Joanne Harris (Author)
Joanne Harris's Whitbread-shortlisted Chocolat was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is the author of many other bestselling novels, including Lollipop Shoes and Peaches for Monsieur le Cure, both also featuring Vianne Rocher, as is her new novel The Strawberry Thief. She has also written acclaimed novels in such diverse genres as fantasy based on Norse myth (Runemarks, Runelight, The Gospel of Loki), and the Malbry cycle of dark psychological thrillers (Gentlemen & Players, Blueeyedboy, and Different Class).
Born in Barnsley, of an English father and a French mother, she spent fifteen years as a teacher before (somewhat reluctantly) becoming a full-time writer. In 2013, she was awarded an MBE. She lives in Yorkshire, plays bass and flute in a band first formed when she was sixteen, and works in a shed in her garden.
Irvine Welsh (Author)
Irvine Welsh is the author of eleven previous novels and four books of shorter fiction. He currently lives in Chicago.
Xiaolu Guo (Author)
Xiaolu Guo was born in south China. She studied at the Beijing Film Academy and published six books in China before moving to London in 2002. Her books include Village of Stone which was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth which was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize, and I Am China which was longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction. Her recent memoir, Once Upon a Time in the East, won the National Book Critics Circle Award, was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award, the Jhalak Prize and the Rathbones Folio Award 2018, and was a Sunday Times Book of the Year.
In 2013 Xiaolu was named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. She has directed several award-winning films including She, A Chinese, and documentaries about China and Britain. She was a judge for the Booker Prize in 2019, and is currently a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York.
Deborah Moggach (Author)
Deborah Moggach is the author of many successful novels including Tulip Fever and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which was made into a top-grossing film starring Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith. Her screenplays include the film of Pride and Prejudice, which was nominated for a BAFTA. She lives in Wales.
Tim Butcher (Author)
Tim Butcher is a best-selling author who blends travel with history. His first book, Blood River, was a number one bestseller, a Richard & Judy Book Club selection and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, while his next, Chasing the Devil, was longlisted for the George Orwell Prize. A journalist with the Daily Telegraph from 1990 to 2009, in 2010 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Northampton for services to writing. Born in Great Britain, he is based in Cape Town with his family.
Marie Phillips (Author)
Marie Phillips was born in London in 1976. Her first novel, Gods Behaving Badly, was published in 2007. Widely acclaimed, it was translated into over fifteen languages and made into a feature film. She is also the writer, with fellow novelist Robert Hudson, of the BBC Radio 4 series Warhorses of Letters.
Kathy Lette (Author)
Kathy Lette is a celebrated and outspoken comic writer who has an inimitable take on serious current issues. She is one of the pioneering voices of contemporary feminism, paving the way for Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham.
She first achieved succes de scandale as a teenager with the novel Puberty Blues, which was made into a major film and a TV mini-series. After several years as a newspaper columnist and TV sitcom writer in America and Australia, she's written 11 international bestsellers in her characteristic witty voice, including Mad Cows, How to Kill Your Husband - and Other Handy Household Hints (staged by the Victorian opera) and The Boy Who Fell to Earth. She is known for her regular appearances on BBC and Sky news programmes. She is an ambassador for Women and Children First, Plan International, the White Ribbon Alliance and the NAS.
Kathy Lette lives in London with her husband, her autistic son (the actor Julius Robertson) and daughter, and can often be found at The Savoy drinking a cocktail named after her. Kathy is an autodidact (a word she taught herself), but has honorary doctorates from Southampton Solent and Wollongong Universities and a Senior Fellowship from Regent's College.
Visit her website at www.kathylette.com to read her irreverent blog, and find her on Twitter @KathyLette or Facebook /KathyLetteAuthor