Clare Balding is one of the BBC's leading sports presenters. She won the coveted Royal Television Society's Sports Presenter of the year Award in 2003. She has been working for the BBC in radio and television for over 15 years across a range of sports, covering three Olympic Games, two Paralympics, two Winter Olympics and a Commonwealth Games. Clare is the face of the BBC's coverage of horseracing, equestrian sports and rugby league. She has written for the Sunday Times, the Observer, the Evening Standard and the Racing Post and is currently involved in a web magazine called Eclipse.Clare Balding, a Cambridge graduate, was elected President of the Union in 1992. She was a good all-rounder in sport, and was champion lady rider in 1990 and leading amateur flat jockey in 1989 and 1990. Clare was honoured with the Horse Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) Racing Journalist of the Year Award in 2003 and in 2004 she won both the HWPA Sir Peter O'Sullevan Broadcaster of the Year award and the prestigious Royal Television Society Sports Presenter of the Year award. In 2009, she was praised for "perfect presentation" by the judges of the Broadcast Awards who named the Grand National 2008 as their sports programme of the year.
Dr Carol Ballard has written several children's books on human biology and health. A specialist in primary science, she currently teaches science, mathematics and geography in primary school.
Rosie Banks is the author of brilliant series Secret Princesses and Secret Kingdom. You can find out all about Secret Princesses and much more at the series website: http://www.secretprincessesbooks.co.uk
Nicola Barber is an experienced author and editor of children's non-fiction books.
Gemma Barder is a children's author with 15 years experience of writing fun, exciting and engaging books for children. She started her publishing career in children's magazines, before moving on to editing books and part-works. She soon found her happy place as a freelance writer - tapping away at her laptop in her slippers at her home in Leicestershire with her husband and two daughters close at hand with a cup of Earl Grey.
Sarah grew up in Derbyshire, mainly under a snow drift. She spent much of her childhood scampering in the nearby fields with a few goats. Then she decided to be sensible and studied Illustration at Falmouth College of Arts, graduating in 2001. She has illustrated for many different projects including an ad campaign for Kew Gardens entitled 'Plantastic Play'. She has also undertaken commission from The Guardian and The Independent newspapers. Sarah now specialises in funny, inky illustration and words for children's fiction and picture books. Sarah likes to paint on very big canvas. She loves funny detail, colour, music, dreams and big open spaces.Sarah now works from a studio on a hill in Forest Hill, London.
Nicola Barber is an experienced author and editor of children`s non-fiction books.
Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore
Steve Skidmore writes with Steve Barlow. Together they are Britain's most popular comedy writing and performing double act for young people. Not surprisingly, they are known as The 2 Steves!The 2 Steves met over twenty years ago when they were both teaching in Nottingham. Since then they have written over 160 books together. They have also acted as series editors on numerous reading programmes for several major publishing houses.The 2 Steves are in great demand for author visits to schools, colleges and libraries across the world. They also undertake INSET events and make regular appearances at Literary Festivals.Steve Skidmore is shorter than Steve Barlow and less hairy. He was born in Birstall near Leicester in England. After managing to pass some exams at school, he went on to Nottingham University to supposedly read English, but spent most of his time playing sport and doing a variety of summer jobs including counting pastry pie lids (yes, really). He trained as a teacher of Drama, English and Film studies, before teaming up with Steve Barlow to become a full time author.He lives in Leicester and is a great rugby fan (he supports Leicester Tigers - "Come on you Tiiiiigeeeers!").
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.
Angela Barrett completed a Masters Degree at the Royal College of Art, London and was taught by Quentin Blake. Upon leaving, Angela turned almost immediately to illustration as a career.Her first book was The King, The Cat and The Fiddle, for A&C Black, which was runner up in the Mother Goose Award in 1984. Since then, Angela has illustrated titles and designed book covers for well over 30 titles. Recognition of her work came with the Smarties Prize in 1988 for Can It Be True?, the WH Smith Illustration Award in 1991 for The Hidden House and being shortlisted for the Kurt Maschler Award in 1984 and 1989 and the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1993 for Beware, Beware!The Orchard Book of Stories from the Ballet and The Orchard Book of Shakespeare Stories are exquisitely illustrated by Angela and are regarded as definitive collections. Angela has become a leading figure in illustration and her unique talent is recognised internationally. Her artwork regularly features in exhibitions and is highly collectable. Angela lives in London.
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.
Martyn Beardsley lives just outside Nottingham. As well as writing children's books, he loves reading and writing about history, almost any period. He gets many of his ideas for stories when he's taking his mad dog for a walk early in the morning. Martyn has written over fifteen books: Five Naughty Kittens and The Dog that went Woof, the Sir Gadabout stories, a couple of ghost stories and some history books for children. For adults, he has written one historical biography, a book about England's last duel, and edited the diary of an eighteenth century surgeon-apothecary.
Ian Beck is a popular illustrator of children's books and his work appears frequently in magazines and advertisements. He has designed the jackets of many adult novels including all the Penguin editions of David Lodge and the Alice Thomas Ellis books.Ian's first book for Orchard was Five Little Ducks, which was so successful that a 'Big Book' format was published. The Ugly Duckling and The Orchard Book of Fairy Tales followed and Ian also contributed illustration to The Orchard Book of Opera Stories. Ian has also illustrated The Orchard ABC and Little Angel written by Geraldine McCaughrean.Ian Beck lives in Richmond, Surrey with his wife and three children and keeps in close touch with children through frequent visits to schools and libraries.
A H Benjamin
A H Benjamin is an established children's author with 30 titles to his credit. His books have sold worldwide with more than 20 translations, including Chinese, Korean, Turkish and Arabic. Some of his work has been adapted for radio, television and theatre.He's married with four grown up children and four young grandchildren who have all been his inspiration for writing. He lives in Lincolnshire with wife, Trisha. His hobbies are reading, WRITING, walking and playing the playstation 2 (but only football!).When he was a little boy he dreamt of being a cowboy... He still does!
Jane Bingham is an experienced children's author and editor. She specializes in history and contemporary issues.
James was born in Oxfordshire - he is proud that after 32 years, he has moved one town over from where he was raised (although he does still feel homesick).Previous work includes writing credits on Diddy TV and Gigglebiz, as well as "successfully" convincing 90's pop act Hanson to play at his wedding. Well, they didn't actually play, but they sent him on a honeymoon to Jamaica which James thinks is even better.James spends his spare time thinking of inventive ways to engineer more spare time for himself ... so far unsuccessfully.
Born in Estonia, Aleksei loved to draw as a child and doodled all over his school books. Although he originally intended to become a teacher, his extensive travels brought him back to art. Aleksei studied illustration in London at LCC and Camberwell, where he received his masters degree. Influences on his quirky, humorous illustrations include Tove Jansson and Russian animators. He lives in London with his wife and son.
Sophie Blackall is the illustrator of many picture books, including Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear - winner of the prestigious Caldecott Medal. She lives with her family in New York, but keeps an eye on lighthouses for sale, just in case.
Adam Blade is the name for a small collective of authors who have been writing the bestselling series Beast Quest and Sea Quest for ten years! Beast Quest has now sold over 10 million copies. The newest series from the Adam Blade team is called Team Hero. You can find out more about all these amazing adventures at the series websites: beastquest.co.uk and teamherobooks.co.uk