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.
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.
Jenny Alexander is the author of many fiction and non fiction reading books for educational publishers, including Mouse and the Bullies (Longman), which has been approved by ChildLine. She is also the author of Your Child: Bullying (Element), which appears on the DfEE Bullying Pack recommended reading list and has been endorsed by Susan Jeffers (author of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway). Her interest in this subject began when her son was bullied at school.
Nicholas Allan studied Fine Art at the Slade and has completed an MA in creative writing at the University of East Anglia. His highly original picture books have won him several awards including the Sheffield Children's Book Award for The Queen's Knickers and the Federation of Children's Books Best Picture Book Award for Demon Teddy. He is also the creator of the popular Father Christmas Needs a Wee. He lives in Lambeth in a converted pub.
Judy Allen's Awaiting Developments won the Whitbread Award, the Friends of the Earth Earthworm Award, and was commended for the Carnegie Medal. Author of more than 30 books for children published to critical acclaim - and frequently reaching prize short-lists - she also writes for radio; 5 plays for BBC Radio 4, dramatisations of The Secret Garden, Tom's Midnight Garden, and Philippa Pearce for BBC Radio. Her award-winning adult fiction December Flower was televised by Granada in 1985, adapted for BBC Radio and televised in US.
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.
Steve Antony - a graduate from the prestigious MA in Children's Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin - is the author-illustrator of The Queen's Hat and Please Mr Panda. Only debuting in 2014, Steve has had enormous success: The Queen's Hat won the Evening Standard's Oscar's First Book Prize, and was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize. Please Mr Panda was chosen as Picture Book of the Month by US retailer Barnes & Noble, who held over 650 Panda events over one weekend. Steve aims to create picture books that are slightly 'off the wall', books that children will laugh at and adults will tweet about, but most of all, books that he enjoys.
Louise Arnold was born in Morden, Surrey. Her love of writing began at the age of four when she wrote her first poem. From the age of eight she lived in Bognor Regis until passing her A-Levels. Louise took a year out before university and back-packed, Amtrak'ed and GreyHound-ed across America. She graduated in 2003, from the University of Kent, with a 2.1 in drama (specialising in Stand-Up Comedy) and has now settled in Canterbury with her partner. Her spare time is taken up with a love of e-bay and carboot sales, changing the colour of her hair, and borrowing the neighbour's cat until she can buy her own Siamese. Grey Arthur: The Invisible Friend is her first novel.