Related to: 'From Prejudice to Pride: A History of LGBTQ+ Movement'

Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

David Melling

David Melling is the international bestselling author and illustrator who first came to our attention with the critically acclaimed The Kiss That Missed, and whose The Tale of Jack Frost went from page to animated TV feature, voiced by Hugh Laurie. Here he talks to Graham Marks about how he became a children’s book illustrator, his influences, his passions and why he loves Twitter…

Alex T. Smith

Author-illustrator Alex T. Smith is the award-winning creator of the bestselling Claude series, which is published in 16 languages worldwide, and is now a TV show on Disney Junior. Alex's newest series, Mr Penguin, launched in 2017, to widespread praise. Alex's quirky, witty writing and illustrations are instantly recognisable, critically acclaimed and as popular with adults as children. Alex is also widely praised for his work illustrating children's classics: he won Children's Book of the World Illustration Award for his illustrations in a new edition of Dodie Smith's The Hundred and One Dalmatians; he has created new art for books by Enid Blyton, Eva Ibbotson and Richmal Crompton. Alex has collaborated with Watership Down author Richard Adams on his last book, Egg Box Dragon, as well as David Almond and Juno Dawson. Alex has won the UKLA Picture Book Award and the Sainsbury's Children's Book Award, and been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Award. He has also been the official World Book Day illustrator.

Allen Zadoff

Allen Zadoff's first YA, Food, Girls, andOther Things I Can't Have, was published by Egmont in 2009 and was a 2010 recipient of the Sid Fleishchman Humor Award. His adult memoir, Hungry, was published in 2007. Allen's YA "lad lit" novel My Life, The Theater, and Other Tragedies was published by Egmont in May2011 and his next YA novel, Since You Left Me, will publish in August 2012. He teaches writing in LA.

Charlie Fletcher

Having studied English Literature at university , Charlie began his career in the film business carrying cans of film round Soho and making very bad cups of tea on the principal that he'd then be asked to do something a bit more interesting, a strategy that he recommends to anyone starting out as a tea-boy. He progressed to the BBC where he worked in film editing on everything from Drama to Current Affairs. He then went to California where he morphed into a screenwriter, having been awarded a Warner Brothers Fellowship in Screenwriting at USC School of Cinema and TV. He's written screenplays for Tri-Star, MGM, Paramount and Warner Bros among others. He continues to write for the movies, and also television. He still thinks that being a film editor is a pretty damn fine way to learn about story-telling in general, and narrative structure and pacing in particular. Charlie also moved into other types of writing including magazine features, a computer game and as both a national Sunday newspaper columnist and restaurant reviewer. Finally he found the way to combine all those writing strands and produced some rattling-good children's books! The Stoneheart trilogy has been a massive international hit and Charlie has recently sold the movie rights of Stoneheart to Paramount. He has also been asked to write the screenplay himself, which just shows you should never make plans, since he actually wrote the books to get away from Hollywood for a bit... In his personal life, Charlie met and married his wife, a fellow Scot, in LA. They have two children, whom Charlie calls his first, most important, and toughest audience. They've all now returned from California and live in Edinburgh with a terrier called Archie.

Clive Gifford

Clive Gifford is the author of more than 150 children's books including Eye Benders, winner of the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize, Royal Society-nominated Out of This World and Cool Technology which won the School Library Association Information Book Award. He has travelled through 70 countries, run a computer games company and taken part in all manner of sports from parachuting and gliding to Ultimate Frisbee. Clive's official website can be found at www.clivegifford.co.uk

David Almond

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

David Grimstone

David Lee Stone is best known for his series The Illmoor Chronicles. His books have been published in many countries and in several different languages. He started writing at the age of 10 and was submitting manuscripts to publishers by the time he was 13. David currently lives in the town of Ramsgate, Kent. He is married with two children, and makes increasingly crazy videos on his 'David Grimstone' youtube channel.

Giles Andreae

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.

Hilary Mckay

Born in Boston, Lincolnshire, Hilary McKay grew up in a household of readers and read voraciously from an early age. After studying Botany and Zoology at St Andrews University, she went on to work as a biochemist, but always wanted to write. Hilary's novels have won numerous awards including the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Smarties Award and the Whitbread Children's Book Award. She lives in a small village in Derbyshire with her family.

Izzi Howell

Izzi Howell is the author and editor of over fifty children's books. She lives in East Sussex and enjoys learning languages, cooking and travelling around Europe.

Jackson Pearce

Jackson Pearce currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, with a slightly cross-eyed cat and a lot of second-hand furniture. She recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and a minor in Philosophy. She auditioned for the circus once, but didn't make it; other jobs she's had include obituaries writer, biker bar waitress, and receptionist. Jackson began writing when she got angry that the school librarian couldn't tell her of a book that contained a smart girl, horses, baby animals, and magic. Her solution was to write the book herself when she was twelve. Her parents thought it was cute at first, but have grown steadily more concerned for her ever since.Sisters Red is Jackson's debut novel in the UK. Her first novel As You Wish has recieved rave reviews in the US.

Julie Plec

Julie Plec juggles work in film and television as both a producer and a writer. She is the co-creator and executive producer of The Vampire Diaries. She created The Vampire Diaries spin-off, The Originals, which tells the story of history's first vampire family, and collaborated with Greg Berlanti and Phil Klemmer on The Tomorrow People, the story of a small group of people gifted with extraordinary paranormal abilities, making them the next evolutionary leap of mankind.Plec got her start as a television writer on the ABC Family series Kyle XY, which she also produced for its three-year run.

Kate O'Hearn

Kate O'Hearn was raised in the heart of New York City. Throughout her life, she has always had an active and vivid imagination. As a child walking down Fifth Avenue, she would envision herself soaring among the city's canyons on the back of a wild dragon. While in Florida, looking over the sea, she could imagine living amongst the whales and breaching in the heavy swells. At night, a star studded sky was yet another playground. These dreams and ideas never faded. Instead they grew until they spilled over into the books she loves to write.Kate's first book, Shadow of the Dragon: Kira, won the 1066 Schools' Book Award.

Lauren St John

Lauren St John is the author of several books on sports and music, as well as the award-winning children's series THE WHITE GIRAFFE, the BLUE PETER BOOK AWARD-winning LAURA MARLIN series and THE ONE DOLLAR HORSE trilogy. Her first adult novel, THE OBITUARY WRITER, was published in 2013. Lauren St John is one of the lead voices of Authors4 Oceans, a collective of 50 writers calling to ban the use of plastics in the book industry.Visit Lauren's website at www.laurenstjohn.com, like her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Lauren-St-John/120957211278399 and follow her on Twitter @laurenstjohn

Leo Hunt

Leo Hunt was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1991. He grew up around books, and his mother's job at Seven Stories in Newcastle left a strong impression on his choice of career. He realised he wanted to either be an author or an archeologist - but when he learned that archaeologists didn't unearth piles of perfectly preserved dinosaur bones every time they put a spade in the ground, he decided on the former. Leo started writing his debut novel, Thirteen Days of Midnight when he was 19, in his first year at the University of East Anglia. It went on to be shortlisted for the 2016 Waterstones Children's Book Prize. He currently lives in London.

Narinder Dhami

Narinder Dhami is the author of popular fiction series The Beautiful Game, about a girls' football team, many books in the hugely successful Rainbow Magic series and the bestselling novelisation of the film Bend it Like Beckham. She was a primary teacher before she began writing full time. She lives with her husband in Shropshire.

Olivia Chase

Olivia Chase is the pseudonym for Rosie Best. A writer, editor, nerd and procrastinator, Rosie has three cats called Midnight, Misty and Imp, and loves singing, video games and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She's written lots of fiction for younger readers, as well as the YA novels, Skulk, Demon Hunters: Trinity and Demon Hunters: Ascension. You can find her on Twitter: @rosiejbest

Robert Muchamore

ROBERT MUCHAMORE was born in Islington in 1972. As a teenager he dreamt of either becoming an architect, a photographer or a writer. On discovering that architects have to train for seven years and after quitting his Saturday job in a camera shop, he saved up enough money to buy a word processor and set his heart on writing. The only problem was, he didn't know what to write. So, he found a regular job and spent thirteen years as a private investigator. He was inspired to start writing again by his nephew's complaints about the lack of anything decent to read. Robert's CHERUB and Henderson's Boys series are bestsellers around the world. Robert grew up listening to mix tapes sent to him by his older brother, developing tastes for indie bands like Joy Division, The Pogues and The Smiths. The idea for Rock War came from seeing that many of Robert's fans turned up at book signings wearing the logos of long dead rock bands, and a realisation that his online fan forum had more kids talking about the X-Factor than about his books. For more information, go to www.muchamore.com.

Sara Holland

Sara Holland grew up in small-town Minnesota among hundreds of books. After graduating from university, she worked in a tea shop, a dentist's office, and a state capitol building before heading to New York to work in publishing. These days, she can be found exploring the city's bookstores and consuming too much caffeine.You can find her at:www.sarahollandwrites.comTwitter - @Sara_HollandInstagram - @sarahollandwrites

Sarah Mlynowski

Sarah Mlynowski started writing books when she was three years old. Kind of. She would tell them and her mom would transcribe them. They were all about Princesses named Sarah. After learning to use her own pencil, she continued scribbling stories throughout elementary and high school, and studied English literature in college.When she was twenty-four she published her first chick lit novel, Milkrun. Since then she has written five novels for teens, four additional novels for adults, co-written a guide to writing chick lit (See Jane Write), co-edited two bestselling charity collections, and contributed to various anthologies. Originally from Montreal, Sarah now lives in Manhattan.

Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Sarah Moore Fitzgerald was born in New York in 1965 but grew up in Co. Dublin. She's a professor and associate vice president at the University of Limerick in Ireland, specialising in psychology and effective pedagogy in higher education, and has published several non-fiction books on teaching, learning and academic writing. She runs regular writers' retreats for academics and students in Ireland and internationally.Follow her on Twitter @SMooreFitz