Elizabeth Buchan began her career as a blurb writer and was greatly cheered when Iris Murdoch once wrote to her that blurb writing was a 'mini artform'. After a short period as a fiction editor, she began to write full time. To date, she has published nine novels, including the prize-winning Consider the Lily. Her stories have been published in a variety of magazines and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She has been the judge for the Whitbread Awards and the Betty Trask Award. The international best-selling success of Revenge of the Middle Aged Woman has been confirmation of her belief that, far from being downhill all the way, the past forty years are the most interesting and powerful.
Michael Buerk has reported on some of the biggest stories in our lifetime including the Birmingham pub bombing and Lockerbie. He was in Buenos Aires at the start of the Falklands War and his first report on the Ethiopian famine sent shock waves around the world. He has been the face of the BBC evening news for many years and has fronted everything from the BBC1 series 999 to Radio 4's The Moral Maze. Michael has won every major award and is universally admired and respected for his intelligent and honest journalism. What is less known is that he is also loved by his colleagues, not least for his wicked sense of humour.
Adele Parks always dreamed of being a writer and her first novel, Playing Away was published in 2000. Since then, Adele has proven to be one of our most-loved and biggest-selling women's fiction writers in the UK. She's published fifteen novels in fifteen years, all of which have been Times Top Ten bestsellers with over three million UK editions sold. Examining those undeniable, lasting issues that interest us all, she scrutinizes our theories of love, motherhood and infidelity with honesty and humour. She writes numerous articles and short stories for national magazines and newspapers and often appears on radio and TV talking about her work. Adele has spent her adult life in Italy, Botswana, Leicester and London, but now lives very happily in Guildford, with her husband and son.
Michael Rosen is one of the best-known figures in the children's book world, renowned for his work as a poet, performer, broadcaster and scriptwriter. He is the Children's Laureate 2007-2009. As an author and by selecting other writers' works for anthologies he has been involved with over 140 books. He lectures and teaches in universities on children's literature, reading and writing. Michael Rosen's writing for children appeals to all ages. He writes non-fiction, novels, picture books, retells classics and stories from other cultures as well as writing poetry. He has been shortlisted for and won many awards. His classic picture book We're Going on a Bear Hunt, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury won the Nestle Smarties Grand Prize in 1989.
Fay Weldon CBE is one of our best-loved writers. She has published over 20 novels including Down Among the Women, Female Friends, Praxis, Puffball, The Hearts and Lives of Men, Affliction, Worst Fears and Splitting. Last year, Fay published her autobiography Auto da Fay. Some of her most powerful writing is in the form of the short story and these are now published in four volumes: Watching Me Watching You, Polaris, Moon Over Minneapolis and The End of the Line. Fay has written numerous television plays and contributed to many series, including Upstairs Downstairs, Pride and Prejudice, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, and The Cloning of Joanna May.
Timothy West CBE, is one of our most admired and respected actors both on stage and television. Timothy has played roles as diverse as Edward VII and Thomas Beecham, Falstaff, Lear, Uncle Vanya, Stalin and Churchill and he became a household name in the TV series Brass. He is also President of LAMDA and the Society for Theatre Research. His autobiography, A Moment Towards the End of the Play, tells of his life as an actor and director of the Prospect Theatre Company.
Professor Max Lu is President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey. He is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, and is on the Boards of UKRI, the National Physical Laboratory, Universities UK, and the Leadership Council of the National Centre for Universities and Business. Locally, he also serves as Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey and a patron of the charity Transform. He is co-inventor of more than 20 granted international patents, and has been honoured with numerous awards including, recently, the Medal of the Order of Australia for his distinguished service to education and international research and to Australia–China relations.
Alistair Burtenshaw is Director of Watts Gallery – Artist’s Village. Alistair was previously Director of Charleston in East Sussex, the former home of Bloomsbury Group artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. During this time Alistair also led the development of the Charleston Festival and Small Wonder short story festival, as well as being instrumental in the foundation of the Charleston-to-Charleston Literary Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, its Keynes Prize and the Charleston Lifetime's Excellence Award in Short Fiction Award.
Alistair was for many years Director of The London Book Fair. He has also previously held the positions of Chair of Arvon, the UK's creative writing charity, Chair of BookTrust, the literacy and reader development charity, Executive Committee Member of English PEN, and Trustee of the Book Trade Charity.