Writer and broadcaster Jon Bennett has been a journalist for the last twenty years. His illustrious career has seen him get drunk under the table with Paul Weller, share tacos with Burt Bacharach and have his bottom pinched by Dolly Parton. He has written for Mojo, Q, the Guardian and the Observer, among other publications. His greatest professional feat (aside from Dolly) was editing Q's Glastonbury edition, somehow producing a sixty-four-page magazine from a muddy Portakabin full of hedonistic halfwits and the trenchfoot-stricken. He went on to work in television, managing Sky News's entertainment department and working for Getty and ITV, before realising that appraisals and spreadsheets really weren't for him. He writes about food, travel and entertainment, and is currently working on a modern manual for fledgling grown-ups.
Sophia Cannon (@UndercoverMutha) is an all-round broadcaster, commentator, barrister and superwoman! With over 30,000 Twitter followers and a growing presence on TV, radio and online, Sophia is fast becoming a phenomenon. She is a regular contributor on BBC News ‘BBC Papers’, as well as writing for the Independent and Sunday Times, not to mention being a regular guest on BBC Radio 5 Live, LBC and BBC Radio London 94.9.
Sophia is currently writing a non-fiction work, UndercoverMutha, a set of dispatches from the front line, facts and stories revealing that what is required is a new legal and social orthodoxy to reiterate and address the facts of increasing sexual inequality, and the fact that women are still regulated by the law in all areas of their lives relating to sex and gender – from before they’re even born right up to widowhood. She is also working on an accompanying television dramatisation.
‘Anything but dull, darling,’ were the words of wisdom Fliss Chester’s mother gave her as a teenager, and she’s tried to live up to them. Her varied career has included years as a sub editor and writer for Ideal Home, an interior designer, a freelance journalist, a short foray into the world of finance, and most recently a wine buff and Head of Gin (honestly, that's a real job) at the independent wine shop she runs with her husband. Oh, and of course a novelist! Having spent many years in London, Fliss now lives in the Surrey Hills with her husband and their cat – both of whom are extremely supportive of her writing. Although it's arguable that the cat has ulterior motives for wanting Fliss – or perhaps just her lap – at home more often...
Snowballs is Fliss’s first novel and is a romp around the mountains – think Made in Chelsea meets Ski Sunday with an added dash of romance. It’s set in those hedonistic twenty-something years when the world’s your oyster, except you’re not sure if you’re allergic to seafood or not… The first in a planned series, it will be published in early 2018 by Orion.
N.J. Crosskey is an author, mother and caffeine junkie from Worthing, West Sussex. She began writing seriously in 2014, and since then her fiction has been published in several literary magazines, e-zines, and even on YouTube. Now she writes novels that examine the world we live in, and the worlds we could be heading to. She believes that the greatest truths can be found in fiction, and has a penchant for all things flawed, broken and beautifully raw.
Katy Davidson is an oyster evangelist and adventuress who has spent many years campaigning passionately for food as a job, a hobby and a way of life. In 2006 she became the youngest leader of a Slow Food group in the UK, heading up the Cornwall branch where she brought in the younger generations, culminating in her founding the Youth Food Movement UK in 2007.
Katy’s oyster education work has attracted international attention and is credited with being a major cause of the groundswell in the growth of oyster culture in the UK, where she appears at top food festivals across the country with specialist demonstrations and master classes.
A keen traveller, sports fishing junkie, hunter and horsewoman, Katy never shies away from stepping off the beaten track in pursuit of wild and unique adventures. @The_OysterLady
Anja Dunk was born in Wales to a German mother and a Welsh father. Her childhood was spent predominantly in Wales but also Germany and South East Asia, where she moved to and from over the early years of her life.
Her love of food started at home but has grown since working in cafes and restaurants over the years. She is now a freelance cook, mainly catering for large events and parties.
Anja has co-written a book on preserves, Do Preserve: Make your own jams, chutneys, pickles and cordials (Do Book Co., May 2016) and runs small preserving workshops. From time to time she takes part in pop-up events where she produces small-batch preserves to sell.
Anja's first cookbook, Noodles, Strudel and Dumplings: Recipes from Our Family Table will be published by 4th Estate in 2018.
Niamh Farnon & Victoria O’Brien are the founders of ‘Hackney Manners presents’, a series of gift books and products aimed at the style-savvy urban parent.
‘It started as a conversation over drinks, dinner and rather appalling behaviour. We’re mums. We made each other laugh. We both live in a not too pretty, really quite gritty, but now quite hipster area of East London. We are not hipsters. We do not have beards (yet), top knots, or push bikes. We enjoy pop-ups, but are also partial to pop tarts, and like to consider ourselves astute afficionados of the local art scene, but mostly we are just middle class. We didn’t grow up in Hackney. One of us is from suburban Pinner, at the end of the Metropolitan Line, the other from Staffordshire, where nothing much happens and people potter around their large gardens, literally. We mostly wear black, but that’s only because we have kids and can’t decide what else to put on in the morning.’
Victoria O’Brien worked for over ten years as an arts correspondent and interior design journalist for the Sunday Times STYLE section and The Times magazine. She has also written on interiors for the Telegraph, Homes & Gardens, Living etc. and other international titles.
Niamh Farnon worked in fashion and lifestyle design teams, including Habitat, for over fifteen years before training in photography. She is a Getty Images contributor and has a blog (Daisy & Finn’s Party Ideas, www.daisyspartyideas.tumblr.com)
Jessica Hepburn has had a twenty-year career as one of the UK's leading arts managers, most recently as chief executive of the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, and remains a trustee of various performing arts organisations including the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and Opera Holland Park.
During her thirties and early forties, Jessica was diagnosed with 'unexplained infertility' and went through eleven rounds of IVF. In 2014 she self-published a memoir about her experiences, The Pursuit of Motherhood, and since then has become a high-profile commentator on the subject of fertility, infertility and IVF in newspapers and magazines and on radio and television. Already a regular speaker at Olympia's 'Fertility Show', in 2016 Jessica founded Fertility Fest (funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Arts Council), which is the world's first arts festival dedicated to the science of making babies.
On 2 September 2015 Jessica became the 491st woman to swim the English Channel, a feat which became the basis of her next book, 21 Miles to Happiness: A Swim in Search of the Meaning of Motherhood. Her next challenge will be to enter the Guinness Book of World Records by becoming the first woman ever to swim the Channel and climb Mount Everest: two of the most iconic tests of physical and mental endurance in the world.
Find out more about Jessica at www.jessicahepburn.com.
Food writer, blogger and editor Malou Herkes is on a mission to cook, eat and enjoy good food in a more planet-friendly, waste-free way. She spent the best part of 2016 travelling through Europe and the Middle East exploring local food, working on farms and cooking with grandmothers – as well as a stint at Slow Food in Italy – to learn from the people who already do all of this and more. Previously, Malou worked as a deputy editor for Jamie Oliver for five years, writing material for his global campaigns, working on his newspaper columns and developing his recipes. Working closely with Jamie taught Malou why food and the choices we make around food are so immensely important to our health and the planet. Malou is a freelance recipe editor and writes for various food and travel magazines as well as her own blog, wonkyvegblog.com, and is working on her first book.
Rachel Jay is a long-time Londoner and writer currently working on her first novel, Strong, a dystopian drama about power and inequality, set in a future London that could be nearer than we think.
Daniel Karlsson is the co-owner, founder and baker of Bageriet London. Originally from Sweden, where he trained as a Konditor, Daniel moved to London to work for Ottolenghi and Melrose & Morgan before deciding to set up his own Swedish bakery and shop in Covent Garden – described by Grace Dent in the Evening Standard as: ‘tiny (about eight seats), fragrant and rather perfect.’ Producing exquisite cakes, pastries and breads, Daniel’s inspiration comes not from top chefs and patissiers but from his mother and grandmothers. His first book, Karlsson & Kardemumma, seeks to share both this and the treasures of Swedish national baking.
Shu Han Lee is a cook, designer and blogger who came to London from Singapore to study graphic design at Saint Martins College. Best known for her witty and beautiful blog Mummy, I Can Cook (for which she was named one of Britain's best food bloggers by The Sunday Times), Shu’s food writing/ styling/ illustrations have appeared in numerous online magazines and foodie publications. Her ‘noodles classification system’ has appeared in Hong Kong Tatler and her designs related to sustainable eating have been featured by the British Library.
Once a month, or whenever she’s got too much energy, Shu puts on a chef's apron and finds herself hosting supper clubs and pop-ups and workshops. She was most recently part of the Plusixfive collective (“A truly epic meal for £30 a head which you couldn’t get elsewhere in London even if you tried; after all Singaporean restaurants are sorely lacking here” – Gourmet Traveller), and has just finished art-directing Plusixfive - A Singaporean Supperclub Cookbook. She has since done gigs with/at Yum Bun and Street Feast in London, and NONG (Edible Gardens) and Carpenter & Cook in Singapore.
Shu's first book, Chicken and Rice and All Things Nice, is published by Fig Tree.
Lea Luedemann (@iamlealou) is a recipe developer, food consultant, food photographer and book author who released her first cookbook / lifestyle guide Happily Healthy in Germany in May 2017 (published by ZS Verlag). She frequently travels between Germany and the UK, with clients in both countries.
Lea is a passionate yogi and aims to become a yoga teacher by the end of the year, and she loves anything healthy, fit and vegetarian. Her blog www.lealou.me is her platform where she talks vegetarian, fresh and mainly healthy recipes, all things yoga and exercise, as well as the odd weekend trip or little vacation.
Uyen Luu is a cook, food writer, food photographer and mother, who has grown up and lives in London. Uyen has been hosting weekly Vietnamese supper clubs since 2009 and also teaches Vietnamese cooking in her East London studio, both of which have become hugely popular through word of mouth and acclaimed in the media.
Uyen's first book, My Vietnamese Kitchen, was published by Ryland Peters & Small in 2013 and she is currently working on a second book. Her work is often featured in the press, including the Observer Food Monthly and Saturday Telegraph, and she regularly writes recipes for the OFM, Guardian and other mainstream newspapers and magazines.
Uyen trained at Central St Martins College of Art in Film, Video & Photography. She works as a food photographer for major commercial clients and publications - for more information visit www.uyenluu.com
Carla McCannon is from London and spent eight years growing up in the South of France. She studied Film and English at UEA and went on to work in the UK film industry for five years. She then spent seven years living and travelling abroad, in Paris, Vancouver, Seattle, Asia, Oslo and New York.
Njambi McGrath is a Kenyan-born stand-up comedian on the UK comedy circuit. Having arrived in the UK as a teenager, she undertook an IT degree in London and New York State University. She worked for a national telecoms company and later an American software house before retraining to work in midwifery teaching childbirth classes. She came to comedy by chance after a client suggested she tries stand-up comedy. Within fourteen months of starting stand-up, she was voted 1 of 5 top female comedians to watch by Fabulous magazine in 2012 and later that year was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Black Comedy Awards. She has been described as ‘blazing the trail for black comedians’ by the Guardian. Njambi was shortlisted for the BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award numerous times. She is a rising star who has already attracted a lot media attention with profiles in the Scotsman on Sunday, Daily Nation (Kenya) Destination magazine (Kenya) and Nigerian press. Njambi was recently featured on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live alongside David Mitchell and Amanda Holden, and BBC World’s The Conversation. Her stand-up has been featured on BBC 2/3/4 Extra. She has been a participant on ITV, STV, Sky News and Arise TV. Njambi is a blogger and contributor to GlamAfrica magazine.
Njambi has written and performed 4 one woman shows at the Edinburgh festival and Durban Playhouse Theatre to critical acclaim:
- ★★★★ ‘The most unique show at the Edinburgh Festival’ THE LIST
- ‘A must see’ SCOTSMAN
- ‘Trail blazing’ GUARDIAN
- ‘Potentially major comedian’ JOHN FLEMING
- ‘Extraordinarily powerful’ KATE COPSTICK
John Morrison is an author, speaker and advocate. He is the founding Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Business (www.ihrb.org) – a global and impartial ‘think and do tank’ with centres in Myanmar, Kenya and Colombia, as well as a consortium in China. John has given many keynote speeches internationally and advised a broad range of businesses and governments. He was senior advisor to the Danish, Swedish and British governments during their respective presidencies of the European Union and G8, as well as chairing the jury of the Dutch Government's human rights prize in 2013. John is also a member of the UK Foreign Secretary's human rights advisory group. Before joining IHRB as its founding director in 2009, John directed the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights 2003–9, was Head of Global Campaigns and Community Affairs for The Body Shop International Plc and also worked for a number of civil society organisations on the issues of refugee protection, migration and human trafficking during the 1990s. Between 1996–7, John was a Harkness Fellow to the USA. In September 2014, John published his latest book, The Social License: How to keep your organization legitimate (Palgrave MacMillan). John lives on the South Coast of England with his family where he enjoys things completely unrelated to all of the above. You can follow John on Twitter @jomo1966
After working in international development and scientific publishing, David Mountain is currently a postgraduate student at the University of Edinburgh. Hailed as a ‘young and exciting’ voice in the study of nations and patriotism, his work draws together ideas from politics, history and philosophy. His first book, National Gods, is a bold attack on the dangers of patriotism in the modern world.
Benjamin Oliver is a Scottish writer who studied English and Journalism at the University of Stirling. He has had over a dozen short stories published in various literary magazines and anthologies across the UK. Benjamin began writing the Shannon Blake series of crime novels during a year travelling across New Zealand.
Jacqueline Paizis has worked in further and higher education as a tutor and counsellor to young people, and has an MA in Creative Writing & Authorship from the University of Sussex. Jacqueline has spent periods of her life living and working in Greece, and her first novel is set during the Greek Civil War of 1947–49, telling the story of a young girl who leaves her northern Greek village to join the partisans fighting in the mountains and her later life as a cleaner in Kastoria. In 2007 she was a runner-up in the A&C Black novel competition run by the Literary Consultancy, and in 2010 her short story ‘Albanian Mothers’ was shortlisted for the Bluethumbnail competition. Jacqueline is currently writing her second novel, set on a Greek island in 2009 against the backdrop of the growing economic and social crisis. She lives in Hove, East Sussex.
Colette Robinson lives in Cambridgeshire, and began writing fiction in earnest after winning a competition at the age of eight. More recently, her short stories have appeared in several prize-winning anthologies. She loves to root out real historical figures who have ‘fallen through the cracks’ and give them an authentic voice in her novels. Alongside her passion for writing, Colette’s work in museum services has taken many guises over the years – always with an emphasis on animating the past.
Inspired by her research into Oliver Cromwell’s wife, Colette’s historical novel Mrs Cromwell brings to life a fascinating woman who for 350 years has been little more than a footnote in history.
Yorkshire born and bred, Paul Robinson is a self-taught cook, forager, hill walker, writer and photographer. Over the years, he’s worked in the video games industry as a graphic designer at Team17 (on numerous Worms titles) and as a journalist in the scooter and motorcycle industry. The latter involved a few TV appearances leading scooter rallies and racing bikes up drag strips, at one point gaining the interest of the BBC’s Top Gear. Alas, Paul lost out on the chance to race The Stig, having been pipped to the post on quarter-mile times by another rider.
In his free time, Paul is an avid hill walker and landscape photographer and has hiked throughout the UK as well as the French Alps, sometimes spending nights in bothies or camped at the top of mountains in an attempt to capture the perfect sunrise or sunset. The hunter-gatherer within him, cooking goes hand-in-hand with his outdoor exploits. Food has always been his greatest passion and, as the Yorkshire Gourmet, he’s currently working on his first cookbook as well as teaching, from time to time, at the Malton Cookery School.
Glenn Skwerer is a psychiatrist who lives just outside Boston with his wife and several lethargic greyhounds. He is the author of The Tristan Chord, a novel based on the memoirs of August Kubizek, otherwise known as Der Hitler Jugendfreund (Hitler’s childhood friend), which will be published by Unbound in 2018.
Rebecca Stanley is a Cambridge-based writer who has spent two decades working in university administration. She started her degree in literature when her first child started school and by the time she graduated, had a second child in tow. Number three came along ten years later. Rebecca has dallied with flash fiction and recently won second place in the Crimefest Flashbang competition, enjoying a prize weekend with crime authors, fans and some fabulous cocktails. Mostly she’s a long-haul writer, and her latest novel You never were (born to be drowned) is a multi-layered page turner about a young woman’s search for her real identity when her mother is put on trial for murder.
Heidi Sze is an Australian dietitian specialising in pre- and postnatal nutrition. She has a daughter, Joan, and shares thoughts on food and her life as a mostly stay-at-home mum over on her blog, Apples Under My Bed. Heidi is most happy at home with her family, collecting leaves in the garden and sitting at the dining table with plates of pasta. You can find her on Instagram @heidiapples, where she posts pictures of her days, including what she's eating and reflections on motherhood.
Emma Tarlo is an anthropologist and writer who specialises in taking intimate everyday subjects such as dress, hair or food and exploring how they are entangled in complex global relationships. Her books include Clothing Matters, which focuses on the dynamics of dress in colonial and postcolonial India and won the prestigious Coomaraswamy Prize in 1998; Unsettling Memories, which recounts the tales of displacement and sterilisation experienced by Delhi’s poor in the mid 1970s at the time of the Emergency; and most recently Visibly Muslim: Fashion, Politics, Faith, which enters the world of contemporary Islamic fashion in Britain and explores what motivates young Muslims to dress the way they do in an environment which is often hostile. Emma is a Professor of Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London, recipient of a Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, and regularly gives public lectures worldwide as well as contributing to BBC Radio programmes and news articles. Her latest book, Entanglement: The Secret Lives of Hair, is published by Oneworld and won the Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing.
Leena Telén is a London-based writer and award-winning film-maker. She began her career in television in Finland, producing and directing documentary, drama and educational programmes. In 2006, she wrote and produced River Crossing, a short film screened at festivals around the world and based on an episode from her first book, Underwater.
A memoir of childhood and adolescence, Underwater is set in Helsinki, Finland in the 1950s and 60s, where Leena's sports-mad father trains her relentlessly to compete for Olympic gold. She becomes seven-times swimming champion of Finland with a place on the national team, but quits to build an independent life, shattering her father’s dreams.
Leena is currently working on her second book, Aino. It is based on the true story of two generations of Finnish women, Leena’s grandmother Aino, imprisoned for treason in the aftermath of Finland’s 1919 civil war, and her daughter Salme, Leena’s mother. It was Aino’s sacrifice, along with countless others, that led to independence for Salme, Leena and ultimately Finland. It is a story of family, love and survival.
Leena has an MA in Creative Writing from the City University, London.
Ali Thurm is a novelist, poet and teacher. Her poems have been published in magazines and anthologies, and in 2016 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. Her first poetry collection was shortlisted for the Cinnamon Press debut poetry collection in 2015.
Ali completed City University's Novel Studio course in 2013, where she worked on the draft of her first novel, The Quiet Water Spy. Set on the isolated Yorkshire coast, it is a dark tale of delusion, dressing-up and Jane Austen.
She is currently working on her second novel, Jacob's Ladder, which explores complex family relationships and one man's struggle to bring up his troubled niece in post-war austerity London.
Born in Tynemouth, Newcastle, Ali came to London for a short time thirty years ago and has been there ever since. You can follow her on Twitter @alithurm and she blogs and reviews books at alithurm.org.
Joe Trivelli is head chef at London’s iconic River Café, where he has worked since 2001. Southern Italian on his father's side but born and raised in Kent, Joe is working on his first cookbook, to be published in 2018 by Orion under the new Seven Dials imprint.