Related to: 'The Light and the Dark'


Taking Izmail

Mikhail Shishkin
Mikhail Shishkin

In this 1999 work, now available for the first time in the English language, Mikhail Shishkin displays at full force the writing talents that have won him international recognition for books like Maidenhair and The Light and the Dark.The Izmail of the title is a border fortress town, taken and lost by Russian forces numerous times in history. Here it is taken as a metaphor for the task of mastering life itself, and the scope of the task is conveyed through a masterfully interwoven panoply of scenes from different times and settings in Russia: in this tour de force of structure, style and scholarship the interaction of the scenes creates a genuine sense of the complexity of life.As Mikhail Shishkin's father says to him in the autobiographical chapter Conclusion: 'This life, Mishka, has to be taken like a fortress!' Among other things, Taking Izmail is a young writer's own brilliant storming of that fortress.

Alice Peterson

Alice Peterson's first book, A Will to Win - now republished as Another Alice - is her personal story of her tennis days (she was one of the top 10 juniors in the country), followed by her fight to beat Rheumatoid Arthritis. Since then she has written six novels, including Monday to Friday Man, the dog walking romantic comedy that knocked Fifty Shades of Grey off the top of the eBook chart. She lives in west London with her Lucas Terrier, Mr Darcy.

Christie Watson

Christie Watson was a registered nurse for twenty years before writing full time. Her first novel, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, won the Costa First Novel Award and her second novel, Where Women Are Kings, was also published to international critical acclaim. Her books have been translated into eighteen languages. The Language of Kindness, Christie's first work of narrative non-fiction, is forthcoming internationally.

Donna Milner

Donna Milner lives in British Columbia with her husband. After River was her first novel. She is also the author of The Promise of Rain.

Elaine Proctor

Elaine Proctor was born in South Africa. She has made several films, including On The Wire and Friends and published three novels, Rhumba, The Savage Hour and The Love Factory. She sits on the chapter for screenwriting at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and is a member of the Writer's Guild of Great Britain. Elaine lives in Queen's Park, London.

Elizabeth Aaron

Elizabeth Aaron is a Fashion Design graduate who has worked for Alexander McQueen, Jonathan Saunders and Givenchy. She moved to Paris in 2012 to write Low Expectations while working as a nanny. She is currently writing her second novel and first screenplay. She lives in Paris, but is frequently in the UK.

Fay Weldon

Fay Weldon is one of Britain's best loved and most respected authors. She lives in Dorset with her husband, the poet Nick Fox.

Jin Yong

Jin Yong is one of the world's bestselling writers, with more than 100 million of his works sold (not including unknown numbers of bootleg copies). He is beloved across China for his wuxia ("martial arts and chivalry) novels, which have given rise to film, television, comic book and video game adaptations. He was awarded an O.B.E. in 1981, and is one of two authors on the MacLehose list who have asteroids named in their honour (the other being Georges Perec).

Jo Spain

Jo Spain has worked as a party advisor on the economy in the Irish parliament. Her first novel, With Our Blessing, was one of seven books shortlisted in the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition and her first psychological thriller. The Confession, was a number one bestseller in Ireland. Joanne lives in Dublin with her husband and their four young children.

JP Delaney

THE GIRL BEFORE is the first psychological thriller from JP Delaney, a pseudonym for a writer who has previously written bestselling fiction under other names. It has been published in forty-one countries. A film version is being brought to the screen by Academy Award winners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment.

Kate McQuaile

Kate McQuaile is a graduate of the Faber novel-writing course. She lives in London and works as a journalist, but is originally from Drogheda in Ireland.

Laurie Graham

Laurie Graham is a former Daily Telegraph columnist and contributing editor of She magazine. The author of several acclaimed novels, most recently The Grand Duchess of Nowhere and The Night in Question (2015), Laurie lives in Dublin. Visit her website at

Louise O'Neill

Louise O'Neill is the feminist powerhouse and outspoken voice for change whose novels Only Ever Yours and Asking for It helped to start important conversations about body image and consent. Asking for It won Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards 2015 and stayed in the Irish Top Ten fiction chart for over a year. Only Ever Yours won Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards and the Bookseller YA Prize. Film/TV rights have been optioned on both books. Louise lives and works in West Cork, Ireland. She contributes regularly to Irish TV and radio, and has a weekly column in the Irish Examiner.

Muhsin Al-Ramli

Muhsin Al-Ramli is an Iraqi writer, poet, academic and translator, born in the village of Sudara in northern Iraq in 1967. He has lived in Madrid since 1995. The President's Gardens was longlisted for the IPAF, known as the "Arabic Booker", in 2013.

Peter May

Peter May was born and raised in Scotland. He was an award-winning journalist at the age of twenty-one and a published novelist at twenty-six. When his first book was adapted as a major drama series for the BCC, he quit journalism and during the high-octane fifteen years that followed, became one of Scotland's most successful television dramatists. He created three prime-time drama series, presided over two of the highest-rated serials in his homeland as script editor and producer, and worked on more than 1,000 episodes of ratings-topping drama before deciding to leave television to return to his first love, writing novels.He has won several literature awards in France, received the USA's Barry Award for The Blackhouse, the first in his internationally bestselling Lewis Trilogy; and in 2014 was awarded the ITV Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read of the Year award for Entry Island. Peter now lives in South-West France with his wife, writer Janice Hally.

Prue Leith

As a cook, restaurateur, food writer and business woman, Prue Leith has played a key role in the revolution of Britain's eating habits since the 1960s, and was recently announced as one of the judges on Channel 4's Great British Bake Off. With twelve cookery books under her belt, Prue gave up writing about food to concentrate on fiction. She has written seven romantic novels and a memoir, Relish. The Prodigal Daughter is the second novel in a trilogy that began with The Food of Love. All Prue's books are in print with Quercus. She lives in Gloucestershire. Follow her on on Twitter @PrueLeith

Rosa Mundi

It is alleged that Rosa Mundi is a pseudonym concealing the identity of a well-known contemporary author.

Virginia Ironside

Virginia Ironside is a journalist, agony aunt and author, and the creator of the one-woman show Growing Old Disgracefully. She lives in West London and has one son and two grandsons.

Virginie Despentes

Virginie Despentes is a writer and filmmaker, and former maid, sex worker, and freelance rock journalist. Her first novel, Baise-Moi, the controversial rape-revenge story, was published in 1992 and adapted for film in 2000. Upon release it became the first film to be banned in France for twenty-eight years. She is the author of over fifteen further works, including Apocalypse Baby (2010) and Bye Bye Blondie (2004), and the autobiographical essay, King Kong Theory (2006).

Will Elliott

Will Elliott was a struggling 27-year old writer who had lived modestly for the past four years in order to focus his energies on writing. He wrote five manuscripts during this period and was on the brink of giving up on his writing career, when he entered the competition and won the $10,000 prize. He lives in Australia.