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.
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.