John Agard was born in Guyana and emigrated to Britain in 1977. He has worked as an actor and a performer with a jazz group and spent several years with the Commonwealth Institute, travelling all over Britain giving talks, performances and workshops. He has visited literally thousands of schools. His poem 'Half-caste' is on the AQA Englsih GCSE syllabus, and every year he tours the country performing with other top poets for GCSE students. His children's poetry includes WE ANIMALS WOULD LIKE A WORD WITH YOU, POINTS OF VIEW WITH PROFESSOR PEEKABOO, and most recently EINSTEIN, THE GIRL WHO HATED MATHS and HELLO H2O, poems about maths and science respectively. All these titles have been in collaboration with the illustrator Satoshi Kitamura He lives in Sussex and is married to Grace Nichols, herself a respected Caribbean poet. They have a daughter.
Joan Aiken is the author of over a hundred books for adults and children, many of them classics. She worked on the magazine, Argosy, and wrote hundreds of short stories before her first novel, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, was published in the early '60s. It was highly praised in Time magazine and its success allowed Joan to write full-time thereafter. She has said, "I would never want to do anything but write stories. It is inventing your own world, using all the bits of the real one that you like best. And that is something you can do anywhere, at any time."
BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip hop artist, writer, poet and historian Akala is a label owner and social entrepreneur who fuses unique rap/rock/electro-punk sound with fierce storytelling. Jay-Z, M.I.A. and Christina Aguilera are just a few of the musicians Akala's toured with, his own stellar live show headlined eight UK tours and he regularly appears at festivals such as Glastonbury and Wireless.More recently known for his compelling lectures and journalism, Akala has written for the The Guardian, Huffington Post UK and The Independent, and also taken part in British Council arts education and music projects all over the world.In 2009, with Sir Ian McKellen's support, Akala launched the 'The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company', a music theatre production company which sparked worldwide media interest. Previous clients and collaborators include the BBC, Premier League, Mastercard, The Barbican and Ed Sheeran.Akala has also featured on numerous TV programmes across Channel 4, ITV2, MTV, Sky Arts and the BBC promoting his projects as well as speaking on wide ranging subjects from music and poetry to youth engagement and British/African-Caribbean culture.
David Almond is the author of Skellig, My Name is Mina, Counting Stars, The Savage, Island, A Song for Ella Grey, The Colour of the Sun and many other novels, stories, picture books, opera librettos, songs and plays. His work is translated into 40 languages, and is widely adapted for stage and screen. His major awards include the Carnegie Medal, two Whitbread Awards, the Eleanor Farjeon Award, the Michael L Printz Award (USA), Le Prix Sorcières (France) and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. In 2010 he won the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the world's most prestigious prize for children's authors. David speaks at festivals and conferences around the world. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. He is widely regarded as one of the most exciting, inspirational and innovative children's authors writing today. He has one amazing daughter. He lives in Bath and in Newcastle, the city in which he was born.www.davidalmond.com
Winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Award for Paper Faces, Rachel Anderson has written more than 30 books for children of all ages. She excels at tackling life's difficult themes with a skilful blend of humour and sensitivity. Rachel has one daughter, three sons, two goldfish, several free-range muntjacs, and a delightful diversity of grandchildren.