Anita Amirrezvani was born in Iran but has lived in the USA since she was a young child. She has visited Iran many times and has been steeped in tales of Iranian life and history from an early age. The Blood of Flowers was her first novel, and was followed by Equal of the Sun. USA Today described The Blood of Flowers as 'filled with intricate designs, vivid colours, and sparkling gems'; it has appeared in more than 25 languages and was long-listed for the 2008 Orange Prize for Fiction. Anita is an adjunct professor at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and at Sonoma State University. www.anitaamirrezvani.com
Neil Ansell was an award winning television journalist with the BBC and a long standing writer for the broadsheets. He is the author of two previous books, Deep Country and Deer Island, and has contributed to nature programmes and wildlife documentaries though his main focus was news and current affairs. He has two daughters and lives in Brighton.
Chloe Benjamin is the author of The Anatomy of Dreams, which won the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. She lives with her husband in Wisconsin.
Stephanie Bishop was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Australian Novelists for her debut novel, The Singing. Stephanie studied in Cambridge, where part of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD is set, and is currently a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of New South Wales.
Alan Bissett was born in Falkirk in 1975. His acclaimed first novel, BOYRACERS, published whilst he was still a student, was based on his adolescent experiences growing up there. His ambitious second novel, THE INCREDIBLE ADAM SPARK, was extraordinarily well received. A full-time writer and playwright, he has acted onstage in his own 'one-woman show', 'Times When I Bite', which was also adapted for film. His plays 'The Ching Room', 'Turbo Folk' and 'The Moira Monologues' have all been recent stage successes. The Shutdown won two Jim Poole awards for Best Scottish Short Film 2009. Alan has also been a support act for Malcolm Middleton, The Vaselines and Zoey Van Goey. He currently is much in demand as a live performer of his own work.
Margaret Cezair-Thompson was born and raised in Jamaica, West Indies. She is the author of the highly acclaimed, bestselling novel The Pirate's Daughter, which was a Richard & Judy Summer Read in 2008. The True History of Paradise was her first novel, and was shortlisted for the IMPAC Award. She is a professor of English at Wellesley College, and lives in Massachusetts.
Judy Chicurel grew up in Long Beach, Long Island. Her work has appeared in national, regional and international publications including the New York Times, Granta, and Newsday. Her plays have been produced and performed in Manhattan and India. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.http://www.judychicurel.com/
Emma Darwin was born in 1964. Her first novel, THE MATHEMATICS OF LOVE, was acclaimed in nine countries; A SECRET ALCHEMY is her second. She lives in London.
Michael David Lukas
Michael David Lukas was born in 1979 and lives in California, where he teaches primary-school children Creative Writing and writes travel journalism. This is his first novel.
Sarah Day lives in London, where she works as a science communicator at the Geological Society. She has written columns for a variety of publications, including the Guardian and The Vagenda. After graduating with a Masters in the History and Philosophy of Science from Durham University, she studied Science Communication at Imperial College London. Mussolini's Island is her first novel.
Claire Dederer is the author of the New York Times-bestselling memoir Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses which Elizabeth Gilbert called 'the book we all need'. A book critic, essayist, and reporter, Dederer is a long-time contributor to The New York Times, and has also written for The Atlantic, Vogue, Slate, The Nation, and New York magazine, among others. She lives on an island near Seattle with her family.
Anton DiSclafani, 30, was raised in northern Florida, where she rode horses, competing nationally. She graduated from Emory University, and received her MFA from Washington University. She currently lives in St. Louis, where she teaches creative writing at Washington University.
Sarah Duguid grew up on a farm in North Lincolnshire and was educated at Durham University and UCL where she read English Literature. After university, she lived and worked in New York, South Africa and London before moving to Beirut where she now lives with her partner and their two sons. She is currently working on her second novel.
Rachel Elliott is the author of WHISPERS THROUGH A MEGAPHONE, long-listed for the Bailey's Women's Prize in 2016. She is also a practising psychotherapist, and lives in Bath.
Peggy Elliott has written extensively for both television and motion pictures and has produced and directed documentaries. She cross-country skis at her home in Idaho and does volunteer work for the United Nations Population Fund in Africa.
Alicia Erian was born in New York to an Egyptian father and American mother. She has worked as a film director and screenwriter - her script WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN has attracted interest from Julia Roberts production company, amongst others. She has had a story published in Francis Ford Coppola's magazine Zoetrope, which he has optioned. Alicia has briefly worked in Ireland, and in London, where she worked for a month in the accounts department of Books Etc.
Roopa Farooki was born in Lahore in Pakistan and brought up in London. She graduated from New College, Oxford and worked in advertising before turning to write fiction. Roopa now lives in south-east England and south-west France with her husband, twin girls and two sons. Bitter Sweets, her first novel, was nominated for the Orange Award for New Writers 2007. Roopa's novels have been published internationally and translated into a dozen languages.
Patrick Gale was born on the Isle of Wight. He spent his infancy at Wandsworth Prison, which his father governed, then grew up in Winchester before going to Oxford University. He now lives on a farm near Land's End. One of this country's best-loved novelists, his most recent works are A Perfectly Good Man, the Richard and Judy bestseller Notes From An Exhibition, and the Costa-shortlisted A Place Called Winter. His original BBC television drama, Man In An Orange Shirt, was shown to great acclaim in 2017 as part of the BBC's Queer Britannia series, leading viewers around the world to discover his novels.
Guy Gunaratne grew up in North West London and has worked as a designer, documentary filmmaker and video journalist covering post-conflict areas around the world, as well as co-founding two technology companies. He was shortlisted for the 4th Estate/Guardian Books B4ME Short Story Prize.
Mark Henshaw has lived in France, Germany, Yugoslavia and the USA. He currently lives in Canberra where he was for many years curator at the National Gallery of Australia. He is now writing full-time.