Lorna Gray

who studied Fine Art at Aberystwyth University, and Jeremy Brookes own Crumps Barn Studio, a Cotswolds-based publisher. All their publications are bound at their studio and the techniques used in the binding process are not dissimilar to those used by manufacturers in Jane Austen’s day, when the popular novel first became mass-produced. Recent titles include The Harcombe Year by Di Alexander, Keiller the Cathedral Cat by Jane Phillips and illustrated by Lorna Gray, and a delightful array of fascinating local histories. Lorna is also an experienced Archaeological illustrator, her work appearing in both national and regional journals.
Mary Cutler

was born in Birmingham and has always lived there apart from her time at University in Cambridge. She has been a scriptwriter for the Archers for thirty-five years. This makes her the longest serving writer on the longest running soap in the world. She pushed Nigel off the roof and more recently gave Jill a vision of Doris Archer. Other work in radio includes five adaptations of Lindsey Davis’s bestselling Roman detective novels featuring Falco, and her own series Three Women for BBC Radio 4. Happy with her literary career so far, she still has a secret yearning to write a novel.

William Pryor

Gwen Raverat’s grandson, manages Raverat Ltd, which was set up to manage and market the remaining contents of the archive of Gwen’s original prints. Author of Virginia Woolf and the Raverats (2004), William was born in Farnborough where his landed-gentry entomologist father was sticking Mosquito aircraft together with the epoxy resin glue he invented. War over, the family moved back to Cambridge and William, age twelve, was sent away to Eton. In 1963, he went up to Trinity to read Moral Sciences. Beckett, Coltrane, Ferlinghetti, Ornette, Camus, Burroughs, Mingus, Ginsberg and Dada-ism were at the centre of his life and he joined a group of trainee beatniks that met at El Patio, the Criterion, the Old Mill, Millers Jazz Club and in furtive college rooms. Syd Barrett floated about with his guitar. Several months in a garret in Paris in a mist of Morning Glory hallucinogens convinced William he was a genius. Heroin addiction eventually got him sacked from Trinity. It lasted 12 years. He came close to death several times before finally getting straight in 1975. He founded Airlift Book Company, market leader in the distribution of US books in Europe; the Green Catalogue, Europe’s first environmental goods mail order business; Arq Web developers; pioneered the concept of niche aggregation of music on the Web; and Clear Press, a publisher of non-fiction. He had two books of poetry published in the 70s and 80s, and a memoir of his addictions in 2003, The Survival of the Coolest, which he has adapted into a fictional screenplay, Cool, which is in development. He has been a regular speaker at seminars and conventions, in particular at the addiction conference he established in 2006, Unhooked Thinking.
Lyndall Gordon FRSL

Senior Research Fellow at St Hilda’s College, was born in Cape Town to a mother whose mysterious illness confined her for years to life indoors. She was a child who grew to know life through books, story-telling and her mother’s own writings. It was an exciting, precious world, pure and rich in dreams and imagination, untainted by the demands of reality. Lyndall studied history and English in Cape Town, then nineteenth-century American literature at Columbia in New York. In 1973 she came to England through the Rhodes Trust. For many years she was a tutor and lecturer in English at Oxford. Her biographies include Eliot’s Early Years (1977 awarded Rose Mary Crawshay prize by The British Academy), and the sequel, Eliot’s New Life (published at the time of the poet’s centenary 1988). The two books have been rewritten as one, The Imperfect Life of T.S. Eliot. She is also author of Henry James: His Women and His Art and the revised editions of Virginia Woolf: A Writer’s Life (awarded the James Tait Black prize for biography), and Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life (Cheltenham prize for literature) and Shared Lives, a memoir of women’s friendship in her native South Africa. ‘A biographer with soul’ The Guardian

Roger Turner

is an architect and a garden designer whose design for the 1983 Chelsea Flower Show won The Sunday Times contest. He also designed two of the theme gardens and pavilions at the Garden Festival in South Wales in 1992. His other books include Better Garden Design (1986) and a monograph: Euphorbias (1995) He lectures widely on related subjects and contributes to Hortus and The English Garden.

Roma Tearne

a Sri Lankan-born novelist and film-maker, gained her master’s degree at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford and is currently an AHRC Fellow at Oxford Brookes University. Her other novels include Mosquito (2008 shortlisted Costa first book award), Bone China, and The Road to Urbino. She has been shortlisted for the Kirimaya & LA Times book prize and long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2011 and, in 2012, the Asian Man Booker. In April Roma is Writer in Residence at the Imperial War Museum archives, and on 24th October she is to create on the beach at Aldeburgh pieces of installation art and sound directly influenced by the story of the The Last Pier and its setting.
‘Tearne charts the patterns of love and loss with beautiful prose’ The Times
Suzanna Hart and Philip Worth

are respectively daughter and husband of the late Jennifer Worth author of Call the Midwife, the number one bestselling true story of the East End in the 1950s. It is now into a fourth BBC 1 period drama series.

Oggy Boytchev

made a dramatic escape from behind the Iron Curtain in Bulgaria in 1968. Shortly after arriving in London he joined the BBC World Service as a newsreader for the Bulgarian Section. Since the late eighties Oggy has been a producer of television news reports and documentaries from more than forty countries and has covered the majority of International conflicts. He is author of Simpson and I: Between Two Worlds (2014) ‘a factual thriller about the highly competitive world of international journalism.’

Susan Walker

read English Literature at London University. She is an Accredited Business Communicator, Fellow of the Institute of Internal Communication and the RSA. Susan’s career began writing and editing company publications before moving to Thomson Holidays as internal communication manager for six years directing the whole range of employee communication activities. She was then invited to join the research firm MORI to head the employee research practice and here she directed studies for a wide range of major organisations in both the private and public sectors. A few years ago she left to run her own business ranging from advising on ways to refresh and renew existing research programmes to developing and running qualitative and quantitative studies. She has presented many topics at conferences and events, and is author of Employee Engagement and Communication Research (2012)

Shaun Attwood

arrived in Arizona a penniless business graduate from a small industrial town in Northwest England. He made millions as a day trader during the bubble but he also headed an organisation that distributed Ecstasy and was jailed. He read over a thousand books in just under six years. By studying psychology and philosophy, he sought to better understand himself and his past behaviour. His writing smuggled out of the jail attracted international media attention, which led to him becoming an author. Now he is also a public speaker and yogi. He campaigns against injustice via his books Party Time, Hard Time, Prison Time and a self help book Lessons, and his blog . He has appeared on the BBC, Sky News and TV worldwide to talk about issues affecting prisoners’ rights.
‘a fast-paced easy style’ Hackney Hive
Denis MacShane

born in Glasgow in 1948 to an Irish mother and Polish father, read history at Merton College Oxford and has a PhD in International Economics Birkbeck, University of London. Youngest ever president of the National Union of Journalists, he is a former BBC Radio Birmingham producer and was sub-editor in the newsroom of the BBC World Service. Elected MP for Rotherham in 1994, he was Minister of State for Europe 2002-5. In 2009, the BNP made a complaint about the £12,900 he had claimed for networking in Europe. Found guilty of breaking Commons rules, his parliamentary career ended in 2012. He was charged with false accounting to which he pleaded guilty, and sent to Belmarsh and, later Brixton Prison. He is author of Prison Diaries (2014) and is a regular contributor to openDemocracy.
Maggie Gee OBE

for services to literature 2012, was educated at state schools and Somerville College, Oxford where she completed two degrees in English. Fellow and Vice-President of the Royal Society of Literature, she has been a member of the Society of Authors’ Committee of Management and the government Public Lending Right committee, and was from 2004-2008 the first female Chair of Council of the Royal Society of Literature. She is now one of its Vice Presidents. She is Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University and Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her first published novel was Dying, in Other Words (1981). In 1982 she was selected as one of the original 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists’ and became Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia. Her other eleven novels include The White Family (2002), shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the 2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In 2006 she published a collection of short stories, The Blue, and the novel My Cleaner (2005), and My Driver (2009). In 2011 she published her memoir, My Animal Life, and in 2014 the novel Virginia Woolf in Manhattan. Her work has been translated into fourteen languages.
Louisa Treger

studied the violin at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a freelance orchestral player and teacher before turning to literature, gaining a First Class degree and a PhD in English at UCL, where she focused on early twentieth century women’s writing. The Lodger is her first novel.
Mary Hamer

educated at Oxford, taught at Cambridge for twenty years. Rudyard Kipling lit her imagination as a child and eight years ago she began to research the dangerous lives of Rudyard Kipling and his sister, Trix, believing only fiction could do justice to their story. Kipling & Trix, her fifth book and first novel, won the Virginia Prize for Fiction. She travels widely and has lectured in many countries. Her work has appeared in the Economist, the Guardian and the Independent. She has contributed to television and radio programmes, such as In Search of Cleopatra, Women’s Hour and Night Waves.
Jane Robinson

read English at Somerville College, Oxford, and was in the antiquarian book trade in London before her first book Wayward Women. She is now a lecturer and writer specialising in social history through women’s eyes. Her broadcasting highlights include BBC One’s The One Show, and Radio 4’s Women’s Hour and Excess Baggage. She contributes articles to – amongst others – The Times, The Independent, The Times Literary Supplement, and Nursing Standard. Her other books include Bluestockings (2009) and A Force to be Reckoned With, which she presented to a delighted Chipping Campden audience in 2014 and In The Family Way (2015).
Lee Jackson

‘I’m a little obsessed with the social history of Victorian London’ is editor of A Dictionary of Victorian London (2006), and author of Walking Dickens’ London (2012) and Dirty Old London: The Victorian Fight Against Filth (2014) and of seven historical crime novels including the Inspector Webb series. He is also the creator of the preeminent website on Victorian London and with over 11k followers has ‘a shameless addiction to twitter.’ And includes in his profile: ’failed librarian… idiot pauper’.
Jules Pretty OBE

is Professor of Environment and Society at the University of Essex, where he is currently Deputy Vice-Chancellor. He is a Fellow of the Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Arts, and has served on advisory committees for a number of government departments and the Royal Society. He lived in Nigeria until he was six years old, and his experiences of growing up on the edge of the Sahel and then “running free-range as a kid” in Suffolk nurtured his interest in nature and the environment. His previous books include This Luminous Coast (2011), The Earth Only Endures (2007), and The Edge of Extinction: Travels with Enduring People in Vanishing Lands (2014)

Patrick Gale

was born on the Isle of Wight. He spent his infancy at Wandsworth Prison, which his father governed, then grew up in Winchester before going to Oxford University. He now lives on a farm near Land’s End in Cornwall. His fifteen novels include A Perfectly Good Man and Notes From an Exhibition – both of which were Richard and Judy Bookclub selections, The Whole Day Through and Rough Music and A Place Called Winter (2015)
Stephen Jarvis

following graduate studies at Oxford University, quickly tired of his office job and began doing unusual things every weekend and writing about them for The Daily Telegraph. These activities included learning the flying trapeze, walking on red-hot coals, getting hypnotised to revisit past lives, and entering British Snuff-Taking Championships. Death and Mr Pickwick (2015) is his first novel.
Peter Stanford

editor of the Catholic Herald (1988-1992), writes for The Daily and Sunday Telegraphs, The Independent and the Observer. He has presented award winning television and radio documentaries and has appeared as a regular panelist on the BBC’s The Moral Maze, Vice or Virtue? and FutureWatch. His biography of Lord Longford was the basis for Channel 4’s 2006 multi-award winning drama, Longford and he is the director of the Longford Trust for penal reform. His other books (translated into eleven languages) include biographies of C Day-Lewis, Bronwen Astor, and Cardinal Basil Hume. His writings on religion include The Devil: A Biography, Heaven: A Traveller’s Guide, The She-Pope:The Legend of Pope Joan, The Extra Mile: a look at pilgrimage in the 21st century and How To Read A Graveyard: Journeys in the Company of the Dead.
Mark Nixon

is Associate Professor in Modern Literature at the University of Reading, where he is also Director of the Beckett International Foundation. He is editor in chief of the Journal of Beckett Studies and Co-Director of the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project, and the current President of the Samuel Beckett Society. He has published widely on Beckett’s work; his most recent publication is the critical edition of Beckett’s short story Echo’s Bones which remained unpublished until 2014.

Nora Connolly

member of The Irish Literary Society, trained at the Abbey Theatre Dublin. In 1991 she directed & designed the set for an all women production of Waiting For Godot in Galway & then took it to Dublin. She has performed at The National Theatre. Bristol Old Vic and many regional theatres in classic Irish plays by O’Casey, Synge and most recently Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane. She has devised and performed in literary events celebrating James Joyce for Bloomsday and W.B. Yeats. She has taken her own one woman poetry show Going West to the Prague Fringe Festival.

Louisa Hare

set up a small publishing business nearly 30 years ago that perfectly reflected her dual interest in literature and the Fine Arts, having studied both. From the outset Louisa has always used Letterpress: the time honoured, hands on, direct method of printing from blocks and metal type. Best known for the flagship range of internationally distributed Shakespeare postcards, Louisa’s business, First Folio Cards, continues to flourish.
Sir Robert Worcester KBE, DL

chair of the Magna Carta 2015 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee, was educated at the University of Kansas. Among many other appointments he was Chancellor of the University of Kent (2007-14). He is an Honorary Fellow of the LSE and of Kings College London. As founder of MORI, Sir Robert is a well known figure in British public opinion research. His interest in the Magna Carta began when, as an American, on his first visit to the country of his ancestors, he went to gaze with awe at the British Library copy of the Charter.
Anthony Musson FRHS and LL.M

from Lancaster University, was educated at, and has a doctorate from, King’s College Cambridge. He is Professor of Legal History, University of Exeter, and Barrister of the Middle Temple. As a leading expert on the Magna Carta, he has contributed to the commemorative volume: Magna Carta: The Foundation of Freedom, 1215-2015. Anthony has published extensively in the field of medieval legal history and legal culture. His other work includes contributions to BBC Radio 4’s The Long View and BBC 2/The History Channel’s Emmy award-winning Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives, and he has worked with actors from the Elysium Theatre Company as part of the RSC’s (Open Stage) scheme’s project.
Robert Tombs

Professor of French History at Cambridge University, is a leading scholar of Anglo-French relations – an Englishman with Irish connections who has spent a life studying France. Of his new book The English and Their History (2014) he writes in the Introduction, ‘Had I been a life-long English specialist, I doubt I would have had the nerve to try it.’ His other books include The Paris Commune 1871 (1999) and, co-written with his wife Isabelle, the acclaimed That Sweet Enemy: The French and the British from the Sun King to the Present (2006)

Peter Hennessey

Fellow of the British Academy, was educated at grammar school in Stroud, St John’s, Cambridge, the LSE, and was Kennedy Scholar, Harvard 1971-2. He is Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History at Queen Mary, University of London. He was a journalist for twenty years with spells on The Times, The Financial Times and The Economist and as a presenter of the BBC Radio 4 Analysis programme. He sits as an independent crossbench Peer in the House of Lords as Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield. His many books include Distilling the Frenzy: Writing the History of One’s Own Times (one of IoS Books of the Year 2012) Having It So Good (winner of Orwell Prize 2007), and The Secret State (2002), His personal essay The Establishment and Meritocracy (dedicated to the memory of Michael Foot) was published in 2014

Roger McGough

newly elected President of the Poetry Society, has been honoured with a CBE for services to literature and the Freedom of the City of Liverpool ‘for good behavior.’ His autobiography Said And Done (2005) explores his overnight fame with Lily The Pink, The Scaffold, and Yellow Submarine which he helped write for the Beatles. He was part of The Mersey Sound with Adrian Henri & Brian Patten and is presenter of the long-running BBC Radio 4 Poetry Please. Author of many books of poetry including As Far as I Know (2012)’rueful, unpredictable observation to please the sharpest wits’ The Independent ‘He is a true original and more than one generation would be much the poorer without him’ The Times.

are a trio featuring guitar-playing composer, arranger and singer Walter Wray, multi-instrumentalist, poet and composer Steve Halliwell and poet and musician Chris Hardy. Formed in 2009 LiTTLe MACHiNe have performed at literary festivals from York to Dubai. Drawing on three thousand years of poetry – Sappho, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Blake, Byron, Eliot, Larkin and many more – they set classic poems to music and perform them with passion, skill and humour.

‘The most brilliant music and poetry band in the world.’ Carol Ann Duffy
‘They make you laugh and break your heart.’ Gillian Clarke – National Poet of Wales
Susan Tomes

born in Edinburgh, was the first woman to study music at King’s College, Cambridge. An international award-winning performer and recording artist, she was awarded the Cobbett Medal for Distinguished services to chamber music in 2013. For fifteen years she was the pianist of Domus, and for seventeen of the Florestan Trio. Her books are Beyond the Notes (2004) Out of Silence (2010) A Musicians Alphabet (2006) and Sleeping in Temples (2014). She also gives master classes, writes and presents radio programmes on music, and sits on international competition juries.