- Sonja Bajić was born in 1985 in Yugoslavia. While never leaving her street, she changed her country four times. Sonja uses the stories she hears, writes or loves to create all kinds of drawings and illustrations. Her architectural background is often reflected in her love for maps that she also draws on a daily basis. Today, after living in Serbia, Italy and Germany, Sonja works from Paris, France. She’s been up the Eiffel Tower 694 times.
- Lynn Berger (born 1984) is a writer for The Correspondent – the acclaimed Dutch unbreaking news platform – where she writes on culture, society and science, and often about the keywords and key experiences that shape our lives. She received her PhD in Communications from Columbia University in 2016. She now lives in Amsterdam. (Photo: Judith-van-Ijken)
- Dr Sharon Blackie is an award-winning writer of fiction and non-fiction, a psychologist who has specialised both in neuroscience and narrative, and a mythologist with a specialisation in Celtic Studies. Her unique approach to working with myth, fairy tales and folklore highlights the insights these traditions can offer us into authentic and meaningful ways of being which are founded on a deep sense of belonging to place, a rootedness in the land we inhabit. (Author photo: Gary Doak / Alamy Stock Photo)
- Heather Buttivant is a writer and educator who specialises in introducing people to the mysterious wildlife beneath the Cornish waves. Her popular blog, Cornish Rock Pools, won the BBC Wildlife Magazine Blog of the Year Award in 2017 and she has appeared on BBC Countryfile. Her career has included working for Friends of the Earth and the Open University and she is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has Masters degrees in Professional Writing and Environmental Policy, a tracksuit full of swimming badges and an ‘I love sea slugs’ t-shirt. When she isn’t crawling through seaweed wearing waders or running children's events for Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Heather likes to hide away and write.
Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi Casamitjana is a vegan zoologist specialising in animal behaviour, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research he has worked as an undercover investigator and animal welfare consultant. Jordi recently achieved notoriety for securing the legal protection of all UK ethical vegans from discrimination, in a landmark case that was discussed all over the world.
- Eve Claxton is a writer, editor and Peabody award-winning radio producer. She’s worked as editor and co-writer on many non-fiction books.
- Ronald J. Deibert is professor of Political Science and founder and director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto. The Citizen Lab undertakes interdisciplinary research at the intersection of global security, information and communications technologies, and human rights. The research outputs of the Citizen Lab are routinely covered in global media, including more than two dozen reports that received exclusive front-page coverage in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other global media over the last decade. Deibert is the author of Black Code: Surveillance, Privacy, and the Dark Side of the Internet, as well as numerous books, chapters, articles, and reports on internet censorship, surveillance and cybersecurity.
- Stephen Ellcock is a curator who has expanded his Facebook page into an online museum of images, visual delights, oddities and wonders drawn from every conceivable culture, era and corner of the globe.
- Barefoot at the Lake is veterinarian Bruce Fogle's first memoir. Best known as a prolific author of pet care books and travel narratives Bruce is Canadian by birth and has lived and worked in London since the sixties when there were still cows to be treated in West London dairies. He opened The London Vet Clinic forty years ago and has been treating generations of pets ever since. His pet-care guides with Dorling Kindersley have been published around the world, in multiple languages, making him the world’s bestselling pet-care author.
- Nyna Giles is the youngest daughter of Carolyn Scott Reybold. Nyna is chief operating officer for Giles Communications, a leading public relations company. She is also a tireless advocate for the mentally ill, having served as a vice president on the board of the Association for Mentally Ill Children of Westchester for ten years. She lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband.
- Vincent van Gogh (1853–90) was a junior clerk at an art firm, teacher, bookseller, student and preacher before he decided at the age of 27 to become an artist. He worked as an artist for just ten years and was virtually unknown throughout his life, but his work changed the history of art forever.
- Annie Gray is one of Britain’s leading food historians. She specialises in British food and dining from c.1650–1950, and works as a consultant, broadcaster, speaker and author. Her previous books include The Greedy Queen, Victory in the Kitchen and The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook. She is the resident food historian on BBC Radio 4’s culinary panel programme The Kitchen Cabinet and both consults for and appears in TV programmes such as Victorian Bakers and Victoria and Albert: The Wedding.
- David Ziggy Greene is the creator of Scene & Heard, the UK's only regularly published illustrated reportage as found in Private Eye magazine since 2011. He also publishes in Time Out and Charlie Hebdo.
- Sarah Guy has written about restaurants and shops, architecture and walks, for many years. For a decade she was the editor of the Time Out Guide to Eating & Drinking in London. She is the author of London for Dogs (2017) and London on Sea (2018). Bakeries and patisseries are dear to her heart. Whatever form they come in, she thinks they add to the joy of life in the most basic of ways.
- Andrew Hann is head of the historians team at English Heritage. He specialises in country houses and historic gardens and landscapes, with a focus on the 18th and 19th centuries. He is an economic and social historian, and has published on the history of shopping, urban and industrial change, slavery and the country house, and servant life. Andrew has worked on Audley End since 2007, and was the historical lead on the reinterpretation of the service wing and the live interpretation at Audley.
Joanne Harris MBE was born in Barnsley, studied Modern and Mediaeval Languages at Cambridge and was a teacher for fifteen years. She has written eighteen novels (including Chocolat, which was made into an Oscar-nominated film), two novellas, two collections of short stories, a Doctor Who novella, guest episodes for the game Zombies, Run!, the libretti for two short operas, several screenplays, a musical and three cookbooks. Her books are published in over fifty countries and have won a number of British and international awards. She is currently the Chair of the Society of Authors (SOA) and member of the Board of the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS). You can find her on Twitter @joannechocolat.
- Molly Hatch is the daughter of a farmer and painter. She spent her early childhood on an organic dairy farm where he created art from an early age. Working from her home studio, Molly began making her living as a full-time studio potter in 2008. Making contemporary ceramics inspired by history, Molly’s career as a studio potter quickly garnered a loyal following. Her designs have expanded beyond tableware to a wide range of lifestyle products, and Molly is actively growing her collections of home goods to bring modern yet traditional designs to the contemporary home. She designed her first collection for Anthropologie in 2010 and has designed over 400 products for them since. Her career has led to collaborations with institutions such as the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Clark Art Institute and the High Museum of Art Atlanta.
- John Howkins is a leading figure in the global understanding of work and creativity. He is the author of the seminal The Creative Economy, which has been translated into 14 languages. He was previously chief adviser to HBO and Time Warner and chair of The London Film School, CREATEC, Tornado and BOP. In 2006, the Shanghai government set up the John Howkins Research Centre on the Creative Economy. Howkins is a member of the United Nations Advisory Committee on the Creative Economy and advises governments on new concepts in work. He is in wide demand as a speaker and adviser on creativity and innovation, working with individuals, start-ups, companies and governments. Invisible Work is a visionary framework for the new reality from an author whose work has shaped business and government policy on creativity and innovation in Europe, China and South America.
- Marshall Julius is a veteran journalist, film critic, blogger, vlogger, author, broadcaster, collector and professional appreciator of all things geeky. When not reviewing for BBC Radio Oxford or YouTube’s Marshall at the Movies, he can mostly be found goofing around on Twitter.
- P. J. Kavanagh was a poet, writer, actor, broadcaster and columnist, born in 1931. The Perfect Stranger, awarded the Richard Hillary Memorial Prize in 1966, describes his early life. Poetry was his major occupation. His New Selected Poems came out in 2014, and earlier collections include Presences (1987), An Enchantment (1991) and Something About (2004). His Collected Poems was given the Cholmondeley Award in 1992. His columns for The Spectator and the Times Literary Supplement (he called them substitute poems) are collected in People and Places (1988) and A Kind of Journal (2003). His novel A Song and Dance won the 1968 Guardian Fiction Prize, and he wrote five more. A travel-autobiography Finding Connections traces his Irish forebears in New Zealand. P. J. died in August 2015 in the Cotswold hills, where he had come to live with his wife and two sons over forty years before. (Author photo © www.charlessturge.com)
- Angela Kiss is a writer and accountant. Born in Hungary, she has lived and worked in London for ten years. She has had three books published in Hungary, one of which was her memoir, One Way Ticket to London, which has been translated into English and self-published as an ebook.
- Grace Kitto is a TV producer who lives in Devon with her husband and son. Saving Grace is her first book - an early draft won the Mslexia Memoir Award 2014.
- Anthony Loyd, author of My War Gone By, I Miss It So, is an award-winning foreign correspondent who has reported from numerous conflict zones including the Balkans, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Chechnya. A former infantry officer, he left the British army after the first Gulf War and went to live in Bosnia, where he started reporting for The Times. My War Gone By, I Miss It So is his memoir of that conflict. Most recently, he was kidnapped, shot and then escaped while reporting in Syria.
- Alice Maddicott is a writer and artist from Somerset, England. Her work has spanned poetry, writing installations, children’s television scripts (The Large Family, The Clangers), travel and nature writing, including for Elsewhere Journal and the Waymaking anthology, as well as public art commissions such as The Car Boot Museum. For nearly two decades she has worked on creative education projects and run writing workshops with young people. She lives with two rescue cats, Tariel and Sindri, and Ptolemy the tortoise who she’s had for 35 years.
- Geoff Marshall is a freelance video producer, making transport films for Londonist and his own YouTube channel. He is a tour guide for Hidden London, taking people inside abandoned tube stations, and has twice held the world record for travelling to all Underground stations in the fastest time possible.
- S. I. Martin works with museums, archives and the education sector to bring diverse histories to wider audiences. He has published four books of historical fiction and non-fiction for adult and teenage readers. Steve founded the 500 Years of Black London Walks 20 years ago in response to the low profile given to the Black historical presence on the capital’s streets and has consistently encouraged and championed the provision of plaques, street names and street furniture to this end. He has worked with and for the Black Cultural Archives, National Maritime Museum, the V&A, Tate Britain, London Metropolitan Archives, National Portrait Gallery, the Horniman Museum, The National Archives, RAF Museum, the Wellcome Trust and many others. He regularly provides workshops and sessions for heritage institutions, schools, borough councils and community groups across the country. He lives in south London.
A director of the museum-making company Metaphor, Rachel Morris has been part of the creation, design and delivery of some of the most exciting displays, renovations and museums of the last few decades, from the new Cast Courts at the V&A and the Ashmolean, Oxford to the Terracotta Warriors at the British Museum and Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Rachel is also the author of two novels. @MoMarcoPolo
- Ashley Neese is a breathwork teacher and writer. She has studied with some of the world’s leading masters in yoga, meditation, medical intuition and somatic therapy. Her private sessions, workshops, and lifestyle journal guide spirit seekers toward living with their hearts wide open. Ashley works with clients all over the world, including BuzzFeed and WeWork, and has been featured in Goop, Elle Japan, Vogue, Well + Good, MindBodyGreen and the Nourished Journal.
- Christopher Nicholson is the author of three novels, including The Elephant Keeper, which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and Encore Prize, and Winter, described by Alison Lurie in the New York Review of Books as ‘one of the most dramatically convincing and moving Famous Writer Novels I have ever read.’ He has lived near Shaftesbury in Dorset for the past thirty years.
Michael Ohajuru is a Senior Fellow of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies with honours degrees in Physics and Art History. Michael blogs, writes and speaks regularly on the black presence in Renaissance Europe and has spoken at the British Library, National Archives and the V&A on the subject. He is the founder of Image of the Black in London Galleries and is the originator and project director for The John Blanke Project. He is the co-convener of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies What’s Happening in Black British History series of workshops and is also co-convenor the Institute of Historical Research Black British History seminar programme. He lives in south London.
- Emma Parry is a literary agent who believes any good book begins with asking the right questions.
- Simon Phipps is a photographer and the creator of the New Brutalism collection of photography on Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter. He is a graduate in sculpture from The Royal College of Art. He grew up in Milton Keynes where his parents were architects involved in the design of the city.
- Vicki Pipe is an artist, improviser, presenter, YouTuber and now author. In 2017 Vicki travelled to every railway station in Great Britain with her partner Geoff Marshall. They filmed the entire experience, sharing vlogs on YouTube – watched by more than 5 million people – posting images on Instagram and engaging with the public on Facebook and Twitter. Her interest in the railways lies with the stories of people, social change and how the railways impact on our sense of space and surroundings. For the past 11 years Vicki has worked in museum education. From medieval knights in castles, body snatchers in graveyards to bus drivers on the Western Front and civil war in Somalia, Vicki has collaborated on projects with hundreds of people to uncover, interpret and share the stories of the past, present and future.
- Jim Richards became obsessed with finding gold and diamonds in his teens. He went on to be closely involved in numerous mineral discoveries around the world. This includes the Omai gold deposit in Guyana, which became the largest gold mine in South America, and the Railway iron ore deposit in Western Australia, which was acquired by BHP Billiton in 2010 for A$204 million. He has founded a string of successful mining businesses and is today one of the industry’s leading executives. Currently, Jim is executive chairman of an Australian publicly listed minerals corporation. Prior to his prospecting, geology and mining career, Jim served in the British Army Parachute Regiment, with operational experience in Northern Ireland. He was educated at Goldsmiths College, University of London (Geology) and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Jim lives in Perth, Western Australia.
- Ways to Walk in London is Alice Stevenson's first book. A London-based illustrator, artist, surface pattern designer and educator, Alice’s work explores and visualise ideas and narratives through playful treatment of colour, texture and composition. Alice has been commissioned by a wide range of international clients including: Crabtree and Evelyn, Leo Burnett, Stella magazine, Kellogg’s, Faber & Faber, University of Sussex, Volvo, Vodafone, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Vogue, Hugo Boss, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and St Jude’s. Her set of London Perspectives Colouring Postcards, taken from Ways to Walk in London, will be available from February 2016.
- Emily Stott is a freelance fashion journalist and personal stylist. She has been a mystery shopper for fifteen years during which time she has also worked for Thomas Pink. She says the hardest working item in her wardrobe is her heat tech vest – and the moth repellent. Emily lives in Battersea, London, with her son.
- Corinne Sweet is a broadcaster, screenwriter, psychologist and psychotherapist and author of over fourteen books. These include popular psychology books, such as Change Your Life with CBT, The Mindfulness Journal and The Anxiety Journal, and the bestselling memoirs she has ghosted, Sixty Years a Nurse and Deliver Me from Evil. She is the Chair of the Book Committee of the Writers’ Guild and her books have been translated into over twenty languages.
- Mark Thomas is one of the UK’s most effective and best-known political performers. He has won awards for his stage and human rights work, ranging from the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award to a Sony Award for Radio Comedy AND was one time Guinness World Record holder for the most demonstrations in one day. He has written and presented six series of the Mark Thomas Comedy Product for Channel 4 and five series of The Manifesto for Radio 4. He is the author of five books on subjects as diverse as the arms trade, Coca-Cola and the Israeli Wall in the West Bank. His work has changed the law, kiboshed politicians’ careers and has been performed across the world.
- Linda Wilkinson was born on Columbia Road, in east London, and attended Central Foundation Grammar School, Spitalfields. After working in the field haematology in the laboratories of the Royal Free and Whitechapel hospitals, Linda moved into medical research, becoming the scientist and manager in charge of the Rheumatology Unit at University College London. Here she worked with Professor Jo Edwards and his team on experiments which led to the identification of the cells which line the human joint, opening the way to future targeted therapies for arthritis. Her involvement with HIV and its consequences led Linda to be involved with lobbying bodies such as Stonewall and Amnesty International, of which she was the UK chair for six years. In 2001 she and her partner were the first to sign the Greater London Authority’s Partnership Register, which paved the way for same sex marriage. Since retirement Linda has focused on writing, local history and creative community work. She still lives in Bethnal Green.
- Conor Woodman has been a producer, reporter and presenter in factual television for many years. His series include Scam City, Around the World in 80 Trades, Watchdog and, most recently, Hunting Nazi Treasure. He has written two previously books, The Adventure Capitalist and Unfair Trade, which was long listed for the Orwell prize. True Appaloosa, his first feature length documentary film, premiered at the Sun Valley Film Festival in 2015 and aired on BBC4 as The Secret Horse to wide critical acclaim.