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
Isla Blair has appeared in Holby City, Heratbeat, Taggart, Darling Buds of May, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Dalziel and Pascoe. Stage work includes One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Noises Off (at the NT), as well as seasons at the Bristol Old Vic. She read the audio book of Atonement.
Tim Blanning is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He is also a Fellow of the British Academy. He has been described by THE SUNDAY TIMES as 'a long-time Cambridge academic who can make even the most arcane subject thrum with interest'. He lives in Cambridge.
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.
Simon Brighton was brought up in Lincolnshire, in the shadow of Temple Bruer, one of the most important Templar sites in the country. He became fascinated by the Knights at an early age and has pursued that fascination ever since. His photography of Templar sites has become well known - some of his images of London's Temple Church were included in the illustrated edition of The Da Vinci Code. When not documenting the Templars he is a psychiatric nurse, with an MSc in forensic psychiatry.
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.
Bob Carruthers is a filmmaker and producer of TV historical documentaries, of all periods, sold and broadcast around the world. He specialises in military history. Professor John Erickson is a noted historian and widely published author.
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.
Anne de Courcy
Anne de Courcy is a well-known writer and journalist. In the 1970s she was Woman's Editor on the London Evening News and in the 1980s she was a regular feature-writer for the Evening Standard. She is also a former feature writer and reviewer for the Daily Mail. Her recent books include THE VICEROY'S DAUGHTERS and DEBS AT WAR.Go to www.annedecourcy.com for more information.
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.
James Evans did his PhD at Oriel College, Oxford, following a first-class Masters in Historical Research. He has worked as a producer on various historical television documentaries, including Dan Cruickshank's 'Hidden Houses' (BBC2), Niall Ferguson's 'Western Civilisation' (C4), Griff Rhys Jones's 'Rivers' (BBC1) and Michael Wood's 'English Story' (BBC2), for which he also contributed to the accompanying book.
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.
Rusty Firmin was born in Carlisle in 1950. He joined the Royal Artillery at an early age and was then posted to 49 Field Regiment RA and subsequently to the 29 Commando RA. Getting a taste for commando ops, Rusty passed the SAS gruelling selection and joined B-Squadron 22 (SAS) Regiment in 1977. Following covert tours in Northern Ireland with the SAS, Rusty then led part of the iconic assault to rescue the hostages from the Iranian embassy in 1980. A fitness fanatic who represented the British Army at football, Rusty lives in rural Herefordshire.
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.