Related to: 'The Shanghai Free Taxi'

W&N

The Last Empress

Hannah Pakula
Authors:
Hannah Pakula

Entertaining and masterly biography of Madame Chiang Kai-shek - the woman who built modern China.THE LAST EMPRESS revolves around a fascinating, manipulative woman and her family who were largely responsible for dragging China into the modern world. Soong May-ling, or Madame Chiang as she was known, is uniquely positioned at the heart of this story. As her husband came to represent the hopes of the West in the East, she acted as his adviser, English translator, secretary, and most loyal champion, finding herself on the world stage with Franklin D Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. A savvy politician, she remained a popular if controversial figure both at home and abroad.Hannah Pakula brilliantly narrates the life of this extraordinary woman - how she charmed the United States out of billions of dollars while remaining dedicated to her China, and how she managed to influence if not change the history of the twentieth century.

A.A. Gill

A. A. Gill (1954-2016) was born in Edinburgh. He was the TV and restaurant critic and regular features-writer for the Sunday Times, a columnist for Esquire and contributor to Australian Gourmet Traveller. His books include A. A. Gill is Away, The Angry Island, Previous Convictions, Table Talk, Paper View, A. A. Gill is Further Away, The Golden Door and Lines in the Sand, as well as two novels and the memoir Pour Me, which was shortlisted for the 2016 PEN Ackerley Prize. The Best of A. A. Gill, a collection of his journalism, was published in 2017.

Ben Chu

Ben Chu is the Economics Editor of the INDEPENDENT. He was born and brought up in Manchester, and studied Modern History at Jesus College, Oxford.

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.

Colin MacIntyre

Colin MacIntyre is an award-winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer who has released seven albums to date, most notably under the name Mull Historical Society, so far achieving two Top 20 albums and four Top 40 singles. He has been voted Scotland's Top Creative Talent and has toured worldwide, including with The Strokes, Elbow and REM, and has played all the major festivals. He has performed live on BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, 6 Music, Radio 4, LATER WITH JOOLS HOLLAND and THE JONATHAN ROSS SHOW, among many others. He is the co-author of a Radio 4 Afternoon Play, and has collaborated with Tony Benn and Irvine Welsh. His other musical project is Field Stars, an electro art-pop collaboration. Born into a family of writers and storytellers, Colin grew up on the isle of Mull in the Hebrides but now lives in London. His debut novel, THE LETTERS OF IVOR PUNCH, was awarded the Edinburgh International Book Festival's 2015 First Book Award. In 2018, his memoir 'The Boy in the Bubble' was published in HOMETOWN TALES: HIGHLANDS AND HEBRIDES, and his first book for children, THE HUMDRUM DRUM, was published with accompanying original songs on audiobook.

Damian Horner

Damian Horner is a highly successful PR and marketing expert. At WCRS, one of London's top agencies, he worked on the iconic 'I bet he drinks Carling Black label' campaign. He was the youngest ever business director at Lowes, and then helped launch Mustoes, where he worked with clients as diverse as Sony, Lever Brothers and Prudential. This is his first book.

Emma John

Emma John is a writer and editor on the GUARDIAN and the OBSERVER. She is a former deputy editor of OBSERVER SPORT MONTHLY and THE WISDEN CRICKETER and in 2008 she was the first woman to win a Sports Journalism Award. She is also a classical violinist and bluegrass fiddler.

Eric Idle

Eric Idle is a comedian, actor, author and singer-songwriter who found immediate fame on television with the sketch-comedy show MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS. Following its success, the Pythons began making films that include MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1975), MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN (1979) and THE MEANING OF LIFE (1983). Eric also wrote the award-winning musical SPAMALOT. He lives in Los Angeles.

Hannah Pakula

Hannah Pakula attended Wellesley College, the Sorbonne and Southern Methodist University. She is a book reviewer for the Los Angeles Times.

Hugh Thomson

Hugh Thomson's previous books include The White Rock: An Exploration of the Inca Heartland and Nanda Devi, a journey to a usually inaccessible part of the Himalayas. He has led many research expeditions to Peru. He is also a film-maker and has won many awards for his documentaries, which include Indian Journeys with William Dalrymple, and Dancing in the Street: A Rock and Roll History. He lives in Oxfordshire.

James Kynge

James Kynge has been a journalist in Asia for 19 years, covering many of the big events that have helped shape the region, including the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing and the bursting of the Japanese 'bubble' in the late 1980s. For seven years he was China Bureau Chief of the Financial Times in Beijing, and is now the Pearson Group's chief representative in China. He speaks Mandarin fluently and has visited every Chinese province. He has won a plethora of journalism awards. He graduated MA (hons) in Chinese and Japanese from Edinburgh University, lives in Beijing and is married with three children.

John Higgs

John Higgs is the author I HAVE AMERICA SURROUNDED: THE LIFE OF TIMOTHY LEARY, THE KLF: CHAOS, MAGIC AND THE BAND WHO BURNED A MILLION POUNDS and the novel THE BRANDY OF THE DAMNED. He lives in Brighton with his partner and their two children. www.johnhiggs.com@johnhiggs

Kevin McCloud

Kevin McCloud studied Art & Architecture at Cambridge, trained as a theatre designer, then set up his own design, lighting and manufacturing business. Today he concentrates on television work, journalism and product design. He is best known for his series Grand Designs and Grand Designs Abroad which have spawned a monthly magazine of the same name. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, an ambassador for WWF and has a number of honorary degrees and is second on the leaderboard .04 seconds behind Jay Kay on Top Gear's Star in a Reasonably priced Car.

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

Miranda France

Miranda France was born in 1966 and was brought up in East Anglia and Sussex. She read Spanish and Latin American Studies at Edinburgh University, which included a year in Madrid. In the early 1990s she lived in Brazil and Edinburgh and then Buenos Aires, and in 1996 she won the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize for a piece about her time in Buenos Aires. Her first book, BAD TIMES IN BUENOS AIRES, was published in 1998. She lives with her husband and young son in London.

Nicky Pellegrino

When Nicky Pellegrino's Italian father came to England he fell in love with and married a Liverpool girl. He brought to his new family his passion for food and instilled in them what all Italians know - that you live to eat instead of eating to live. This Italian mantra is the inspiration behind Nicky's delicious novels. When Nicky met and married a New Zealander she moved to Auckland where she works as a journalist and edits a woman's magazine.

Ramita Navai

Ramita Navai was born in Iran and grew up in London, but returned to live in Tehran in 2003. She spent three years as the Tehran correspondent for The Times, covering everything from the Bam earthquake to the escalating nuclear crisis. Since leaving Iran, she has worked as a reporter for Channel 4's primetime and award-winning foreign affairs series, Unreported World, and so far has made nineteen documentaries for the series. Ramita has also worked extensively as a journalist for the United Nations, covering crises in Iran, Pakistan and Iraq and has also written for many publications including the Sunday Times, Irish Times, Independent, Guardian and Marie-Claire and has recently started to blog about her work for the Huffington Post.

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.

Siobhan Horner

Siobhan Horner is a highly successful PR and marketing expert. She had a highly successful career in the travel industry before starting a family. Her favourite job was as Marketing Director for the New Zealand Tourism Board. She left to become a freelance marketer covering travel as well as non-travel brands such as NEW SCIENTIST magazine.

Steve Backshall

Born in 1973, Steve Backshall was brought up on a farm. He studied English at University before taking a second degree in Biology. He is the presenter of the top-rated CBBC natural history programme, DEADLY 60. After writing for ROUGH GUIDES and filming documentaries for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC he became a key member of the expedition team for the hit series, LOST LAND OF THE JAGUAR, LOST LAND OF THE VOLCANO and LOST LAND OF THE TIGER. Steve has also written several books for children.Steve's website is http://www.stevebackshall.com/, and you can follow him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stevebackshallofficial and Twitter @SteveJBackshall