Jim Shepard is the National Book Award-finalist and highly acclaimed author of seven novels and five collections of stories, including The Book of Aron and Like You'd Understand, Anyway. He lives in Massachusetts with his family and teaches creative writing at the historic liberal arts establishment Williams College. Widely acclaimed as one of the US's finest writers, The World to Come is the first collection of his short stories to be published in the UK.
Kim Sherwood was born in Camden in 1989. She studied on the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia, going on to teach creative writing at UEA and the University of Sussex. Kim's stories and articles have appeared in numerous journals, including Mslexia, Lighthouse, and Going Down Swinging. The manuscript of her debut novel, Testament, won the 2016 Bath Novel Award.Kim began writing Testament in 2011 after her grandfather, the actor George Baker, passed away. In the same year, Kim's grandmother began to talk about her experiences as a Holocaust Survivor for the first time. These events provided seeds for a story that grew as Kim undertook research into the events of the Holocaust in Hungary, and as extremism rose again across Europe. Kim lives in Bath. She is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of the West of England and runs creative writing sessions for prisoners with Mass Observation Archive. Testament is her first novel.
Mikhail Shishkin (Author)Born in 1961 in Moscow, Mikhail Shishkin is one of the most prominent names in contemporary Russian literature, and is the only author to have won all three major Russian Literary Prizes. He lives in Zurich.Andrew Bromfield (Translator)Andrew Bromfield has been translating from Russian for more than twenty years, with a particular focus on modern literature since the demise of the USSR. A founding editor of the journal Glas: New Russian Writing, his numerous translations include the works of Victor Pelevin and Boris Akunin. Prior to Taking Izmail, he has also translated Mikhail Shishkin's The Light and the Dark.
Mona Siddiqui joined the University of Edinburgh's Divinity school in December 2011 as the first person to hold a chair in Islamic and Interreligious Studies. She also holds the posts of Assistant Principal for Religion and Society and Dean international for the Middle-East. Amongst her most recent publications are Hospitality in Islam: Welcoming in God's Name; My Way: A Muslim Woman's Journey; Christians, Muslims and Jesus; and The Good Muslim: Reflections on Classical Islamic Law and Theology. She is a regular commentator in the media on issues around religion, ethics and public life, known especially for her appearances on BBC Radio's Thought for the Day. In 2011, she was awarded an OBE for her contribution to interfaith services and is listed in the Debretts top 500 most influential people in the UK.
Dan Simmons is an outstanding commercial talent. He has won the Hugo award, the World Fantasy Award, the Locus award (three times) and the Bram Stoker award. He lives in Colorado.Dan Simmons was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1948, and grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest. He received his Masters in Education from Washington University in St. Louis in 1971. He worked in elementary education for eighteen years, winning awards for his innovative teaching, and became a full-time writer in 1987. Dan lives in Colorado with his wife, Karen, and has a daughter in her twenties. His books are published in twenty-nine counties and many of them have been optioned for film.
Ida Simons (1911-1960) was a writer and a pianist, whose successful career came to an end with the German invasion. She was deported to Westerbork and Theresienstadt, along with her family. After the war, she gave more concerts, and then began to write. A Foolish Virgin was first published in 1959, and was highly regarded at the time. Unfortunately, her work sank into oblivion after her untimely death, but since its rediscovery in 2014 it has been translated into twenty-two languages and published widely.
Dennis Skinner is the son of a miner sacked after the 1926 General Strike. Skinner, to the distress of his mother, and despite a Grammar School education, followed his dad down the pit. He was a Clay Cross and Derbyshire councillor before winning Bolsover for Labour in 1970, a seat he's held ever since. A former chairman of Labour, current member of the party's ruling National Executive Committee, Skinner's Parliamentary heckles and interventions are legendary. He was expelled so often from the Commons that suspension became an occupational hazard.
Angela Slatter is the award-winning author of eight short story collections, including A Feast of Sorrows: Stories, Sourdough and Other Stories, The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, and Winter Children and Other Chilling Tales. She has won the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award and five Aurealis Awards. Her short stories have appeared widely, including in annual British, Australian and North American Best Of anthologies, and her work has been translated into Spanish, Russian, Polish, Romanian, and Japanese. Vigil was her first solo novel, and the sequel Corpselight is due out in July 2017. Angela lives in Brisbane, Australia.
Zanna Sloniowska was born in 1978 in Lviv and is a journalist and translator. She now lives in Kraków. She is the first winner of the Znak Publishers' Literary Prize, for which her novel was chosen from among over a thousand entries. In 2016, Zanna Sloniowska won the Conrad Award, the Polish award for first novels.
The late Ninian Smart was a distinguished academic theologian who founded the UK's first major department of Religious Studies at the University of Lancaster. Richard D. Hecht is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California (Santa Barbara).
Jeroen Smit (1963) is a renowned Dutch investigative financial journalist: he was editor for Het Financieele Dagblad, head of economy for Algemeen Dagblad, and until 2002 editor-in-chief and publisher of the business weekly FEM Business. Nowadays he works as a freelancer, He is, among other things, the host of BNR Nieuwsradio and a commentator and columnist.
Anna Smith has been a journalist for over twenty years and is a former chief reporter for the Daily Record in Glasgow. She has covered wars across the world as well as major investigations and news stories from Dunblane to Kosovo to 9/11. Anna spends her time between Lanarkshire and Dingle in the west of Ireland, as well as in Spain to escape the British weather.
Dan Smith grew up following his parents across the world to Africa, Indonesia and Brazil. He has been writing short stories for as long as he can remember and has been published in the anthology MATTER 4, shortlisted for the Royal Literary Fund mentor scheme, the Northern Writers Awards, the 2010 Brit Writers Published Author of the Year award and the Authors' Club First Novel award. He lives in Newcastle with his family. Find out more at
Daniel Smith is the bestselling author of 100 Places You Will Never Visit, which has been translated into eight languages. He has written more than fifteen books, on subjects as diverse as Sherlock Holmes, cockney rhyming slang and the WWII Dig for Victory campaign. Daniel is also a long-time contributor to The Statesman's Yearbook, an annual geopolitical guide to the countries of the world. He lives in London.
Award winning photographer, filmmaker and writer Lalage Snow has covered conflict and unrest since 2007 after finishing a Masters degree with Distinction in photojournalism at London College of Communication. Her personal projects have been published and exhibited to critical acclaim around the world and have been featured on the Channel 4, BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera. She has also given a number of public talks at literary festivals, museums and academic institutions including MIT. A series of short films made in Afghanistan are currently on display at the Smithsonian, the worlds largest museum complex.
Dava Sobel has spent most of her professional life as a science writer and is author of the bestseller, Longitude.
Katherine Sorrell is a former associate editor of Homes & Gardens magazine. An experienced interiors and lifestyle writer, she contributes regularly to a range of leading magazines and newspapers, and is the author of numerous books, including The Vintage Modern Home, The Art of Display and The Essential Guide to Craft. She lives in Cornwall with her family.
Paolo Sorrentino was born on May 31, 1970 in Naples, Campania, Italy. He is a director and writer, known for The Great Beauty (2013), This Must Be the Place (2011) and Il divo: La spettacolare vita di Giulio Andreotti (2008). He is married to Daniela D'Antonio.
Diana Souhami is the author of many widely acclaimed books, and she has also written plays for radio and television. She won the Whitbread Biography Award for Selkirk's Island, her biography of Alexander Selkirk, or as he is better known, Robinson Crusoe.
Gareth Southwell is a freelance philosopher, author and illustrator, and the curator of philosophyonline.co.uk. He is the author of an ongoing series of introductory philosophy books, including A Beginner's Guide to Descartes' Meditations and A Beginner's Guide to Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil. He lives in Swansea with his wife and children.