Emma Adams grew up spending lots of her time in her local library, reading Roald Dahl books and imagining she was Matilda. Her love of reading turned into a love of publishing when she went to Loughborough University to study Publishing with English, and when Emma later started working on books for children it felt like the most natural thing in the world. Emma lives in Hackney, London.
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.
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.
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.
Judith Anderson writes extensively for children. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Winchester.
Nigel Anthony has worked extensively in the theatre (RSC, Chichester, Scarborough) and on television (Midsomer Murders, Doctors, Coronation Street, Casualty), but it is for his voice work that he is particularly well known. He has won both Sony and Radio Times awards for best actor in Radio Drama, and he is much in demand as a reader of audiobooks. He has been the voice of Tesco, Orange and Hyundai in commercials and is a frequent narrator of documentaries.
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.
Roy Apps is the author of more than fifty children's books, including The Twitches, Fang Gang and How To Handle. He is the author of the highly successful Dream to Win series for Franklin Watts.His novel The Secret Summer of Daniel Lyons won The Writers' Guild Children's Book Award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Awards. It is now a successful musical.Roy writes extensively for radio, theatre and TV. In 2001 he was awarded a BAFTA for his children's TV work, which includes Byker Grove, The Ghost Hunter and Barmy Aunt Boomerang.Roy visits schools, libraries and bookshops to read from his books and to share the secrets of The Shed in Your Head . He runs Writing Projects for all ages and over the last few years has helped young and new writers make books, stage plays, films, performance poetry and most recently, an opera.
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
Jacqui Bailey has spent a lot of her adult life working with children's books. She has been an editor and publisher of everything from picture books to encyclopedias, but mostly enjoys finding out amazing bits of information and then writing about them. She particularly likes writing about science, as the information so often turns out to be far stranger than fiction.
Nicola Barber is an experienced author and editor of children's non-fiction books.
Leigh Bardugo is the number one New York Times bestselling author fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over one million copies sold, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone trilogy, the Six of Crows duology and The Language of Thorns. She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently, makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.Find her website at www.leighbardugo.com and follow her on Twitter @lbardugo.
Nicola Barber is an experienced author and editor of children`s non-fiction books.
As 50% of the Two Steves, Steve Barlow has written over 160 books with Steve Skidmore since their first published work appeared in 1988. Born in Crewe, he was educated at Crewe Grammar School, Warwick University and Nottingham University before a varied career in teaching, acting, stage management and puppetry. He worked in a village school in Botswana for four years before returning to the UK and working with Steve Skidmore. The Two Steves tour extensively in the UK and overseas, and are frequent visitors to book festivals including Edinburgh and Hay. Their work for Hachette includes the highly popular I Hero and Crime Team choose-your-adventure books, and their I Horror series is raising the short hairs at the back of readers' necks with Orchard Books.
Kay Barnham was born in Barrow-in-Furness, grew up in Carlisle, went to college in Brighton, and lived in Hove for a while, before sailing for Kinsale, Co Cork, popping back to Hove and then moving to the New Forest with her husband and daughter. And never at any point has she lived more than ten miles from the sea. She began working in children's publishing in 1992. She was an editor first of all, working on illustrated non-fiction and learning fun facts like how long it would take to walk to the moon - nine years - and how to spell palaeontology. Next, she commissioned fiction titles, editing picture books, storybooks and novels. And then she got the chance to write her own books, which she thinks is quite the best job ever. Except possibly being a chocolatier. She writes non-fiction as Kay Barnham. Her specialist subjects include ice-skating, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, lightning, fairies, Roald Dahl, Sir Isaac Newton, Christmas, dolphins, Florence Nightingale and very bad cracker jokes. And chocolate.She also writes fiction as Kay Woodward, including the Skate School series for Usborne and the novels Jane Airhead and Wuthering Hearts for Andersen Press. Altogether, she's written about a hundred books. Her favourite colour is navy blue. Her favourite chocolate is 85% cocoa solids.
A former journalist, Janine Beacham has written all her life. She has always loved fairy tales and fantasy, and as a child would make up games for her friends to play at school. Janine once entered a competition where the prize was a real-life butler - which partly inspired the secret society of butlers in the Rose Raventhorpe Investigates series. Janine lives in Western Australia with her family.
Lynne Benton was born in Bournemouth, but moved to Bath at 18 to train as a teacher, and has lived there ever since. She has taught in several primary schools in the area, as well as working as pianist and receptionist in a Dancing school and bringing up four children. In 1982 she and her husband, Robin, a fellow-teacher and composer, co-wrote a musical play for primary schools based on the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece (still, happily, in print) but it was only when their children began leaving home for university that she began writing seriously. In 1996 she was a prizewinner in the Independent's Children's Story of the Year competition, and since then has had several fiction books published. As well as writing longer novels for older children she enjoys writing humorous "bite-size" stories for younger ones. She welcomes invitations to go into schools and talk to children about her books, since it keeps her in touch with her readers, who she finds a continual source of inspiration.
Alex Bertie is a 21-year-old transgender YouTuber from rural Dorset. While attending school aged 14, he started making videos on sexuality and gender identity, continuing to do so with weekly uploads. His YouTube channel, TheRealAlexBertie, now has almost 300,000 subscribers, he has 72,000 Instagram followers and 47,000 Twitter followers.Alex has worked with organisations such as Childline and Stonewall, and has been recognised by the Independent, YouTube magazine TenEighty and trans publication FTM Magazine.
Jane Bingham is an experienced children's author and editor. She specializes in history and contemporary issues.