Related to: 'Poems from the Edge of Extinction'

Alister McGrath

Alister McGrath is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, and Fellow of Harris Manchester College, Oxford. After initial academic work in the natural sciences, Alister turned to the study of theology and intellectual history, while occasionally becoming engaged in broader cultural debates about the rationality and relevance of the Christian faith. He is the author of many academic and theological works, as well as the bestselling The Dawkins Delusion and, most recently, his acclaimed C. S. Lewis - A Life.

Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott is a best-selling American novelist and non-fiction writer. She was the subject of Freida Lee's 1999 documentary Bird by Bird with Annie:A Film Portrait of Writer Annie Lamott. Her previous works include: Blue Shoe, Crooked Little Heart and Imperfect Birds.

Anya Seton

Anya Seton was born in New York City and grew up on her father's large estate in Cos Cob and Greenwich, Connecticut, where visiting Indians taught her Indian dancing and woodcraft. One Sioux chief called her Anutika, which means 'cloud grey eyes', a name which the family shortened to Anya. She was educated by governesses, and then travelled abroad, first to England, then to France where she hoped to become a doctor. She studied for a while at the Hotel Dieu hospital in Paris before marrying at eighteen and having three children. She began writing in 1938 with a short story sold to a newspaper syndicate and the first of her novels was published in 1941. She died in 1990.

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.

Benny Lewis

Irish native Benny Lewis speaks over ten languages - all self-taught. In 2003, he spoke only one language: English. After university, he moved to Spain and was soon frustrated that he could not speak Spanish after six months of studying. So he decided to abandon traditional learning approaches and just start speaking - and everything changed. Today Benny is known as The Irish Polyglot and speaks Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Hungarian. He is the author of the bestselling book on language learning, Fluent in 3 months. He also runs the largest language learning blog in the world, www.fluentin3months.com, where he breaks down the language learning process for busy people. Lewis is a full-time 'language hacker', and devotes his time to finding better, faster, and more efficient ways to learn languages. For the first time, he has applied his methods to helping people learn specific languages in his new Language Hacking series.

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.

Charlie Cleverly

Charlie Cleverly is Rector of St Aldates, Oxford, one of the UK's leading Anglican churches and part of the New Wine network, with a strong student contingent. He is the author of several books, most recently A Passion That Shapes Nations.

Chris McCabe

Chris McCabe's poetry collections are The Hutton Inquiry, Zeppelins, THE RESTRUCTURE (all Salt Publishing) and, most recently, Speculatrix (Penned in the Margins). He has recorded a CD with the Poetry Archive was shortlisted for The Ted Hughes Award in 2013 for his collaborative book with Maria Vlotides, Pharmapoetica. His plays Shad Thames, Broken Wharf and Mudflats, which won a Northern Arts Award, have been performed in London and Liverpool. He has read his work at venues including Southbank Centre, the British Library, the BFI, the Whitechapel Gallery and the Wellcome as well as performing at festivals such as Latitude and Ledbury. He is writing a series of creative non-fiction books that aim to discover a great lost poet in one of London's Magnificent Seven cemeteries. This began in 2014 with In the Catacombs: a Summer Among the Dead Poets of West Norwood Cemetery (which was selected as an LRB Bookshop book of the year) and was followed in 2016 with Cenotaph South: Mapping the Lost Poets of Nunhead Cemetery. The project has been awarded Grants for Arts funding from Arts Council England. He is also the author of Real South Bank (Seren, 2016) and with Victoria Bean he is the co-editor of The New Concrete: Visual Poetry in the 21st Century (Hayward Publishing, 2015). His first novel, Dedalus, will be published by Henningham Family Press in 2018.

Christopher Matthew

Christopher Matthew is the author of Now We Are Sixty, Now We Are Sixty (And a Bit) Summoned by Balls and When We Were Fifty. He reviews books for the Daily Mail, and is regularly heard on BBC Radio 4. He lives in London and Suffolk.

Edward Stourton

Edward Stourton has worked in broadcasting for 38 years, and regularly presents BBC Radio Four programmes such as The World at One, The World This Weekend, Sunday and Analysis. He has been a foreign correspondent for Channel Four, ITN and the BBC, and for ten years he was one of the main presenters of the Today programme.

Franny Moyle

Franny Moyle has a degree in English and History of Art from St John's College, Cambridge. She enjoyed a career in arts programming at the BBC that culminated in her becoming the corporation's first Commissioner for Arts and Culture. She is now a freelance executive producer and writer as well as a director of the Hackney Empire, which is near her home in East London. She is married and has three children.

Gavin Extence

Gavin Extence lives in Sheffield with his wife and children. He has written two previous novels, the Richard and Judy bestseller, THE UNIVERSE VERSUS ALEX WOODS and THE MIRROR WORLD OF MELODY BLACK, which was described as 'a cross between Bridget Jones' Diary and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' by a Simon Mayo Book Club reviewer.

James Frey

James Frey is originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His books A Million Little Pieces, My Friend Leonard, Bright Shiny Morning and The Final Testament of the Holy Bible have all been bestsellers around the world. He is married and lives in New York.

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

John Betjeman

John Betjeman was born in London on 28 August 1906. He was educated at Marlborough and Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1931 his first book of poems, 'Mount Zion', was published by an old Oxford friend, Edward James. His second book was 'Ghastly Good Taste', a commentary on architecture, published in 1934. He was knighted in 1969 and was appointed Poet Laureate in 1972. John Betjeman died on 19 May 1984 at his home in Trebetherick, Cornwall and was buried at the nearby church of St Enodoc.

John Gielgud

Sir John Gielgud spent a lifetime on the stage and in front of the camera; his first film was in 1924 when he starred as Daniel in Who Is The Man? Venerated for giving gravitas to a variety of Shakespearean roles, Gielgud made the role of respected old sage his own, and is considered by many to have been one of the greatest actors of the twentieth century. He died in May 2000.

Kevin Powers

Kevin Powers was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. A former soldier who served with the US army in Iraq in 2004-5, he studied English at Virginia Commonwealth University after his honorable discharge and received an MFA in Poetry from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. His debut novel, The Yellow Birds, won the Guardian First book Award, the Hemingway Foundation/Pen Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His first collection of poetry, Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting, was published in 2014 and was shortlisted for both the TS Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize.

Lucy Mangan

Lucy was educated in Catford and Cambridge. She was briefly a very bad solicitor before leaving for a much nicer job in a bookshop. She got work experience at the Guardian and hung around until they gave her a job. She is now a columnist and features writer there and writes for magazines, including Grazia, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan - whenever they ask her.

Lucy Worsley

Lucy Worsley is an historian, author, curator and television presenter. Lucy read history at New College, Oxford and worked for English Heritage before becoming Chief Curator at the charity Historic Royal Palaces. She also presents history programmes for the BBC, and her bestselling books include Jane Austen at Home, A Very British Murder: The Curious Story of how Crime was Turned into Art, If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home, Courtiers: the Secret History of the Georgian Court and Cavalier: The Story of a 17th century Playboy.

Michel Thomas

Michel Thomas (1914-2005) had an amazing life. Born in Poland, he spent his early years in Germany and then in France, where he studied psychology at the Sorbonne in Paris. When war broke out, he fought with the Resistance and suffered imprisonment in labour camps. At the end of the war he joined the US liberation army and later settled in the US where he established his world-famous language school. Languages, being his strength and passion became the focus of the next 50 years of his life that he spent developing a method that he hoped would change the way we teach and learn - so that everyone could succeed. He developed this method 'that works with the brain'. After creating several courses of his own, he passed on his method so that other teachers might use it too.