Leila Aboulela was born in Cairo and grew up in Khartoum. All three of her previous novels, The Translator, Minaret and Lyrics Alley, were longlisted for the Orange Prize. Lyrics Alley won Novel of the Year at the Scottish Book Awards and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, while Aboulela's collection of short fiction, Coloured Lights, won the Caine Prize. She lives in Aberdeen. www.leila-aboulela.com/ www.facebook.com/pages/Leila-Aboulela-Official/134742056629289
Nigel Balchin was born in 1908 and graduated in Natural Science from Cambridge University. During the Second World War he worked as a psychologist in the personnel section of the British War Office, before becoming Deputy Scientific Advisor to the Army Council. He wrote numerous books, including How to Run a Bassoon Factory (under the pseudonym Mark Spade), and Darkness Falls from the Air. He died in 1970.
Rachel Billington has published twenty novels and nine books for children, as well as several non-fiction works. She is also a regular journalist, feature writer and reviewer. She is co-editor of Inside Time, the national newspaper for prisoners and a Vice-President of English PEN. She has four children and five grandchildren and lives in London and Dorset.
Nancy Bilyeau's acclaimed first novel, THE CROWN, was shortlisted for the CWA Ellis Peters Dagger Award for historical fiction and dubbed 'the year's most impressive debut' by the judging panel. It took five years to research and write. Her second novel, THE CHALICE, was the winner of the Best Historical Mystery novel at the RT Book Reviews Awards. Her screenplays have placed as finalist in several prominent industry competitions, including the NICHOLL FELLOWSHIP, PAGE INTERNATIONAL SCREENWRITING AWARDS, SCRIPTAPALOOZA, and Francis Ford Coppola's AMERICAN ZOETROPE COMPETITION. Nancy, a magazine editor, lives in New York City with her family. Find out more about Nancy and her lifelong passion for Tudor history via her website, www.nancybilyeau.com Facebook/NancyBilyeauAuthor @TudorScribe
Wallace Breem was born in 1926 and educated at Westminster School. In 1944 he entered the Indian Army Officers' Training School and later joined a crack regiment of the North West Frontier Force. After the war he took a number of temporary jobs, eventually joining the library staff of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. By 1965 he had become the 11th Chief Librarian and Keeper of Manuscripts. He was a founder member of the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians. He served the organisation in a number of senior capacities from 1969 until his death in 1990, when the Association and the Inner Temple jointly set up a Memorial Award in his honour.
Lothar Gunther Buchheim
Lothar-Gunther Bucheim was born in 1918 and grew up in Saxony. When the war broke out he joined the navy and served on mine-sweepers, destroyers and submarines on the last as an official navy correspondent.
Christian Cameron is a writer and military historian. He participates in re-enacting and experimental archaeology, teaches armoured fighting and historical swordsmanship, and takes his vacations with his family visiting battlefields, castles and cathedrals. He lives in Toronto and is busy writing his next novel.
Philippe Claudel was born in 1962. He has won several awards for his fiction, including the Prix Goncourt for Stories in 2003.
Stephen Coonts is the author of fifteen New York Times bestsellers, which have been published in over 20 countries worldwide. A former Navy pilot and Vietnam combat veteran, he and his wife live in Nevada. Visit his Web site at www.coonts.com.
Terry Deary was born in Sunderland in 1946 and now lives in County Durham, where the Marsden family of the Tudor Chronicles live. Once an actor and a teacher of English and drama, he is one of Britain's bestselling children's authors, with over 140 books to his credit, including the phenomenally successful Horrible Histories.
Rupert Degas has narrated over a hundred audiobooks. He has recorded a diverse range of authors, from Andy McNab, James Patterson, Wilbur Smith and Chris Ryan to children's authors such as Derek Landy, Darren Shan, Jamie Rix and Philip Pullman. He has narrated books by Patrick Rothfuss, Haruki Murakami, Mervyn Peake, Rose Tremain and Cormac McCarthy as well as recording classics from Kafka, Conan-Doyle, Lovecraft and Wilde. Rupert has lent his voice to numerous cartoons, including Mr Bean, Robotboy, Gumball, Thomas & Friends and Bob the Builder and has performed in over fifty radio productions for BBC Radio 4, including The Brightonomicon and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He spent eighteen months in the West End performing in Stones in his Pockets and was in the original London cast of the smash-hit comedy The 39 Steps.
Julian Fellowes, actor, writer, director, producer, was educated at Ampleforth, Magdalene College, Cambridge and Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. He trained in repertory theatre at Northampton and Harrogate. As creator, sole writer and executive producer of the hit television series Downton Abbey, Fellowes has won three Emmy awards and a Golden Globe. Fellowes received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Gosford Park (2002). His work was also honoured by the Writer's Guild of America, the New York Film Critics' Circle and the National Society of Film Critics for Best Screenplay. Other writing credits for film include Piccadilly Jim (2004), Vanity Fair (2004), Young Victoria (2009), The Tourist (2010), Romeo & Juliet (2013), and the three-part drama Doctor Thorne for ITV. Fellowes also wrote and directed the award-winning films Separate Lies and From Time to Time. Fellowes wrote the books for the Tony-nominated stage production of Mary Poppins and for School of Rock: The Musical which opened on Broadway in December 2015, and was written and produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber.Fellowes has authored two novels: the international bestsellers Snobs (2005) and Past Imperfect (2008).Julian Fellowes became a life peer in 2011. He lives in Dorset and London with his wife, Emma.
C. S. Forester
Cecil Scott Forester was born in 1899 in Cairo and educated in England. He went to Hollywood during the opening years of World War II to help write and produce 'propaganda' films that would convince U.S. filmgoers that the they should take the side of the British and Allies in the War, which led to such films as Eagle Squadron (1941). He is most famous for his celebrated Hornblower series. He died in 1966.
Essie Fox divides her time between Windsor and Bow in the East End of London. Her debut novel, The Somnambulist, was selected for the Channel 4 Book Club and was shortlisted in the New Writer of the Year category of the 2012 National Book Awards. She is the author of The Virtual Victorian: www.virtualvictorian.blogspot.com
Diana Gabaldon is the internationally bestselling author of many historical novels including CROSS STITCH, DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, VOYAGER, DRUMS OF AUTUMN, THE FIERY CROSS and A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES. She lives with her family in Scottsdale, Arizona. Visit her website at www.dianagabaldon.com
Adrian Goldsworthy has a doctorate from Oxford University. His first book, THE ROMAN ARMY AT WAR was recognised by John Keegan as an exceptionally impressive work, original in treatment and impressive in style. He has gone on to write several other books, including THE FALL OF THE WEST, CAESAR, IN THE NAME OF ROME, CANNAE and ROMAN WARFARE, which have sold more than a quarter of a million copies and been translated into more than a dozen languages. A full-time author, he regularly contributes to TV documentaries on Roman themes.Visit www.adriangoldsworthy.com for more information.
Julia Gregson's novel East of the Sun was chosen for the Richard and Judy TV Book Club and became a Sunday Times bestseller in the UK. Previously a journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Times, Good Housekeeping, and Rolling Stone in the USA, Julia is married and lives in Monmouth. To find out more about Julia and her books, visit her website www.juliagregson.net or follow her on Twitter at @juliagregson
T D Griggs
Tim Griggs has lived and worked on four different continents. Born in London, he settled for 20 years in Australia before moving to Oxford. He died in 2013.
Lilian Harry grew up in Gosport, on the shores of Portsmouth Harbour, and now lives on the edge of Dartmoor with two miniature schnauzers who allow her just enough room on the sofa. She is a keen bellringer and walker, and enjoys taking part in village life. Her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby.Follow Lilian on Twitter @LilianHarry or visit www.orionbooks.co.uk to find out more.
Born in 1917 in Fredensborg, Denmark, Sven Hassel joined the merchant navy at the age of 14. He did his compulsory year's military service in the Danish forces in 1936 and then, facing unemployment, joined the German army. He served throughout World War II on all fronts except North Africa. When the war ended in 1945 he was transferred between Russian, American and French prison camps, and upon returning to Denmark, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for treason. He began writing Legion of the Damned during his time as a prisoner of war. His fourteen World War II books, which draw on his own encounters and experiences as a soldier, have sold over 53 million copies worldwide and have been published in more than 50 countries. He peacefully passed away in Barcelona in 2012, where he had resided since 1964.