Andrew O’Hagan was born in Glasgow in 1968. He is an award-winning novelist and a contributing editor to the London Review of Books and Granta magazine. In his acclaimed first book, The Missing, O’Hagan wrote about his own childhood and told the stories of parents whose children had disappeared. The book was shortlisted for the Esquire Award, the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award, and the McVities Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year award. Part of the book was adapted for radio and television as Calling Bible John and won a BAFTA award.
Our Fathers, his first novel, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction and the Whitbread First Novel Award. Personality, about a 13-year-old girl with a beautiful singing voice growing up above a chip shop on the Scottish island of Bute and making ready to realise her family’s dream of fame, won the 2003 James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction). In 2003 Andrew O’Hagan was nominated by Granta magazine as one of 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists’. In 2004 he edited The Weekenders: Adventures in Calcutta, a collection of various writers’ accounts of Kolkata.
Blake Morrison is an award-winning writer, poet and journalist. He began his career working for the Times Literary Supplement, before serving as literary editor for The Observer and the Independent on Sunday. Blake writes across genres in the form of poetry, journalism, novel and memoir.
For his writing he has won the Eric Gregory Award, the Dylan Thomas Award, Somerset Maugham Award for Dark Glasses, E. M. Forster Award, Esquire/Volvo/Waterstone’s Non-Fiction and the JR Ackerley Prize for Autobiography for his memoir And When Did You Last See Your Father? The book was subsequently made into a feature film starring Jim Broadbent and Colin Firth. His most famous works include the narrative poem The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper, an investigation into the Jamie Bulger case As if and most recently The Last Weekend. Blake is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, former chair of the Poetry Book Society, vice-chair of PEN and a member of the Orwell Trust. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Lynne Truss began her writing life as a literary journalist, editing the books section of The Listener magazine between 1986 and 1990. Since then she has kept a high profile as a journalist, writing for The Times as a critic, columnist and sportswriter (shortlisted for Sportswriter of the Year 1997); for Woman’s Journal(“Columnist of the Year”, 1996); and more recently as a critic for the Daily Mailand The Sunday Times, where she is a regular book reviewer. She has published six books, including three novels, With One Lousy Free Packet of Seed, Tennyson’s Gift and Going Loco. Her book on punctuation, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, was the publishing phenomenon of 2003.
She has also written many scripts for BBC Radio 4, including dramas, sitcoms and talks. She appears regularly on the network presenting features and taking part in discussions. Two series of her comedy series Acropolis Now have so far been broadcast (starring Stephen Moore, Robert Hardy, Imelda Staunton); also a six part series of monologues A Certain Age, and an innovative six-part series of dialogues Full Circle, starring Claire Skinner, Phyllis Logan, Michael Maloney, Phil Davis and Sheila Hancock.
Suzanne is an award-winning journalist, currently writing for The Guardian and the Mail on Sunday. She has previously written for Marxism Today, The Independent and the New Statesman (where she was contributing editor). She stood as an independent during the 2010 General Election, for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.
Joan is a star broadcaster and writer as well as a Labour Party life peer. Working on several programmes Joan has interviewed literary greats including Alan Ginsberg and regularly contributes opinion to many national press outlets. Joan was appointed CBE in 1999 and promoted to DBE in 2008. She is the author of several books including The View from Here: Life at Seventy and her autobiography The Centre of the Bed. Her latest book is She’s Leaving Home. Between 2008 and 2010 Joan acted as a Voice of Older People.
Caroline is Executive Director of the English National Ballet and Chair of Digital UK. She began at the BBC as a broadcast journalist and worked as a producer on Radio 4 and Panorama. She spent 11 years at Channel 4 before returning to the BBC, where she became Chief Operating Officer, before stepping down in 2012.
Gillian is an award winning South African novelist, playwright and memoirist. Her 1997 memoir Every Secret Thing, about her parents’ struggles against apartheid, brought her international acclaim. Ice Road (2004) was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her most recent novel is Black Orchids (2008).
Claire is the Books Editor of the Guardian and the Observer. She was formerly theatre critic for the Ham & High, The Financial Times, and the Guardian, where she also worked as arts editor. She also presents the Guardian’s weekly books podcast and is a frequent commentator on radio.
Richard is Professor of Journalism and Director of the Centre for Journalism at Cardiff University. He spent 30 years as a journalist at the BBC, where he worked as a producer, editor, and manager. He is also Visiting Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.
Anushka is Sky News’ Political Correspondent based in London. She began her journalism career at the Observer and spent eight years there, covering the 2010 General Election as the paper’s policy editor. She also worked as a columnist and chief political correspondent for The Times.
Richard Tait is Professor of Journalism at Cardiff University. He was Editor-in-Chief of ITN from 1995 to 2002. Before that he was Editor of Channel Four News and Editor of Channel 4 Programmes from 1987 to 1995. He began his journalistic career in business magazines before joining the BBC in 1979 where he became editor of The Money Programme, Newsnight, and the 1987 General Election Results programme. He was a Governor of the BBC from 2004 to 2006 and a BBC Trustee and Chairman of the Editorial Standards Committee from 2006 to 2010. He was awarded the RTS’s lifetime achievement award in 2014 for his work at the BBC and ITN. He is Treasurer of the International News Safety Institute and an independent trustee of the Disasters Emergency Committee.
John Lloyd is a contributing editor to the Financial Times, a columnist for Reuters.com and for La Repubblica of Rome; he was co-founder of The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford in 2006, where he is now a Senior Research Fellow. He has been editor of the New Statesman and of Time Out. John has won the British Press Awards Specialist Writer of the Year; the Granada What the Papers Say awards Journalist of the Year; the David Watt prize for journalism and the Biagio Agnes (Italy) International Reporter of the Year . He is the author of Loss without Limit: the British Miners’ Strike, Rebirth of a Nation: An Anatomy of Russia, What the Media are doing to our Politics and Reporting the EU, News, Media and the European Institutions.
Lord Waldegrave of North Hill is the Provost of Eton College. He is Chairman of Coutts. He is a Distinguished Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford and an Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College,
Oxford. He was a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard, 1969-70. He was M.P. for Bristol West between 1979 and 1997 and a Minister from 1981, serving in the Cabinet between 1990 and ’97. He is a director of a number of companies. He is Chairman of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee, former Chairman of the Science Museum, the Rhodes Trust, a founder trustee of the Mandela-Rhodes Foundation in South Africa and a trustee of Cumberland Lodge.
Frances Cairncross is an economist and journalist. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, chair of the Court of Heriot-Watt University and interim Director of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research. She was an economic columnist on The Guardian and subsequently a senior editor at The Economist. Dame Frances was Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council between 2001 and 2007. She is the author of a number of books, including The Death of Distance and Costing the Earth. From 2004 to 2014 Dame Frances was Rector of Exeter College, Oxford University
Fiammetta Rocco grew up in Kenya of French-Italian parents and read Arabic at Oxford. An award-winning journalist on both sides of the Atlantic, she has been the books and arts editor of The Economist since 2003. Her book, The Miraculous Fever Tree, about malaria and the discovery of quinine, was a Radio 4 Book of the Week. She is also the administrator of the Man Booker International Prize and on the board of the Edinburgh International Book festival.
David Goodhart is a journalist, commentator and author and former director of the think tank Demos. He founded Prospect magazine in 1995, and was its editor until 2010. He is now editor-at-large. He is the author of The British Dream: Successes and Failures of Post-war Immigration and has written for The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Independent and The Times.
Andrew Gamble is Professor of Politics at the University of Sheffield and Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Academy of Social Sciences. He was an editor of The Political Quarterly 1997-2012. His main research interests lie in political economy, British politics, political theory and political history. His books includePolitics and Fate and Crisis without end? The unravelling of western prosperity. In 2005 he received the Isaiah Berlin Prize from the Political Studies Association for lifetime contribution to political studies. His most recent book, to be published next year by Polity is ‘Can the welfare state survive?’.
Julia Unwin has been Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust since 2007. She was a member of the Housing Corporation Board for 10 years and a Charity Commissioner from 1998-2003. Julia was also Deputy Chair of the Food Standards Agency and worked as an independent consultant operating within government and the voluntary and corporate sectors. She has researched and written extensively on the role, governance and funding of the voluntary sector, and its relationship with government. She previously held a position as chair of the Refugee Council from 1995 until 1998, and is currently a member of the University of York’s Council and a Governor of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. Julia was awarded a Fellowship of the City and Guilds of London Institute in June 2012. She has Honorary Doctorates from the University of South Wales and from York St John University. Julia has written several books, the most recent of which is entitled “Why Fight Poverty?” and was published in November 2013. Follow Julia on Twitter @juliaunwin