Pietro Bartolo was born in Lampedusa sixty years ago to a family of fishermen and grew up working on his father's boat. He returned to Lampedusa after getting his medical degree, and has been running the clinic since 1991.
Sacha Batthyány was born in Switzerland in 1973 to Hungarian émigré parents. He was an editor at the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and is now a political reporter for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, based in Washington DC.
Quentin Blake was born in 1932. He went to Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School before studying English at Downing College, Cambridge. After National Service he did a postgraduate teaching diploma at the University of London, followed by life-classes at Chelsea Art School.
He is known for his collaboration with writers such as Russell Hoban, Joan Aiken, Michael Rosen, and Roald Dahl, as well as creating much-loved characters of his own, including Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage.
His books have won numerous prizes and awards, including the Whitbread Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Emil/Kurt Maschler Award and the international Bologna Ragazzi Prize. He won the 2002 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, the highest international recognition given to creators of children's books.
Described by The Guardian, as 'a national institution', in 1999 he was appointed the first ever Children's Laureate, a post designed to raise the profile of children's literature.
Joanna Bolouri worked in sales before she began writing professionally at the age of thirty. Winning a BBC comedy script competition allowed her to work and write with stand-up comedians, comedy scriptwriters and actors from across the UK. She's had articles and reviews published in The Skinny, the Scottish Sun, the Huffington Post and HecklerSpray. She lives in Glasgow with her daughter.
Adélaïde Bon is a French writer, actress and voice artist. She is graduate of the École Supérieure d'Art Dramatique in Paris, and she has acted in state theatres and for television, and devised and performed in numerous shows in factories, trains, museums, and conferences. In parallel, she completed five years of training on issues of gender equality under the auspices of a feminist company partnered with the European Association Against Violence Against Women and the Mémoire Traumatique association led by Dr Muriel Salmona. She lives in Paris, is married and has a son, and is part of a blended family. The Little Girl on the Ice Floe is her first book, published in France in March 2018.
Hilary Boyd trained as a nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital, then as a marriage guidance counselor. After a degree in English Literature at London University in her thirties, she moved into health journalism, writing a Mind, Body, Spirit column for the Daily Express. She published six non-fiction books on health-related subjects before turning to fiction and writing a string of bestsellers, starting with Thursdays in the Park. Hilary is married to film director/producer Don Boyd and lives near Chichester, West Sussex.
Hester Browne is the author of numerous bestselling novels including The Little Lady Agency in the Big Apple, The Finishing Touches and Swept Off Her Feet. She divides her time between London and Herefordshire.
Victoria Brownlee is a food writer and editor, currently based in Paris. She started writing about food over eight years ago, first as a blogger, and then as the Food & Drink Editor at 'Time Out Shanghai'. She has an MA (Publishing and Communications) from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and continues to write freelance articles on food trends across Europe. This is her first novel.
James Buchan is the author of several novels, including A Parish of Rich Women, which won the 1984 Whitbread Book of the Year award, and Heart's Journey in Winter which won the Guardian prize. He is also an outstanding literary critic and non-fiction writer whose works include a biography of Adam Smith, Frozen Desire: An Enquiry into the Meaning of Money and Captial of the Mind.