Related to: 'Traveling with Ghosts'

Alistair Horne

Alistair Horne was educated at Le Rosey, Switzerland, and Jesus College, Cambridge. He ended his war service with the rank of Captain in the Coldstream Guards attached to MI5 in the Middle East. From 1952 to 1955 he worked as a foreign correspondent for the Daily Telegraph. In 1969 he founded the Alistair Horne research fellowship in modern history, St Antony's, Oxford. His numerous books on history and politics have been translated into over ten languages, he was awarded the Hawthornden prize (for THE PRICE OF GLORY) and the Wolfson prize (for A SAVAGE WAR OF PEACE). In 1992 he was awarded the CBE; in 1993 he received the French Légion d'Honneur for his work on French history and a Litt.D. from Cambridge University. He was knighted in 2003 for services to Franco-British relations.

Belle de Jour

Belle de Jour is the nom de plume of a former London call girl. Find Belle online at belledejour-uk.blogspot.com.

Carol Drinkwater

Best known for her role as Helen Herriot in BBC Television's ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL (for which she was awarded THE VARIETY CLUB TELEVISION PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR AWARD), Carol Drinkwater has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as both an actress and writer. During her acting career she has worked in film, television and theatre. Her credits include working with Laurence Olivier at the National Theatre and Stanley Kubrick on A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Carol is the author of six bestselling memoirs: THE OLIVE FARM, THE OLIVE SEASON, THE OLIVE HARVEST, THE OLIVE ROUTE, THE OLIVE TREE and RETURN TO THE OLICE FARM. Carol worked with UNESCO on a lavish documentary film series inspired by her two most recent books, THE OLIVE ROUTE and THE OLIVE TREE. The series is both travel and history based and will follow an Olive Heritage Trail around the Mediterranean Basin. The aim is to celebrate the cultural heritage of this sacred tree. The first transmissions will be in Canada in February and in Germany in April 2013.

Dave Pelzer

Dave Pelzer is recognised as one of America's most effective and respected communicators addressing corporations, conventions and health/psychology/primary care workers. His unique accomplishments have garnered personal commendations from Ronald Reagan and George Bush. He was selected as torchbearer for the 1996 Olympic Torch relay. He has dedicated his life to helping others help themselves.

Dot May Dunn

Dot May Dunn was born in Derbyshire, the daughter of a miner. In 1951 she joined the newly established NHS as a pre-nursing student at Leicester Royal Infirmary, eventually becoming a Research Fellow at St Bartholomew's London and the London Hospital Medical College. She has four nursing qualifications and 50 years on the 'coal face' behind her. She divides her time between England and France.

Emma Reyes

Emma Reyes (1919-2003) was a Colombian painter and intellectual whose letters were first published in 2012. She grew up in extreme poverty and escaped a convent for orphan girls at age nineteen. Illiterate, she travelled wherever she could and dedicated most of her life to painting and drawing, slowly breaking through as an artist and forging friendships with some of the most distinguished European and Latin American artists, writers and intellectuals of the twentieth century. She lived in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Jerusalem, Washington and Rome before settling in Paris. The year she passed away, the French government named her a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Eric Idle

Eric Idle is the third tallest member of Monty Python. In addition to the Python scripts, he is the author of the novels The Road to Mars and Hello Sailor, the play Pass the Butler; and the children's book The Quite Remarkable Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat. He lives in Los Angeles.

Henry Marsh

Henry Marsh read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University before studying medicine at the Royal Free Hospital in London, graduating in 1979. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1984 and was appointed Consultant Neurosurgeon at Atkinson Morley's/St.George's in 1987, where he still works full time.He has been the subject of two major documentary films: Your Life in their Hands (BBC 2003 ) which won the Royal Television Society Gold Medal and The English Surgeon (2009) which won an Emmy. He has lectured widely on the subject of hospital architecture and design, keeps bees and makes furniture in his spare time. He was made a CBE by HM the Queen in 2010. He is married to the best-selling anthropologist and writer Kate Fox.Visit the website www.theenglishsurgeon.com for more information.

Isy Suttie

Isy Suttie is a comedian, actress and writer who started performing stand up in 2002. She has written for the GUARDIAN, the OBSERVER, RED and GLAMOUR, and is a regular writer and performer on BBC Radio 4, where her show PEARL AND DAVE won a Gold Sony Award in 2013. This led to two series of her musical story show set in Matlock, ISY SUTTIE'S LOVE LETTERS. Her TV acting credits include Dobby in PEEP SHOW and Esther in SHAMELESS, and she has been nominated for three British Comedy Awards.www.isysuttie.com@Isysuttie

Jennifer Worth

Jennifer Worth trained as a nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, and was later ward sister at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in London, then the Marie Curie Hospital, also in London. Music had always been her passion, and in 1973 she left nursing in order to study music intensively, teaching piano and singing for about 25 years. Jennifer died in May 2011 after a short illness, leaving her husband Philip, two daughters and three grandchildren. Her books have all been bestsellers.

John Gottman

John Gottman, Ph.D, 56, is the founder director of the Seattle Marital and Family Institute and Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington. Co-author, Nan Silver, is a writer living in New York

Jonathan Dean

Jonathan Dean is Senior Writer for the Sunday Times Culture, regularly interviewing the world's biggest stars. He has written for the paper's News Review, Style, Magazine and Travel sections, on subjects ranging from Remembrance Day to holidays in LA, and contributed to the Pool, GQ, Shortlist, the Independent and Red.

Keith Richards

Keith Richards was born in Dartford in 1943 and founded the Rolling Stones with Mick Jagger in 1962. He lives in Connecticut.

Kevin Toolis

Kevin Toolis is a writer and film-maker. He is the author of an acclaimed chronicle of Ireland's Troubles, Rebel Hearts: Journeys Within the IRA's Soul. He has written for the New York Times Magazine and the Guardian and reported on conflicts across the world. As a film-maker Toolis has won a BAFTA for Best Single Drama and was nominated for an Emmy for his documentaries on the Middle East. His family have lived in the same oceanside village on an island off the coast of County Mayo for the last 200 years.

Lauren St John

Lauren St John was born in Gatooma, Rhodesia, now Kadoma, Zimbabwe. At 11, she and her family moved to Rainbow's End farm and game reserve, the subject of her acclaimed memoir, and she grew up surrounded by animals, including eight horses, two warthogs and a pet giraffe. After nearly a decade as golf correspondent to The Sunday Times, followed by a sojourn in the US, riding the tour buses of alt. country stars like Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and the Dixie Chicks, she wrote the bestselling 'White Giraffe' series. 'Dead Man's Cove', the first in her new mystery series about 11-year-old detective, Laura Marlin, won the 2011 Blue Peter Favourite Story and Book of the Year Awards.Lauren's website is http://laurenstjohn.com/ and you can follow her on Twitter @laurenstjohn

Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy was born in County Dublin and educated at the Holy Child convent in Killiney and at University College, Dublin. After a spell as a teacher she joined the Irish Times. Her first novel, Light a Penny Candle, was published in 1982 and she went on to write over twenty books, all of them bestsellers. Several have been adapted for cinema and television, most notably Circle of Friends and Tara Road. Maeve Binchy received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Book Awards in 1999 and the Irish PEN/A.T. Cross award in 2007. In 2010 she was presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards by the President of Ireland. She was married to the writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell for 35 years, and died in 2012. Visit her website at www.maevebinchy.com

Michael Palin

Michael Palin established his reputation with MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS and RIPPING YARNS. His work also includes several films with Monty Python, as well as THE MISSIONARY, A PRIVATE FUNCTION, an award-winning performance as the hapless Ken in A FISH CALLED WANDA and, more recently, AMERICAN FRIENDS and FIERCE CREATURES. His television credits include two films for the BBC's GREAT RAILWAY JOURNEYS, the plays EAST OF IPSWICH and NUMBER 27, and Alan Bleasdale's GBH. He has written books to accompany his six very successful travel series, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, POLE TO POLE, FULL CIRCLE, HEMINGWAY ADVENTURE, SAHARA and HIMALAYA. He is also the author of a number of children's stories, the play THE WEEKEND and the novel HEMINGWAY'S CHAIR.Visit the website for more information www.palinstravels.co.uk

Miss Read

Miss Read, or in real life Dora Saint, was a teacher by profession who started writing after the second world war, beginning with light essays written for Punch and other journals. She then wrote on educational and country matters and worked as a scriptwriter for the BBC. Miss Read was married to a schoolmaster for sixty-four years until his death in 2004, and they had one daughter. Miss Read was awarded an MBE in the 1998 New Year Honours list for her services to literature, She was the author of many immensely popular books, including two autobiographical works, but it was her novels of English rural life for which she was best known. The first of these Village School, was published in 1955, and Miss Read continued to write about the fictional villages of Fairacre and Thrush Green for many years. She lived near Newbury in Berkshire until her death in 2012.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson was born in 1928. He edited the New Statesman in the 1960s and has written over forty books. His Modern Times, a history of the world from the 1920s to the 1990s, has been translated into more than fifteen languages. As well as a weekly column in the Spectator, he contributes to newspapers all over the world.

Robert Twigger

Robert Twigger is a British author, poet and adventurer. After attending Oxford University he trained with the Tokyo Riot Police, which became the subject of his bestselling book Angry White Pyjamas. He has been awarded the Newdigate Prize for poetry, the Somerset Maugham Award for Literature and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. He led the expedition that was the first to cross the Great Sand Sea of the Egyptian Sahara solely on foot, and another that was the first to cross Western Canada in a birchbark canoe since 1793. He is the author of eight books, both fiction and non-fiction, as well as several collections of poetry. Big Snake was filmed for Channel 4.