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.
Massimo Ciancimino was born in Palermo in 1963. He is the youngest son of Vito Ciancimino, and was barely eighteen when he was chosen by his father to be his aide and therefore initiated directly into the double life of the 'Mayor of the Corleones': a world that he was part of until his arrest on the 6th June 2006. Francesco La Licata is a journalist who has written for the Stampa since 1980. He recently collaborated with the national anti-mafia prosecutor, Pietro Grasso, to write Pizzini, veleni e cicoria: La mafia prima e dopo Provenzano (Feltrinelli 2008). N.S. Thompson is a poet, critic, and translator of Italian. Born in Manchester, he now lives and works in Oxford, UK, where he teaches literature at Christ Church.
Ken Jones is from Shropshire. He is a former soldier who served with the Parachute Regiment and various elements of UK Special Forces. Ken is a motivational speaker as well as an avid outdoorsman, mountaineer, competitive road cycle racer and founder of Avalanche Events. He lives in San Diego and Brecon, Wales.
Tobias Jones is the author of four non-fiction books, Blood on the Altar, The Dark Heart of Italy, Basilitica and Utopian Dreams; and the Castagnetti crime trilogy, The Salati Case, White Death and Death of a Showgirl. He has worked as a journalist in Britain for the London Review of Books, the Independent on Sunday and the Observer; and in Italy, producing two political documentary series for the Italian state broadcaster RAI 3. He lives at Windsor Hill Wood in Somerset with his wife and three children where he runs a working farm refuge.
Born in 1974 in Montpellier in France, Mathias Malzieu is an established bestselling writer, as well as the lead singer of French pop group Dionysos. His international bestseller The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart has sold over 1 million copies around the world, and was turned into an animated feature film by Luc Besson. He has written 4 other novels. He has been described by Iggy Pop as 'Francois Truffaut with a rock 'n' roll band'.
Judith Newman is the author of You Make Me Feel Like an Unnatural Woman. She is a columnist for the New York Times Book Review and a regular contributor to the New York Times Style Section. She writes a humour column for Prevention, and also writes for National Geographic, Allure, Vanity Fair and many other publications. She and her sons live in Manhattan.
Cees Nooteboom was born in The Hague in 1933, and now lives in Amsterdam and on the island of Minorca. He is a poet, a novelist and a travel writer whose books include Rituals (1983), The Following Story (1994), Roads to Santiago (1997) and All Souls' Day (2001).
Daniel Pennac was born in 1944 in Morocco. He was a teacher before becoming a writer of books for children and a series of hugely successful humorous novels. A continued interest in education and social affairs led to his book The Rights of the Reader, and thereafter to School Blues, for which he won the Prix Renaudot.
Katie Piper is a TV presenter and charity campaigner. In 2008 she survived an attack and her moving, BAFTA-nominated Channel 4 documentary Katie: My Beautiful Face was watched by 3.5 million viewers and shown in more than 15 countries. Katie founded her own charity, The Katie Piper Foundation, to help people living with burns and scars and she has received numerous awards and accolades for her charity work, including a prestigious Woman of the Year Award. She is now a presenter on Channel 4 and the author of six books: Confidence, Beautiful, Beautiful Ever After, Things Get Better, Start Your Day with Katie and From Mother to Daughter publishing in March 2018. Keep up to date with Katie! Twitter @KatiePiper_Instagram @katiepiper_ www.facebook.com/katiepiperofficialwww.katiepiperandyou.co.uk
Eva Rice has written three novels and one non-fiction book. She is married to a musician and has three children. She lives in London.
Peter Stanford's previous investigations into the history, theology, enduring appeal and cultural significance of religious ideas include Martin Luther: Catholic Dissident; Judas: The Troubling History of the Renegade Apostle; The Devil - A Biography; Heaven - A Traveller's Guide to the Undiscovered Country; and The She-Pope, an investigation of the Pope Joan legend. His other books include biographies of Bronwen Astor, Lord Longford and the Poet Laureate, C Day-Lewis, plus the polemical Catholics and Sex that became an award-winning Channel 4 series in 1992. He is a senior features writer at the Daily and Sunday Telegraph titles, and contributes to the Independent, the Observer, the Daily Mail and the Catholic weekly, the Tablet, where he is a columnist. He has presented programmes on BBC 1, Channel 4 and Channel 5, as well as BBC Radios 2 and 4 and the BBC World Service.
Lidia Tilotta is a journalist of RAI Regional News and of Mediterraneo.
Lol Tolhurst is a musician, performer and writer. He is best known as a founding member of the band that virtually invented alternative music, The Cure. Formed in 1976, The Cure is one of the most influential, successful and critically acclaimed bands of its generation.As The Cure's drummer Lol toured the globe many times over, supporting the ground-breaking albums 'Three Imaginary Boys', 'Seventeen Seconds', 'Faith' and 'Pornography'. He took on keyboard duties in the mid-eighties until his departure from the band in 1989, at the time of their masterwork 'Disintegration'.In the early nineties Lol relocated to Southern California where he continues to write, record and tour with his own band Levinhurst. More recently, 2011 saw a momentous reunion tour with his former band mates and Lol performed with The Cure for the first time in over twenty years.
Born and raised on a south London council estate, Dave Wardell has always loved dogs. The family dog, Jess - actually his father's dog, and also a German Shepherd - was a constant companion. As a small boy, Dave could often be found curled up with her at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for his father's return home from work - something that continued long after his untimely death just before Dave's first birthday.Dave joined the police force in 2003, and trained as a dog handler in 2009. Since then, led by Finn, who was his crime-fighting partner for seven years, he's tracked murderers and rapists, burglars and missing persons, car thieves and assault suspects.Dave is married to Gemma, and they have three young daughters; Jaymee, Tia, and India. Plus six dogs, one kitten and a parrot.
Lindy West is a Seattle-based writer and performer whose work focuses on pop culture, feminism, social justice, humour and body image. Currently a weekly columnist at the Guardian and culture writer for GQ magazine, she was previously one of the most popular and prolific writers at feminist blog Jezebel.com. Lindy's articles typically generate thousands of shares and retweets. In January 2015 her exposure was magnified by a segment aired on US national radio in which she confronted an internet troll who'd impersonated her dead father. The podcast and ensuing article went viral and were shared more than 85,000 times worldwide, gaining Lindy countless new followers. As a live performer and commentator, Lindy has made numerous appearances on radio and TV, and regularly speaks at academic events, conferences and literary festivals. In 2013, she won a Social Media Award from NYC's Women's Media Center, was selected for the Nation's top ten feminist articles of the year and New Statesman's top 20 best online pieces of the year, and was profiled by Cosmopolitan magazine.
Clare & Greg Wise were born and raised in the north of England.She read books, he fell out of trees.She excelled at school, he hid when the end-of-term Report came.She got a Double First in History at university. He did two Degrees - one where you spend your time drawing, the other where you pretend to be someone else.Oddly, as adults, they both found themselves in the film business: she at the UK Film Council and then Vice President of Universal Pictures, he pretending to be someone else.They lived in the same street until her death in 2016.