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.
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.
The first book Asa Bailey ever read was about Vlad the Impaler. He was six years old. Since then he has been fascinated by vampire history, the gothic, the bizarre and the fantastic. Asa is a novelist and film-maker who after living in London and New York moved to a medieval village high in the Snowdonia Mountain range of North Wales. Today, surrounded by dark mountains, forests and rivers, he likes to create stories about worlds where anything is possible.
Helen Bailey was born and brought up in Northumberland, a county she always regarded as home.Barely into her teens, Helen invested her pocket money in buying a copy of The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook and spent the next few years sending short stories and poems to anyone she could think of. Much to her surprise, she sometimes found herself in print.After a degree in science, Helen worked in the media, running a successful London-based character licensing agency handling internationally renowned properties such as Snoopy, Felicity Wishes, Dilbert and Zorro.Helen died in 2016, leaving behind a significant body of work. She is best known for her Electra Brown series, of which the first is 'Life in the Shallow End'.
Laura grew up in Canada with a passion for stories. She followed this passion to attain an Honours BA in English and then moved abroad to Wales for an MA in Creative Writing and an adventure - and she never left! She now lives in a lovely coastal town in South Wales with her husband, son and big basset hound and has been writing and editing award-winning books for adults and children for the last ten years. She loves finding special stories to tell in the everyday, relatable world of a child (or dog).
Tracy Banghart grew up in rural Maryland, with a cornfield in her backyard and flying squirrels in her bedroom walls, and spent her summers on a remote island in northern Ontario. All that isolation and pretty scenery led to a reading addiction, writing obsession, and several serious book boyfriends. Always a bit of a nomad, Tracy now travels the world army-wife style with her husband, son and sundry pets. Follow her adventures on Twitter @tracythewriter.
David has been a shelf-stacker, a library assistant, a call-centre worker, a civil servant and a printer, so obviously it was only a matter of time before he tried his hand at writing and illustrating children's books. He joined the world-renowned Children's Book Illustration MA at Anglia Ruskin CSA. It turns out he actually found it a lot harder than all of the above, but ultimately a lot more rewarding.Whilst on the course, David created his first picture book, Have you seen Elephant? which was published in 2015. He won the Sebastian Walker award for new talent in children's book illustration at his degree show and was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize.David's next book Fergus Barnaby Goes On Holiday was released in June 2017 and he is now in the process of developing more picture books. He lives in Kettering with his toughest critics: partner Jo, son Teddy and cat Sofia.
Alison studied illustration at Anglia College of Art in Cambridge and began an M.A. At Kingston University. In 1993 she was shortlisted for the Macmillan Prize for Oliver's Vegetables. She lives in Bristol with her young son..
Zdenko Basic received a prize at the first Croatian Biennale of Illustration and also won the Best Young Artist in Croatia award. In addition to his books, Zdenko works as a costume designer, scenographer and graphic designer.
Colin Bateman was a journalist in Northern Ireland before becoming a full-time writer. His first novel, Divorcing Jack, won the Betty Trask Prize, and all his novels have been critically acclaimed. He wrote the screenplays for the feature films of Divorcing Jack, Crossmaheart and Wild About Harry. He lives in Ireland with his family.
Clémentine Beauvais was born in Paris in 1989, but decided to cross the Channel at 17 years old to see how things are done on the other side. And she very much liked what she saw, so, since then, she's been living in Cambridge. As well as studying and writing children's books, Clem is the co-host of the Kid You Not podcast on children's literature.She still makes funny mistakes in English sometimes, but she's very proud that she doesn't have a comedy French accent.Visit her website at: www.clementinebeauvais.com
David is the author of over 60 children's books for all preschool and primary ages. David's books include best-selling picture books such as 'Big Bear Little Bear' and 'The Dinosaur Games', and 'The Team' football fiction series.Babies Don't Bite is his first book for Hodder.David was born in Devon, grew up in Warrington, and settled in Norfolk, where he lives by the sea with his family. David had an early successful career as a genetic engineer making newfangled antibiotics, before retiring from science at the very early age of 27! He now spends a lot of his time swimming in the sea, doing Tai Chi, cooking for his increasingly demanding family, visiting schools, libraries and festivals - and writing.