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The Natural Navigator

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Chris Ryan

Former SAS corporal and the only man to escape death or capture during the Bravo Two Zero operation in the 1991 Gulf War, Chris Ryan turned to writing thrillers to tell the stories the Official Secrets Act stops him putting in his non-fiction. His novels have gone on to inspire the Sky One series Strike Back. Born near Newcastle in 1961, Chris Ryan joined the SAS in 1984. During his ten years there he was involved in overt and covert operations and was also sniper team commander of the anti-terrorist team. During the Gulf War, Chris Ryan was the only member of an eight-man unit to escape from Iraq, where three colleagues were killed and four captured. It was the longest escape and evasion in the history of the SAS. For this he was awarded the Military Medal. He wrote about his experiences in the bestseller The One That Got Away, which was adapted for screen, and since then has written three other works of non-fiction, over twenty bestselling novels and a series of childrens' books.

David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough is a broadcaster and naturalist whose television career is now in its seventh decade. After studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge and a brief stint in publishing, he joined the BBC. Since the launch of his famous Zoo Quest series in 1954 he has surveyed almost every aspect of life on earth and brought it to the viewing public. His latest programme, Blue Planet II, was the most-watched nature documentary of all time.

David Shimwell

David Shimwell is a botanist and a close family friend of the Durrells. He graduated from Durham University with degrees in botany and vegetation ecology and has had a lifelong career lecturing in botany, biogeography and environmental conservation at the universities of Hull and Manchester.

Dreda Say Mitchell

Born and bred in the East End of London, Dreda Say Mitchell has seen it all from the inside. After a string of jobs as a waitress, chambermaid and catering assistant she realised her dream of becoming a teacher. During this time she saw a new generation of East Enders grappling with the same problems she had but in an even more violent and unforgiving world. Dreda's books are inspired by the gritty, tough and criminal world she grew up in. She still lives in London's East End. Her debut, RUNNING HOT, was published in 2004 and won the Crime Writers' Association's John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for best first novel. She is the author of eight more novels and is currently writing the FLESH AND BLOOD series, set on 'The Devil's Estate' in Mile End. In 2016, she became a Reading Ambassador for the Reading Agency to promote literacy and libraries.Website: www.dredasaymitchell.com Facebook: /dredasaymitchell Twitter: @DredaMitchell

Eleanor O’Reilly

Eleanor O'Reilly is a teacher of English and Classical Studies who has just completed an MA in Creative Writing, at Manchester Metropolitan University. Having first started writing five years ago, she has received several literary prizes, including the 2015 RTE Francis McManus Radio Short Story Award and the 2013 William Trevor International Short Story Award, and has been shortlisted for several others, including the 2016 Colm Toibin Literary Award. She lives in Ireland with her husband Brian Kelly, their daughter Ella Kelly, and a whole menagerie of pets. M for Mammy is her debut novel.

Emily Dean

Emily Dean is a radio presenter, podcaster and journalist. She is co-presenter with Frank Skinner on his immensely popular Absolute Radio show on Saturday mornings, and also the host of The Times' highly successful Walking the Dog podcast. As a journalist, Emily has been Deputy Editor of InStyle and has also written for The Times, The Sunday Times, Evening Standard and Glamour magazine. She has also produced entertainment shows for TV, such as The Big Fat Quiz of the Year with Jimmy Carr.

Fiona Stafford

Fiona Stafford is Professor of English at the University of Oxford. She specialises in literature of the Romantic period (especially Wordsworth, Austen, Burns, Keats, Clare), Scottish and Irish literature, contemporary poetry, environmental humanities and nature writing, literature and the visual arts. In addition to academic books and essays, she contributes to newspapers, literary magazines, art books, Radio 3's The Essay and collections of nature writing. She is the author of The Long, Long Life of Trees, and Jane Austen: A Brief Life.

Glen David Gold

Glen David Gold was born and grew up in California, where he currently lives. His first novel, CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL was published in 2001, when it was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, and has been translated into 14 languages. His second novel, SUNNYSIDE, was published in 2009. His short stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Playboy and McSweeney's.

Graham Norton

Graham Norton is one of the UK's best loved broadcasters. He presents The Graham Norton Show on BBC1, has a weekly show on BBC Radio 2, and writes a column for the Telegraph. He is the winner of nine BAFTA awards. Born in Dublin and raised in West Cork, Norton now lives in London. His debut novel Holding was a commercial and critical success, winning Norton the Irish Independent Popular Fiction award at the Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards in 2016.

Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin is one of the most influential writers on the linked subjects of habits, happiness, and human nature. She's the author of many books, including the New York Times bestsellers, Better Than Before and The Happiness Project. A member of Oprah's SuperSoul 100, Rubin has an enormous following, in print and online; her books have sold more than 2 million copies worldwide, in more than 35 languages; and on her popular daily blog, gretchenrubin.com, she reports on her adventures in pursuit of habits and happiness. She also has an award-winning podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin. She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.gretchenrubin.com twitter | facebook | instagram

Helena Coggan

Helena Coggan is a writer and student based in London. She wrote her first novel, THE CATALYST, at the age of thirteen; it was published by Hodder and Stoughton two years later, and named as one of 2015's Debuts of the Year by the Guardian and Amazon. The second book in the duology, THE REACTION, came out when she was sixteen. She has been called 'the next JK Rowling' by NBC's Today, and in 2016 she was named by the Guardian as one of the most influential teenagers in the world. She is currently studying physics at university, for the sole purpose of building a TARDIS one day. THE ORPHANAGE OF GODS is her third novel.

Henry Blofeld

Henry began writing about cricket, for The Times, in May 1962 and in 1972 he started his long career as a commentator with the BBC's Test Match Special. During his career he has written for numerous papers and broadcast for both radio and television for many networks around the world especially in Australia and New Zealand. Between 1991 and 1993 he joined Sky Television before returning to Test Match Special after the death of Brian Johnston early in 1994. Since 2002 Henry Blofeld has performed in his humorous one-man show in theatres all round the country, and later he teamed up with his former TMS producer, Peter Baxter, for more than 250 two-man shows. His current two-man show team-mate is former England off spinner, Graeme Swann.

Henry Normal

Henry Normal is an English comedian, television producer, poet and writer. He co-wrote The Royle Family, The Mrs Merton Show, Paul and Pauline Calf's Video Diaries, Coogan's Run, The Tony Ferrino Phenomenon, Dr Terrible's House of Horrible and The Parole Officer. He is Managing Director of Baby Cow Productions Ltd, which he set up with Steve Coogan, responsible for bringing The Mighty Boosh and Gavin and Stacey to the screen, amongst many others.

Hugo Vickers

Hugo Vickers is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and an acknowledged expert on the British Royal Family. He has written biographies of the Queen Mother, Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, Cecil Beaton, Vivien Leigh, Princess Andrew of Greece and the Duchess of Windsor. His book The Kiss won the 1996 Stern Silver Pen Award for Non-Fiction. His polemic, The Crown - Truth & Fiction attracted international publicity in 2018.

James Bowen

James Bowen is the author of the bestselling A Street Cat Named Bob and The World According to Bob. He found Bob the cat in 2007 and the pair have been inseparable ever since. They both live in London.

James Pope-Hennessy

James Pope-Hennessy was a British biographer and travel writer. His books included London Fabric (for which he was awarded the Hawthornden Prize), Sins of the Fathers (an account of the Atlantic slave traffickers), Anthony Trollope and Queen Victoria at Windsor and Balmoral. He died in 1974.

Jenny Meldrum

Jenny Meldrum lives in Sussex with her husband, three children and Isla, her greedy black Labrador. She paints from her studio (posh word for shed) in her garden, eternally distracted by wild rabbits, moorhens, deerand a particularly pesky heron. Despite her love of art since childhood, Jenny had no formal training and began her career as an actress, only returning to painting when her own children were at school. She has since privately exhibited seascapes and views of the South Downs. In 2016 she illustrated Miranda Hart's book Peggy and Me.

Jill Dawson

Jill Dawson is the author of the novels Trick of the Light, Magpie, Fred and Edie, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, Wild Boy, Watch Me Disappear, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize, The Great Lover, Lucky Bunny, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Crime Writer, which won the East Anglian Book of the Year. An award-winning poet, she has also edited several poetry and short story anthologies.Jill Dawson has held many Fellowships, including the Creative Writing Fellowship at the University of East Anglia. In 2008 she founded a mentoring scheme for new writers, Gold Dust. She lives in the Cambridgeshire Fens.www.jilldawson.co.uk

Jon Day

Jon Day is a writer, academic and keen fisherman. He is a lecturer in English Literature at King's College London, and his essays and reviews have appeared in the London Review of Books, n+1, the Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian and the White Review. He is also a regular book critic for the Financial Times and the Telegraph, and is a contributing editor for the Junket, an online literary quarterly. His first book, Cyclogeography: Journeys of a London Bicycle Courier, was published in 2015.

Justin Butcher

Justin Butcher read Classics Greats at Oxford, trained subsequently at Drama Studio London, and has worked all over the world as actor, writer, director and musician in a vast range of roles and productions in theatre, television, radio and film. He has worked extensively as creative consultant in the business, government and voluntary sectors, across the UK and Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa.