Simon Adams was born in Bristol and studied at London and Bristol universities. He then worked as an editor of children's reference books before becoming a full-time writer 18 years ago. Since then, he has written and contributed to more than 70 books on subjects as varied as American history, the sinking of the Titanic, the two world wars and the history of jazz. He has written for many major children`s publishers including Dorling Kindersley and Kingfisher. His work for Watts includes titles in the Citizen Guides, Flashpoints, World War One and World War Two series as well as, most recently, Countries in the News. He lives in London, listens to lots of jazz, and is an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction books.
Dr Hakim Adi is Reader in the History of Africa and the African Diaspora at the University of Chichester.
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.
Lucy Akhurst appeared in BBC TV's Eroica. Other TV work includes Ultimate Force, Manchild and Clare in Wonderful You. Films include Trinity, The Land Girls and Longitude.
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.
Judith Anderson writes extensively for children. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Winchester.
Ronda Armitage was born in New Zealand, and later moved to London with her husband and children. Her first book, The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch, soon became a popular series of books. Ronda has gone on to write many much-loved stories for children, including A Very Strange Creature and the fabulous Small Knight and George series about a little knight and his pet dragon. Ronda lives in East Sussex with her husband, David.
Bernard Ashley is one of the top writers for teenagers today. Drawing on his experience as a headteacher in a South London school he writes exciting, hard-hitting stories for the young adult reader plus picture book and younger fiction texts.Bernard's first novel, The Trouble with Donovan Croft, won the 'Other Award', an alternative to the Carnegie Award. Since then he has written extensively both for television and the children's book market. His adaptation of his own novel Dodgem won the Royal Television Society Award for the Best Children's Entertainment Programme. Bernard has written a number of successful novels for Orchard Books. Tiger Without Teeth was chosen as the Guardian's Children's Book of the Week; Little Soldier, about the gang-run estates of inner London, was shortlisted for both the Carnegie and Guardian Fiction Award; and Revenge House, a hard-hitting crime thriller, are all typical of Bernard's highly charged, gritty approach.Bernard Ashley lives in South East London only a street or so from where he was born. During his time as a teacher and headteacher he worked in Kent, Hertfordshire, Newham and Greenwich.Visit Bernard Ashley at: www.bashley.com
Lara Avery is the author of A Million Miles Away, Anything But Ordinary and The Memory Book. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she is a contributor at Revolver and at work on her next novel.