This talented author was born in South Africa but educated at Eton and New College, Oxford. The Drowning People, his first novel, gained him a “vast” advance and was published during his first year at university. It’s been translated into 22 languages and has sold over 3 million copies. Richard Mason funds a foundation in memory of his sister that pays for gifted South African children from poor backgrounds to attend the country’s top private schools and with a writing style that’s been compared to “Henry James on Viagra”, he’s definitely got many more pages to pen. An early critic, who told him he “should have killed [himself] rather than publish”, is now writing reviews of home décor shows.