Born in 1840, Thomas Hardy is one of the nation's best-known novelists. The author of such classics as FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES and JUDE THE OBSCURE, Hardy is renowned for his novels set in the Wessex landscape.
Leo Hollis was educated at Stonyhurst College and read history at UEA. He is the author of books on London and Paris, and works in publishing. He lives with his wife and children in London.
Little is known about the poet Homer but he is thought to have composed the Iliad in the second half of the eight century BC and according to tradition lived on the island of Chios in the east Aegean.
Professor Tristram Hunt is a lecturer in history at Queen Mary, University of London. Previously, he was an associate fellow at the Centre for History and Economics, King's College, Cambridge, and research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). Educated at Cambridge and Chicago Universities, he has worked as a government adviser. As well as authoring a number of BBC television programmes, he is a regular contributor to the Guardian, The Times and The Observer.