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Martin Amis published his first novel, The Rachel Papers, at the age of twenty-four. Following his award-winning debut with a string of stylistically complex novels, including Money (1984) and Time’s Arrow (1991), he is widely regarded as one of Britain’s leading literary figures, and an innovative postmodernist. In 2007 he was appointed as Professor of Creative Writing at Manchester University’s Centre for New Writing, his first teaching post. His controversial writings about terrorism following the events of September 11, 2001, were collected in The Second Plane (2008). He lives in London.
Danny Boyle is an Academy Award–winning director and producer born in Radcliffe, Manchester, in 1956. After reinvigorating British cinema in the 1990s with the dark comedies Shallow Grave and Trainspotting, he entered the mainstream with his film adaptation of Alex Garland’s The Beach (2001). Since then he has dabbled in different genres, including apocalyptic horror (with the box-office smash 28 Days Later, 2002) and science fiction (Sunshine, 2007). His film Slumdog Millionaire (2008), which was filmed in Mumbai using a local cast and crew, won multiple prizes at the 2009 Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and BAFTAs.
Tracy Chevalier is a bestselling novelist whose works mix meticulously researched historical fact with compelling, imagined narratives. A graduate of the University of East Anglia’s MA course in creative writing, she is best known for her second novel, Girl With a Pearl Earring (1999), a fictional meditation on the Vermeer painting of the same name, which was followed by a blockbuster film adaptation in 2003. Her 2010 novel Remarkable Creatures is based on the life of nineteenth-century fossil hunter Mary Anning. She lives in Hampstead, London, with her husband and son.
Daniel Day-Lewis is an award-winning actor, renowned for his considered selection of roles and extreme dedication to his performances. After a youth spent in Greenwich and a period at Bristol’s Old Vic Theatre School, he drew critical attention in 1985 with his performance in Stephen Frears’s My Beautiful Launderette, and went on to star in such films as The Last of the Mohicans, In the Name of the Father, and Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence. He has received multiple awards throughout his career, and has twice won the Academy Award for best actor, including for his portrayal of deranged oil prospector Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood (2007).
Michel Faber’s Dutch nationality belies the fact he has spent much of his life living elsewhere: he moved with his family to Australia in 1967 and has been settled in Scotland since 1992. His debut novel, Under the Skin, which mixes elements of science fiction with a sardonic literary sensibility, was published in 2000 and subsequently shortlisted for the Whitbread first novel award. In 2002, after twenty years of writing and research, he published The Crimson Petal and the White, a contemporary vision of the perversities of Victorian London, which became an instant bestseller. His book The Fire Gospel (2008) is a present-day reworking of the Prometheus myth.
Jim Crace’s fiction looks to new worlds, imaginatively reconfiguring the past and future to create odd perspectives on the present day. In 1986 he won the Whitbread prize for a first novel with his debut, Continent—seven short stories set on an imaginary new corner of the Earth. He repeated this success with Quarantine (a reimagining of Jesus’ forty days in the desert), which won the 1997 award for best novel and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He is a member of the Royal Society for Literature and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Central England in 2000.
Damon Galgut is best known for his novel The Good Doctor, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2003. Born in 1963 in Pretoria, South Africa, he published his first novel, A Sinless Season, at the age of seventeen. This was followed by A Small Circle of Beings (1988), a collection of short stories about his diagnosis of cancer at the age of six. His novel The Impostor (2008) won the University of Johannesburg Prize for creative writing, South Africa’s second largest literary prize. He lives in Cape Town.
Adrian Anthony Gill is a journalist and critic whose acerbic views on travel, television, and food are among the most widely read in Britain. Born in Edinburgh, he moved to England as a small boy and studied at Central St. Martins and the Slade School of Art. Adopting his "AA Gill" byline to appear impartially androgynous for a piece in a friend’s art magazine, he moved into first-person journalism at Tatler before joining The Sunday Times, his current home, in 1993. His columns have been collected in several books, including AA Gill Is Away (2003) and Paper View (2007).
Joanne Harris worked as a schoolteacher for fifteen years while writing her first three novels. The third of these, Chocolat (1999), which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, became an international bestseller upon publication and was adapted into an Academy Award–nominated movie in 2000. Her subsequent novels include Coastliners (2002) and Runemarks (2007), a fantasy book for young adults. She has also authored two cookbooks with Fran Warde: The French Kitchen and The French Market, and in 2004 published Jigs and Reels, a collection of short stories. She lives in Barnsley, fifteen miles from where she was born, with husband Kevin and daughter Anouchka.
Hari Kunzru is an award–winning novelist and journalist based in Hackney, London. After graduating from Wadham College, Oxford, and studying for an MA in philosophy and literature at Warwick University, he contributed to various international publications, including Wired, The Daily Telegraph, and Wallpaper*, where he was music editor from 1999 to 2004. In 1999 he was named The Observer young travel writer of the year. His debut novel, The Impressionist, won the 2003 Somerset Maugham award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread first novel prize. His third novel is My Revolutions (2007).
Ali Smith’s novels and short stories work with multiple perspectives, humorously and intelligently exploring notions of love, life, and sexuality. Born in Inverness in 1962, she read English at the University of Aberdeen before moving to Cambridge to study for a PhD. In 1995, after an unsatisfactory period lecturing at the University of Strathclyde, she published her first collection of short stories, Free Love and Other Stories, which won the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year award. Her first novel, Like, was published in 1997, and her second, Hotel World (2001) was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker Prize. Her 2005 novel, The Accidental (2004), won the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award.
John McGregor’s first novel, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (2002), was composed when he was washing dishes at a vegetarian restaurant in Nottingham. It was a critical success, winning the Betty Trask and Somerset Maugham awards, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, making McGregor, then twenty-six, one of the youngest authors to be considered for the award. In 2006 he published his second novel, So Many Ways to Begin, which explores the history of Coventry through the eyes of a disillusioned museum curator. He lives in Nottingham with his wife, Alice.
DBC Pierre was born in Australia, grew up in Mexico City, and now lives in Ireland with his girlfriend. At the age of forty–one, after years of concocting wild schemes and scams, he published his debut novel, Vernon God Little (2003), which won the Man Booker Prize and was adapted by Rufus Norris in 2007 for a celebrated production at London’s Young Vic Theatre. In 2004 he appeared in The Last Aztec, a Channel 4 Documentary about the fall of the Aztec empire. His second novel, Ludmilla’s Broken English, was published in 2007.
Minette Walters is a bestselling crime novelist whose works have been published in more than thirty–five countries worldwide. She won three major prizes for crime fiction with The Ice House, The Sculptress, and The Scold’s Bridle, and has gone on to publish nine more novels, her latest being The Chameleon’s Shadow (2007). Her first five novels have been adapted for television by the BBC, and her ninth, Acid Row, is in production with Company Pictures. She lives near Dorchester, Dorset, with her husband, Alec, and when not writing likes nothing better than pursuing her own DIY projects.