Ralph Barker joined the RAF in 1940, serving as an air gunner and wireless operator until 1945. He was fortunate enough never to end up 'down in the drink' himself, though his Beaufort was hit a few times, and he survived a crash on take-off in which his pilot and navigator were killed. After the war, he worked in civil aviation for a short time, before rejoining the RAF, to work in the secretariat until 1961. DOWN IN THE DRINK (1957) was his first book to be published. It launched a successful career as a writer, in the course of which he has written over a dozen books on the RAF, books on terrorism and war at sea, and hundreds of feature articles for the Sunday Express. He celebrated his ninetieth birthday in 2007 - fifty years after the first publication of DOWN IN THE DRINK, shortly after attending a party celebrating its republication.
Nicola Barry is a feature writer and columnist. She has worked at the Edinburgh Evening News for five years and for The Scotsman. As a child, she spent eight years in a wheelchair and on crutches, having some twenty operations on both legs. She learned to walk again, just in time to break her neck and become addicted to alcohol, both of which she overcame. She is a recent graduate of the celebrated MPhil course in Creative Writing at Glasgow University and is currently studying for a PhD in the same field.She has won 29 press awards, mainly for social issue writing and for her columns and lives with her husband Alastair Murray and dog Coll in Edinburgh.
Amanda Berry is a national bestselling author for Harlequin Special Edition books. Leaving behind a career as a public accountant, she followed her heart and began to write romantic fiction. Find out more about Amanda by visiting www.amanda-berry.com, and follow her on Twitter @amandasberry.
Martin Berry is a freelance illustrator and artist working in a range of media from oils and watercolours to digital. He receives commissions from a variety of clients for subjects including architecture, portraiture, illustrated maps, caricatures and cartoons. Examples of his work can be seen at martinberryart.co.uk. Martin lives in Leicestershire.
Terence Blacker is the author of five novels, the most recent of which is The Twyning, and of the acclaimed biography of Willie Donaldson , You Cannot Live as I Have Lived and Not End Up Like This. He writes a weekly column for the Independent.
Ivan was born in a bike shop, or so he thought for the vast majority of his childhood. It was these sorts of misunderstandings and mistakes that crafted him into the writer he is today. Ivan's first book, published on his 21st birthday, was the multiple award-nominated Casper Candlewacks in Death By Pigeon. A love-letter to provincial England and the unique characters that inhabit its villages, this silly yet anarchic book was followed up with three more in the series: Casper Candlewacks in The Claws of Crime, Casper Candlewacks in Attack of the Brainiacs and Casper Candlewacks in The Time Travelling Toaster, all met with rave reviews.A qualified primary teacher based in North London, Ivan splits his time between tutoring, writing and being nibbled by his cat. He has a lifelong obsession with cycling, comic books, and most importantly, games. Having employed hundreds of games to entertain himself, strengthen friendships and teach his classes, he has spent the last year collecting his favourites to share with the world in the form of The Floor is Lava.
Emma Bridgewater established her successful pottery business in 1985. She found a manufacturer in Stoke-on-Trent to produce a range of mugs, jugs and teapots inspired by traditional shapes and spongeware designs. She now employs over 230 people and continues to make all her ceramics in Staffordshire, the historic home of pottery manufacture in Britain. Emma is married with four children and lives outside Oxford, where she was brought up.Follow Emma on Twitter: @EmmaBridgewater www.emmabridgewater.co.uk
Marcus Butler is one of the world's biggest YouTubers, and is still growing enormously quickly. Marcus's observations on the world are very popular and his love of film-making shines through in every video he creates.youtube.com/marcusbutler|youtube.com/moremarcus twitter.com/marcusbutler| instagram.com/marcusbutler|facebook.com/marcusbutlertv | Marcus Butler App
Sheena Byrom was born and brought up in North West England and has lived and worked there all her life. Sheena's career spans 35 years - and she has recently taken early retirement to complete a PhD in normal childbirth with the University of Nottingham. She is married wit hfour children, one of whom has followed her mother's footsteps in becoming a midwife lecturer.