Jessica holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of St Andrews. Her research has won funding and prizes from the British Academy, the Society for Renaissance Studies, the Russell Trust and the University of St Andrews, among others. Her first book Between Popes, Inquisitors and Princes revealed how the first Jesuits collaborated with the Holy See and crowned heads of Europe, often undercover, to fight heresy after the Reformation. Jessica has since written on the political tumults and religious transformations of the early modern period for prestigious historical journals and well-loved magazines like History Today.
Jessica is currently writing a history of papal Rome, from Saint Peter to our own day, with a particular focus on the ostensibly ordinary people who have shaped the life and character of this extraordinary city.
Cathy Thomas’ short fiction has been published in The Stinging Fly, BANSHEE and Litro as well as shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and the Royal Academy and Pin Drop Award. She was selected for the 2014/15 Jerwood and Arvon Mentoring Scheme as a dramatist. She holds a Master’s degree in playwriting and screenwriting, has been selected for playwriting groups at the Royal Court Theatre and Lyric Hammersmith, and has had work staged at theatres including the Arcola, Rich Mix and Southwark Playhouse.
Her first book, Islanders, was published by Virago in 2022. Inspired by the author’s own experiences growing up in Guernsey, and following a tightly woven cast of friends and families over twenty years, Islanders explores the loneliness and the lure of small-island life.
Polly Barton is a writer and Japanese translator based in Bristol. In 2019, she won the Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize, and her debut book Fifty Sounds, a personal dictionary of the Japanese language, was published in the UK by Fitzcarraldo Editions in April 2021 and by from Liveright in the US in early 2022. In 2022, Fifty Sounds was shortlisted for the 2022 Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year.
Her translations have featured in Granta, Catapult, The White Review and Words Without Borders and her full length translations include Spring Gardenby Tomoka Shibasaki (Pushkin Press), Wherethe Wild Ladies Areby Aoko Matsuda (Tilted Axis Press/Soft Skull), which was shortlisted for the Ray Bradbury Prize, and There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Jobby Kikuko Tsumura (Bloomsbury).
Her new book, Porn: An Oral History, was published by Fitzcarraldo Editions (UK) in March 2023 and is forthcoming from La Nave di Teseo in Italy.
Amy Key is a poet and writer based in London. She is the author of two collections of poetry,Luxe (Salt, 2013) and Isn’t Forever (Bloodaxe, 2018), which was a Poetry Book Society Wild Card Choice and a book of the year in the Guardian, New Statesman, Times and Irish Times. Her poems have been widely published and anthologised, and her essays have appeared inAt The Pond(Daunt, 2019), Granta, The Poetry Review and elsewhere. Her first work of non-fiction, Arrangements in Blue, will be published by Jonathan Cape (UK) in Spring 2023, alongside publication in the US (Liveright) and Italy (Rizzoli).
Elliot Rappaport has sailed as a captain in the United States maritime industry since 1992, involved primarily in the training of other mariners aboard an assortment of traditional sailing ships. His first book, READING THE GLASS: A Sailor’s Story of Weather, will be published in the UK by Sceptre in 2023.
Sir Peter Lampl is the Founder and Chairman of the Sutton Trust which aims to improve social mobility through strategic philanthropy. He is also chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust with support from Impetus Trust funded by an endowment of £125 million from Government to improve the performance of the poorest children in the most challenging schools.
Before establishing the Sutton Trust in 1997, Sir Peter was the founder and chairman of the Sutton Company, a Private Equity firm with offices in New York, London and Munich. Sir Peter has been highly recognised for his work with the Trust and in June 2003 was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday list. He was also awarded an OBE in 1999 for services to Access to Higher Education.
His memoir, Ticket to Ride: My Adventures in Making Big Money and Giving It Away, was published by HarperCollins in 2021.
Vanessa, 25, is a climate activist from Uganda and founder of the Africa-based Rise Up Movement. She began striking for the climate in her home town of Kampala in January 2019, after witnessing droughts and flooding devastating communities in Uganda. She now campaigns internationally to highlight the impacts of climate change already playing out in Africa, as well as promoting key climate solutions such as educating girls. In 2020, Vanessa was named a UN Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as being listed one of the BBC’s 100 Women of the year and the 100 most influential young Africans. The FT named her one of 25 most influent women of 2021.
Her first book A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisiswas acquired in a nine-way auction by One Boat/Macmillan in the UK and published in the US by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. This rousing manifesto and memoir about climate justice shares a vision of hope on how we can – and must – build a livable future for all. Malala Yousafzai calls Vanessa ‘an indispensable voice for our future’ and Greta Thunberg praised the book for its reminder that ‘while we may all be in the same storm, we are not all in the same boat.’
James is a Professor of Modern and Contemporary History and a Fellow of Trinity College, University of Oxford. He previously taught at Princeton and at SOAS, London. His A History of Algeria (Cambridge UP, 2017) was among the Financial Times’ best books of the year and co-winner of the BKFS Prize. He is currently completing Empire in Fragments, a history of colonialism and its legacies in France and Africa, which will be published by Princeton University Press. UK rights in his next book, Worlds of Islam: How Being Muslim Became Modern, have been acquired by Allen Lane.
Grace is a prominent public intellectual and writer, and the most followed transgender scholar in the world on social media. She was born in Birmingham and studied at Oxford and Sussex, and is now Associate Professor of English at UC Berkeley, specializing in Victorian literature and culture, trans feminist studies, and contemporary popular culture. She is the author of Quaint, Exquisite: Victorian Aesthetics and the Idea of Japan (Princeton UP, 2019), and has contributed essays to VICE, Slate, The Guardian, Los Angeles Review of Books, Catapult, Roxane Gay’s Gay Mag, Autostraddle, and Them. Her speculative memoir about recovery and transition, Please Miss, was published by Daunt Books in the UK and Basic Books in the US in Spring 2022. Carmen Maria-Machado calls it ‘hilarious and sexy and terrifying in its brilliance’.
Grace is represented by Carrie in the UK on behalf of Kent Wolf at Neon Literary.