Joss Ackland has had a distinguished acting career on stage, film and in television. Stage successes include Falstaff in Henry IV, both Captain Hook and Mr Darling in Peter Pan, Jorrocks in Jorrocks, Peron in Evita and Frederick in A Little Night Music. His films include White Mischief, The Sicillian and Lethal Weapon. His hundreds of television appearances include most famously CS Lewis in Shadowlands and Alan Holly in First And Last, both of which won Emmy and BAFTA awards. He has been a subject of This Is Your Life and Desert Island Discs.
Elizabeth has written or edited over 100 books for children. She loves reading and hearing stories just as much as she enjoys telling them!
Georgie Adams was born in Tunbridge Wells, and grew up in Kent and Sussex. She was an editor for many years in the UK and Australia, was co-director of a small publishing company in London, before becoming a successful writer of children's books. She has written over 70 books, mostly for young children. Georgie is married to artist and printmaker, Tom Adams, has two daughters and three stepchildren, and lives in a rural part of North Cornwall, overlooking the Kensey Valley. Her website is http://www.georgieadams.com/
Anne lives in the countryside near Wales. She grows luscious fruit and colourful flowers and loves to make things. Their four daughters are all grown up, but husband Richard is still outnumbered by females, as Anne has a lively labradoodle puppy named Tamar and three chittering chickens called Rosie, Daisy and Bluebell.
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.
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.
UAE born Maitha Al Khayat spent most of her childhood years in the US and UK. She first got hooked on books while in middle school in the UK and has never stopped reading or writing since.Maitha is based in Ras Alkhaimah. A mother of four, she still manages to make time to read all the time and to write children's stories such as the charming "Tareeqati Al Khassa". Her first book was the bilingual "I Love My Dad's Long Beard" published by Zodiac Publishing, which was inspired by her children's love for their daddy's long beard."Tareeqati Al Khassa" was first published in Arabic by Kalimat. In the story, Hamda longs to wear the hijab like her four older sisters. Each sister feels it should be worn her way. Hamda finds it is up to her to figure out her own unique way of wearing the veil to make it a part of her active and happy life. The book was acquired by Orion Books and recently won the best book award given by the Riyadh based International Forum for Children's Education and Development.
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
Laura Ellen Anderson
Laura Ellen Anderson is a children's book writer and illustrator based in London. She has illustrated several picture books, including Snowflakes and Mermaid, both written by CBBC presenter Cerrie Burnell. Laura is also the creator of the comic strip 'Evil Emperor Penguin', published monthly in The Pheonix Comic.
Clive Anderson was born in Middlesex in 1952. After studying law at Cambridge University, where he was also President of the Footlights revue group, he practised as a barrister in London for about fifteen years. During this time he wrote scripts for the likes of Frankie Howerd, Griff Rhys Jones and Mel Smith, and performed as a stand-up comedian. This led to presenting radio and television programmes, in particular Whose Line Is It Anyway? on BBC Radio 4 and then on Channel 4 TV. He has also hosted chat shows for radio and television. He lives in Highbury, north London, with his wife and three children.
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.
Scoular Anderson has written and illustrated many children's books and is a brilliant observer of children's lives. He keeps his observations up to date by regularly visiting schools, especially Innellan Primary School
Adjoa Andoh has appeared in several popular TV series including The Bill, East Enders, and Casualty. On stage, she played Serafina Pekkala in the National Theatre production of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. Her audiobook recordings include Alexander McCall Smith's books set around the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, and Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach.
Giles Andreae is the author of many top-selling, award-winning picture books. These include Rumble in the Jungle, Commotion in the Ocean and I Love My Mummy. However, it is for the international bestseller Giraffes Can't Dance that he is best known. Giles is also the creator of Purple Ronnie, Britain's favourite stickman, and of the artist/philosopher, Edward Monkton. These two ranges of greetings cards, books and merchandise have made Giles the country's top-selling living poet. Giles lives with his wife, Victoria, a children's clothes designer, and their four young children by the river in Oxfordshire.
Laurence and Catherine Anholt live and work in a house and studios on top of a hill above the sea in Devon. They started making picture books in 1984 when their first daughter was born. Since then they have made more than 200 classic picture books, which are published all over the world in more than 30 languages. Their titles range from their Orchard picture book series which include Babies Love Books and Billy and the Big New School; to Laurence's self-illustrated Anholt's Artists series, an introduction to great artists for young children, which include Camille and the Sunflowers. Laurence also collaborates with his friend, the illustrator, Arthur Robins on the bestselling Seriously Silly Stories, which include the Nestlé Smarties Gold Award winner Snow White and the Seven Aliens.The Anholts' books have won many awards and are frequently featured on television and radio. Babies, Babies, Babies is listed in The Sunday Times 100 Modern Classics. Laurence was included in the Independent on Sunday's Top 10 Children's Authors in the UK and was described as 'one of the most versatile authors writing for children today'. Laurence was brought up mainly in Holland where he developed a lasting passion for art. He then went on to study Fine Art for eight years, finishing with a Master's Degree from the Royal Academy of Art in London.The Anholts have been closely involved with a number of literacy schemes such as the UK Government funded Bookstart scheme, which encourages parents to share books with babies from the earliest possible age. Their work has taken them inside Buckingham Palace and Downing Street on many occasions. Recent projects include a full-scale stage musical in Korea. Laurence and Catherine have three grown up children: Claire works for the UN in New York, Tom Anholt is a painter living in Berlin and Maddy is an actor based in London. Laurence's favourite things include, 'my lovely family, travelling to wild places and anything to do with art'. The best way to relax? 'A long soak in a warm book.'