimsical, heart-lifting picture book by a writer who makes words soar’.
‘David Almond’s books are strange, unsettling wild things – unfettered by the normal constraints of children’s literature. They are, like all great literature, beyond classification’ — The Guardian
James Attlee is the author of Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey (2007), Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight (2011), Station to Station: Searching for Stories on the Great Western Line (2015, shortlisted for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year) and Guernica: Painting the End of the World(2017) among other titles, as well as numerous essays, chapters and newspaper articles, mainly concerning art and books. His digital fiction The Cartographer’s Confession, free to download from the App Store and Google Play, won the if: book New Media Writing Prize 2017. He has worked in publishing for over two decades, including 10 years at Tate Publishing in London.
Rachel is former literary editor of the New Statesman, now working for the Guardian. She spent several years studying Arabic and writing about Islam and politics in Yemen, Pakistan and across the Middle East. Generation Revolution, published in the UK by Harvill and the US by Other Press, follows four young Egyptians through the Arab Spring and its aftermath, unravelling the complex forces shaping their lives and the future of the Middle East. It made the a New York Times “100 notable books of 2017”.
John Batchelor is Emeritus Professor of English at Newcastle University and a former tutorial Fellow of New College Oxford. He has now returned to Oxford and is a member of the Senior Common Room at New College.
In a long writing career he has moved away from academic books to books for the general reader. His recent work includes The Life of Joseph Conrad: A Critical Biography (Blackwell, 1995), John Ruskin: No Wealth but Life (Chatto & Windus, 2000), Lady Trevelyan and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (Chatto & Windus, 2006) and Tennyson: To Strive, To seek, To Find (Chatto & Windus, 2012). In May 2021, How the Just So Stories Were Made: The Brilliance and Tragedy Behind Kipling’s Celebrated Tales for Little Children was published by Yale University Press.
John Barton is a biblical scholar and was the Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at the University of Oxford from 1991 to 2014. In addition to his academic career, he has been an ordained and serving priest in the Church of England since 1973, and has represented Oxford clergy on the Church’s General Synod. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.
Among his publications are Reading the Old Testament (John Knox Press, 1984, several subsequent editions), The Nature of Biblical Criticism (John Knox Press, 2007), Ethics in Ancient Israel(Oxford University Press, 2014), and The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Companion (Princeton University Press, 2016). He is joint editor of The Oxford Bible Commentary, and editor-in-chief of a major online encyclopaedia, The Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Religion. His books deal with the interpretation of the Bible, how it came together and became authoritative in Judaism and in the Church, and its theological and ethical themes—concentrating especially on the Old Testament.
His first trade book, A History of the Bible: The Book and its Faiths, was published by Penguin in 2019 to widespread acclaim, becoming a Sunday Times bestseller and winning the Duff Cooper Prize. Since then, Barton has published The Word: On the Translation of the Bible (Allen Lane, 2022). Telling the story of how the Bible has been translated, this book is the product of a lifetime’s study of scripture and was praised as “immensely scholarly, well written and sprinkled with light touches” by the Literary Review.
A former Catholic nun, Karen emerged as a writer with her memoir Through the Narrow Gate describing her convent life. Her brilliant The Spiral Staircase takes Karen from the convent into the world. Now an international bestselling author – she is published in 40 languages – Karen’s books which include A History of God, Islamand The Battle for Godhave become required reading for those wishing to understand militant piety. The Great Transformation, about the beginnings of religious traditions, was a bestseller. Muhammadhas sold for twenty five years. The Case for God – What Religion Means was a bestseller. In 2008 she won a TED Award which launched The Charter for Compassion and led to her book Twelve Steps to the Compassionate Life – a New York Times Bestseller. Bodley Head and Knopf published her book on religion and violence, called Fields of Blood, in November 2014.
Her newest book, Sacred Nature: How We Can Recover Our Bond With The Natural World, was published by The Bodley Head in June 2022. It will speak to anyone worried about the destruction of our environment and searches for new ways of thinking to accompany the political action needed to save our planet.
The greatest male ballet dancer of his generation, Carlos was the lead principal dancer at The Royal Ballet and now runs Acosta Danza in Cuba. He is an extraordinary writer. His memoir No Way Hometells the story of the eleventh child of a truck driver in the slums of Havana who was a delinquent and whose father put him into ballet school to get him off the streets. Published by HarperCollins UK, Scribners US and Schott in Germany, it was a huge success. YURI, the film based on the memoir, directed by Iciar Bollain and written by Paul Laverty, was released in September 2018.
Pig’s Foot, his vibrant first novel (translated by Frank Wynne), is a historical, set in a former slave community in Cuba. Bloomsbury published it as a Waterstones’ debut selection in 2013. He was awarded the CBE in the Queen’s 2014 New Year Honours List.
Nigel Travis is the former chairman and CEO of Dunkin Brands, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins. He was born in Essex and earned his degree in Business Studies at Enfield College of Technology (now Middlesex University). He has had a long career in HR and at executive board level, including with Grand Metropolitan, Burger King and Blockbusters. He is a lifelong Leyton Orient fan and in 2017 he led a consortium that took over the club. He lives with his wife and three children in Boston, Massachusetts. His book, The Challenge Culture, was published in the UK by Piatkus in 2018.