Joan Aiken, English-born daughter of American poet Conrad Aiken, began her writing career in the 1950s. Working for Argosy magazine as a copy editor but also as the anonymous author of articles and stories to fill up their pages, she was adept at inventing a wealth of characters and fantastic situations, and went on to produce hundreds of stories for Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Vanity Fair and many other magazines. Some of those early stories became novels, such as The Silence of Herondale, first published fifty years ago in 1964. Although her first agent famously told her to stick to short stories, saying she would never be able to sustain a full-length novel, Joan Aiken went on to win the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for The Whispering Mountain, and the Edgar Alan Poe award for her adult novel Night Fall. Her best known children's novel, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, was acclaimed by Time magazine as 'a genuine small masterpiece'. In 1999 she was awarded an MBE for her services to children's literature, and although best known as a children's writer, Joan Aiken wrote many adult novels, both modern and historical, with her trademark wit and verve. Many have a similar gothic flavour to her children's writing, and were much admired by readers and critics alike. As she said 'The only difference I can see is that children's books have happier endings than those for adults.' You have been warned . . .
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 -1930) was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are generally considered a major innovation in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger. He was a prolific writer whose other works include science fiction stories, historical novels, plays and romances, poetry, and non-fiction.
R. Scott Bakker is the son of a tobacco share-cropper, and spent his youth either exploring the wooded bluffs of Lake Erie's north shore or working in hot summer fields. He left the countryside to study English language and literature at University of Western Ontario, and from there moved to Nashville to pursue a PhD in philosophy. He now lives in London, Ontario with his fiancee, Sharron, and their cat, Scully.
Helen Banes is a fibre artist and jewellery designer. Born in Chicago in 1920, she has studied at the University of Maryland and Parsons School of Design. She is a founding member of Fiberworks Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia, and the founding president of the Bead Society of Greater Washington. A desire to incorporate beads and other perforated objects into her woven pieces led to her most important artistic innovation: the method of stringing beads on a double warp, using a shaped loom on a light-weight portable board. She has given numerous lectures and workshops throughout the US and Canada, and her necklaces have been exhibited in galleries, including the Smithsonian Institute.
Daniel Barenboim was born in Buenos Aires in 1942, educated in Rome and made his piano debut at the age of eight and as a solo pianist at the age of eleven with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. His musical tours have taken him all over the world and he has made regular appearances at the Bayreuth, Edinburgh, Lucerne, Prague and Salzburg festivals. In 1967 he married the cellist Jacqueline du Pré (who died in 1987). In 1988 he married Elena Bashkirova. He was musical director of the Paris Orchestra 1975-88, and he has been Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1991 and of the Berlin State Opera since 1992.
Previous titles include: Great Paper Quilling, Wonderful Wire Works, Glass Painting In An Afternoon, Decorating Your Garden, Fantastic Furniture
A K Benedict
A K Benedict read English at Cambridge and studied creative writing at Sussex. She composed film and television soundtracks, as well as performing as a musician before becoming a full-time writer in 2012. She now writes novels, drama, poetry and short stories, and lives in St Leonards-on-Sea with her dog, Dame Margaret Rutherford. Find out more at www.akbenedict.com or follow her on Twitter @ak_benedict
David Bird is recognised as the world's leading humorous bridge writer. He has written over 130 bridge books, and in the last ten years he has won six 'Book of the Year' awards from the American Bridge Teachers Association - and in 2016 won the International Bridge Press Association Book of the Year Award for The Abbot, the Parrot and the Bermuda Bowl. David contributes regularly to Bridge Magazine, English Bridge, Bridge World, the American Contract Bridge League bulletin and other magazines around the world, as well as Vu-Bridge on the internet. He is also a voice commentator for Bridge Base Online. He lives in Chandlers Ford, Hampshire, England.
Victoria Blake was born in Oxford and brought up in Queen's College. She read history at Lady Margaret Hall and then qualified as a solicitor in London, before working in publishing and bookselling.
She lives in West London with her partner and the ubiquitous cat, percipiently named Dashiell Hammett.
Barry Bostwick is an American actor and singer. He is best known for playing Brad in the 1975 cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and has also had considerable fame in musical theatre.
Pamela Branch (1920-1967) was born on a tea estate in Sri Lanka. She was educated in England, studied art in Paris, and attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Returning to the East, she lived for three years on a houseboat in Kashmir, and travelled extensively in Europe, India and the Middle East. According to her more famous contemporary Christianna Brand, she was 'the funniest lady you ever knew'; she adored practical jokes, of which she had a seemingly endless store, and the contemporary press lavishly praised her wit. The Sunday Times stated that 'even the bodies manage to be ghoulishly diverting' and the Times Literary Supplement compared her third novel, Murder Every Monday, to the work of Evelyn Waugh. She married twice, was, according to her friends, entertaining, glamorous, beautiful and charming, and the greatest mystery of her work is why it has not received more recognition since her untimely death from cancer at the age of forty-seven.
George Bredehorn is a retired teacher who lives in Wantagh, New York and is a member of Mensa. His puzzles appear regularly in publications such as The New York Times and Games.
Sally Brock is an internationally known player and writer. Sally is also the current bridge correspondent for the Sunday Times.
Previous titles by the author: Memory Gifts, Beautiful Handmade Natural Soaps, Handcrafted Journals Albums & Scrapbooks, Hand Decorating Paper.
Melt & Pour Soapmaking is a selection of Crafters Choice Book Club
Mark Bryant was born in Dorset and is a philosophy graduate of London University. He also has a PhD in history from the University of Kent. After a number of years in book publishing he turned freelance, working as an editor, writer and exhibition curator. He is the author of several books -- including Dictionary of Riddles (Special Commendation in Best Specialist Reference Book Awards 1990), Literary Hymns, Dictionary of British Cartoonists and Caricaturists 1730-1980 (with S. Heneage) and Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists. He lives in south-west London.
Richard Burke was born in London and read English at Oxford University. He is an award-winning producer and director of TV science programmes who began his career as an assistant producer on BBC's Tomorrow's World. His credits include the series 'Space' for the BBC, Discovery America's hit series 'Raging Planet' and Channel 4's 'Electric Skies'. He lives in Taunton, Somerset, with his wife and son.
W.J. Burley lived near Newquay in Cornwall, and was a schoolmaster until he retired to concentrate on his writing. His many Wycliffe novels were extremely popular and were adapted for a highly successful TV series starring Jack Shepherd. W.J. Burley died in 2002.
Frank Buttler, former Head of Inorganic Chemistry at Teesside University and an industrial consultant, has written many scientific papers and books. Simon Buttler, his son, is a computer systems analyst, project manager and consultant and also an archaeologist.
Joyce Carol Oates
Joyce Carol Oates is a bestselling author. Among her many books are BLONDE, BROKE HEART BLUES, BLACK WATER, THEM and FAITHLESS. She has won a National Book Award as well as the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letter. She has also had stories selected for both BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES OF THE CENTURY and BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES OF THE CENTURY. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
Alex Carr grew up in Missoula, Montana. For much of her life, she has travelled and worked her way around the world, starting as a prep-cook in the scullery of a men's soup kitchen, through working in a fish cannery in Alaska pulling salmon roe, to being a nude sketch model at an art museum in Frankfurt. Her work, she says, has defined her and her writing.