Related to: 'How Britain Really Works'

Akala

Akala is a BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist, writer and social entrepreneur, as well as the co-founder of The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company.With an extensive global touring history, Akala has appeared at numerous festivals both in the UK and internationally, and has led innovative projects in the arts, education and music across South East Asia, Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand. Akala has also appeared on Channel 4, ITV, MTV, Sky Arts and the BBC promoting his music and poetry, and speaking on wide-ranging subjects from music, race, youth engagement, British/African-Caribbean culture and the arts, with numerous online lectures and performances that have millions of views on YouTube. More recently known for his compelling lectures and journalism - he has been awarded an honorary degree from Oxford Brookes University and the University of Brighton, written for the Guardian, Huffington Post and the Independent, and spoken for the Oxford Union and TEDx - Akala has gained a reputation as one of the most dynamic and articulate talents in the UK.

Andy Cope

Andy describes himself as an author, happiness expert, qualified teacher and learning junkie. He has spent 10 years researching 'positive psychology' culminating in a 'PhD in Happiness' from Loughborough University. He has developed a series of keynotes and courses centreing on themes of happiness and flourishing, which he delivers in businesses and schools across the world. Andy has written several best-selling personal development books, including The Art of Being Brilliant, and is also a best-selling children's author. His Spy Dog series has enjoyed huge global success.

Ben Okri

Ben Okri is a poet and novelist and has published many books, including The Famished Road, which won the Booker Prize, and The Age of Magic. He has also written several poetry collections, including An African Elegy, Mental Fight and Wild. His work has been translated into 27 languages and won numerous international prizes. Born in Nigeria, he lives in London.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson was appointed Foreign Secretary in July 2016. He was elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in 2015. Before this he was the Editor of the Spectator, Member of Parliament for Henley on Thames, Shadow Minister for the Arts and Shadow Minister for Higher Education. He is the author of many books, most recently the international bestseller The Churchill Factor. Other titles include Johnson's Life of London (re-issued as The Spirit of London), Have I Got Views for You and Dream of Rome.

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.

Erik Durschmied

Erik Durschmied was born in Vienna in 1930. After the Second World War he emigrated to Canada. A television war correspondent for the BBC and CBS, Durschmied covered every major crisis, from Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Belfast, Beirut, Chile, to Cuba and Afghanistan. Winner of numerous awards, Newsweek wrote 'Durschmied is a supremely gifted reporter who has transformed the media he works in.' And in Le Monde: 'He's survived more battles than any living general.' Erik has just been appointed Professor of Military History at The Military Academy of Austria. He lives in Paris and Provence with his family.

Gerald Seymour

Gerald Seymour exploded onto the literary scene in 1975 with the massive bestseller HARRY'S GAME. The first major thriller to tackle the modern troubles in Northern Ireland, it was described by Frederick Forsyth as 'like nothing else I have ever read' and it changed the landscape of the British thriller forever.Gerald Seymour was a reporter at ITN for fifteen years. He covered events in Vietnam, Borneo, Aden, the Munich Olympics, Israel and Northern Ireland. He has been a full-time writer since 1978.Gerald was interviewed recently on Andrew Marr's Sleuths, Spies and Sorcerers on BBC TV.

Giles Milton

Giles Milton is a writer and historian. He is the internationally bestselling author of Nathaniel's Nutmeg, Big Chief Elizabeth, The Riddle and the Knight, White Gold, Samurai William, Paradise Lost, Wolfram and Russian Roulette. He has also written three novels and three children's books. His books have been translated into twenty languages. He lives in south London.Find out more about Giles and his books on his website, www.gilesmilton.com, and Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giles_Milton, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/survivehistory and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/pages/Giles-Milton-Writer/121068034610842.

Jo Tatchell

Jo Tatchell is a journalist who writes on Middle Eastern culture for UK and US media including the Guardian. Her first book, NABEEL'S SONG, was published in 2006 and was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award; A DIAMOND IN THE DESERT followed in 2009.

John Humphrys

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.

Krish Kandiah

Krish Kandiah is Founder and Director of the adoption and fostering charity Home for Good and an Ambassador for the relief charity Tearfund. He is in demand as a speaker, consultant and social entrepreneur. He lives with his wife and seven children, including fostered and adopted children, in Oxfordshire, UK.

Marina Fiorato

Marina Fiorato is half-Venetian. She was born in Manchester and raised in the Yorkshire Dales. She is a history graduate of Oxford University and the University of Venice, where she read for a master's degree in Shakespeare. After university she studied art and worked in the film and music industries, creating visuals for U2, The Rolling Stones and the Queen musical We Will Rock You. Her novels Daughter of Siena and Beatrice & Benedick were shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association Historial Fiction Award. Marina was married on the Grand Canal and lives in north London with her husband, son and daughter. You can find out more about Marina and her writing at www.marinafiorato.com and follow her on Twitter @marinafiorato

Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg is a writer and broadcaster. His novels include The Hired Man, for which he won the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, Without a City Wall, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, The Soldier's Return, winner of the WHSmith Literary Award, A Son of War and Crossing the Lines, both of which were longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, A Place in England, which was longlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize, and most recently Grace and Mary. He has also written several works of non-fiction, the most recent being The Book of Books about the King James Bible. He lives in London and Cumbria.

Michael Jones

Michael Jones was awarded a history PhD by Bristol University, and subsequently taught at Glasgow University and Winchester College. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the British Commission for Military History, and works now as a writer, media consultant and presenter. He has written books on the battles of Bosworth, Agincourt and Stalingrad, the siege of Leningrad and the battle for Moscow, as well as Total War: From Stalingrad to Berlin. Most recently he has co-authored The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III.

Mick Herron

Mick Herron's first Jackson Lamb novel, Slow Horses, was described as the 'most enjoyable British spy novel in years' by the Mail on Sunday and picked as one of the best twenty spy novels of all time by the Daily Telegraph. The second, Dead Lions, won the 2013 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger. The third, Real Tigers, was shortlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and both the CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger and the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. The fourth, Spook Street, was shortlisted for the Gold Dagger and won the Steel Dagger. London Rules is the fifth.Mick Herron was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives in Oxford.

Robert Peston

Robert Peston is ITV's political editor, presenter of the politics show Peston on Sunday and founder of the education charity, Speakers for Schools (www.speakers4schools.org). He has written four books, How Do We Fix This Mess?, Who Runs Britain?, Brown's Britain and WTF?. For a decade until the end of 2015, he was at the BBC, as economics editor and business editor. Previously he was City editor at the Sunday Telegraph, political editor and financial editor at the FT, a columnist for the New Statesman, and at the Independent in various roles. Peston has won more than 30 awards for his journalism, including Journalist of the Year from the Royal Television Society. His blog is itv.com/robertpeston, on Facebook he is facebook.com/pestonITV and he is @peston on Twitter.

Rory Clements

Rory Clements is the award-winning author of the John Shakespeare series of Tudor spy thrillers. His six acclaimed novels, Martyr, Revenger, Prince, Traitor, The Heretics and The Queen's Man, follow Elizabeth's Intelligencer, John Shakespeare, brother to the playwright William, through the dark underworld of Tudor England as he unmasks the traitors and conspirators who plot against the Queen. Rory Clements won the Crime Writers' Association Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award in 2010 for Revenger, and has been shortlisted for CWA Awards for Martyr, Prince and The Heretics. A TV series is currently in development. Find out more at www.roryclements.co.uk

Ruth Davidson

Ruth Davidson is the leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and the MSP for Edinburgh Central. First elected in 2011, she won the party leadership later that same year, becoming - at the age of 32 - the youngest leader of a major political party anywhere in the UK as well as the first openly gay leader in UK history.Prior to politics, Ruth worked as a journalist. Starting in newspapers, she moved into broadcasting. Spending the majority of her career at the BBC, she worked variously as a presenter, producer, reporter and documentary maker.She lives in Edinburgh with her fiancé, Jen and their cocker spaniel, Wilson. The couple are expecting their first child imminently.

Stephen Bates

Stephen Bates is the Guardian`s award-winning Religious Affairs Correspondent. Educated at New College, Oxford, he has reported from many parts of the world for the Guardian and other national newspapers during a thirty-year career in journalism. He travelled extensively in the US, interviewing many of the key players on the American religious scene for this book. Stephen Bates was named British Religious Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2006 and is the author of the internationally praised A Church at War (Hodder). He is married with three children and lives in Kent.

Stephen Leather

Stephen Leather is one of the UK's most successful thriller writers, an ebook and Sunday Times bestseller and author of the critically acclaimed Dan 'Spider' Shepherd series and the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective novels. Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He is one of the country's most successful ebook authors and his titles have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in the UK and the US. His bestsellers have been translated into fifteen languages and he has also written for television.You can learn more from Stephen's website, www.stephenleather.com, find him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenleather.Stephen also has a website for his Spider Shepherd series, www.danspidershepherd.com, and for his Jack Nightingale series, www.jacknightingale.com.