Alice Albinia read English literature at Cambridge and South Asian history at SOAS, then worked for two years in Delhi as a journalist, critic and editor. Written during an audacious journey through Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Tibet, Empires of the Indus is her first book, for which she won a Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for work in progress.
Gilles Asselin, founder and executive director of New Jersey-based SoCoCo Intercultural, is a program designer, trainer and consultant who helps international executives and managers succeed when working across cultures.
Oliver August was born in 1971 and grew up in Germany. After studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Oxford, he joined The Times and became its youngest-ever New York correspondent. Since 1999, he has been the paper's Beijing bureau chief, living in a traditional Chinese courtyard home near the Forbidden City.
Chris Ayres is the west coast correspondent for The Times. He was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, grew up in the Scottish borders and was educated at the University of Hull and City University, London, before joining The Times in 1997. Ayres held the positions of media business correspondent and Wall Street correspondent, based in New York, before taking up his current position in L.A. He was an embedded reporter with the United States Marines during the 2003 Iraq War, his coverage earning him a nomination for the British Press Awards 'foreign correspondent of the year'.
John Berendt is a journalist and former editor of New York magazine. His first book, MiIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL was an international bestseller. He lives in New York.
John Betjeman was born in 1906 in London, and went to the Highgate Junior School, where his teachers included T.S. Eliot. After leaving Oxford without a degree, Betjeman was briefly a schoolmaster, then worked for Shell as Editor of their Town Guides, and for the Architectural Review. An increasingly popular poet and television personality, he published his long autobiographical poem SUMMONED BY BELLS in 1960, the same year he was awarded his CBE. He was knighted in 1968 and appointed Poet Laureate in 1974. He died in 1984.
Marcus Binney went to Cambridge, and has lectured extensively to historical societies in New York, Boston, Rhode Island, and Virginia on architectural preservation and history. He has fronted a 39-part series - Mansions: The Great Houses of Europe - broadcast in the US between 1993 and 1997.
Sue Clifford And Angela King
Sue Clifford and Angela King founded the charity Common Ground in 1983 to promote local distinctiveness in all its forms and to campaign against the homogenisation of our surroundings. They have published many books, pamphlets and manifestos, and were behind the magnificent Flora Britannica project.
Christopher Dawes has written music journalism since the 1980s under the name Push. He was editor of the clubbing magazine Musik and of the male lifestyle title Mondo. He is the co-author of The Book of E (Omnibus Press, 2000). He lives in London with two ferocious cats, a large collection of records and CDs, and a lunatic across the street.
Almost educated at St Teresa's Convent, Effingham, Cherry Denman went on to study at the Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford and at the Royal College of Art. An acclaimed artist and illustrator, she has written and illustrated several previous books including A Modern Book of Hours and The History Puzzle. Cherry is married with two children and, when not abroad, lives in London, where she tries to ignore the glazed looks of her loyal friends as she recounts her tales of typhoons and tarantulas, and pretends not to care when they assume her West African voodoo fetish earrings come from Accessorize. And how was she supposed to know that samphire was the new broccoli?
Travis Elborough is the author of the critically acclaimed The Bus We Loved and THE LONG-PLAYER GOODBYE, which was the basis of a Radio 2 documentary. He regulary appears on Radio 4 and writes for the Guardian.
Victoria Finlay studied social anthropology at St Andrews University, specialising in Asian culture. She worked as a journalist in Hong Kong for eleven years, five of which were spent as arts editor for the South China Morning Post.
Stephen Games writes about architecture and language. He was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge, made documentaries for BBC Radio 3 and has worked for the Independent, the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, and was deputy editor of the RIBA Journal. In 2002, he edited the radio talks of Nikolaus Pevsner. He has edited several collections of John Betjeman's work including TRAINS AND BUTTERED TOAST, TENNIS WHITES AND TEACAKES and BETJEMAN'S ENGLAND.
George Mackay Brown
George Mackay Brown was one of the greatest Scottish writers of the twentieth century. A prolific poet, admired by such fellow poets as Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney, he was also an accomplished novelist and a master of the short story. He died at the age of 74 on 13 April 1996.
Peter Hopkirk travelled widely in the regions where his six books are set: Central Asia, the Caucasus, China, Russia, India and Pakistan, Iran, and Eastern Turkey. He worked as an ITN reporter, the New York correspondent of the old Daily Express, and - for twenty years - on The Times. No stranger to misadventure, he was twice held in secret police cells and has was also hijacked by Arab terrorists. His works have been translated into many languages. All six of his books are available from John Murray: THE GREAT GAME, ON SECRET SERVICE EAST OF CONSTANTINOPLE, SETTING THE EAST ABLAZE, TRESPASSERS ON THE ROOF OF THE WORLD, FOREIGN DEVILS ON THE SILK ROAD and QUEST FOR KIM.
John Humphrys has reported from all over the world for the BBC and presented its frontline news programmes on both radio and television, in a broadcasting career spanning forty years. He has won a string of national awards and been described as a 'national treasure'. He owned a dairy farm for ten years and has homes in Greece and London.
Michael Jacobs was born in Italy. He studied Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art, from which he has a doctorate. Spain has obsessed him since childhood and his numerous books include Andalucia, Between Hopes and Memories: A Spanish Journey and most recently Alhambra. He is a member of the Andalucian Academy of Gastronomy and in 2002 was made the first foreign knight of 'The Very Noble and Illustrious Order of the Wooden Spoon'.
Dan Kieran is the editor of the original best-selling CRAP trilogy, and the author of I FOUGHT THE LAW. He co-authored THE MYWAY CODE and THREE MEN IN A FLOAT with Ian Vince. He is deputy editor of the Idler.
Simon King was born in Nairobi, but moved to the UK in 1964 and has been working as a natural history film-maker for almost thirty years. Simon has worked on programmes such as Blue Planet and Big Cat Diary and presents Springwatch and Autumnwatch. An expert in his field, Simon has received EMMY, BAFTA and RTS awards for his work, and was awarded the OBE in 2010. He is the author of the bestselling memoir Wild Life.
Sofia A. Koutlaki
Sofia A. Koutlaki was born in Athens in 1964 and has called Greece, Britain and Iran home. She is an independent researcher and writer whose work often explores cultures and how they function. She also works as a freelance translator and English teacher, is currently at work on a novel set in Greece and maintains a blog at www.amongtheiranians.blogspot.com