WRITERS - The authors

Steven Berkoff
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Steven Berkoff

Berkoff is a titan of the stage and a might with a pen. He’s best known for playing the darkest of characters but in reality he’s charm personified. Berkoff beat Julie Burchill in a libel case in 1996 and finds it “flattering” to play evil characters. He lives on the…

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Anna Smith FI
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Anna Smith

Former Daily Record chief reporter Anna Smith has covered conflicts from Somalia and Rwanda to Kosovo. She was one of the first journalists on the scene after both 9/11 and the Dunblane massacres and now writes crime novels full time. In September 2014, she summed up the feelings of many…

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Helena Matheopoulos FI
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Helena Matheopolous

Fluent in six languages, this Athenian was fashion editor of The Tatler and a columnist for The Times. Resident in London’s Knightsbridge, Matheopoulos has written a biography of King Juan Carlos of Spain and wrote Fashion Designers at the Opera in 2011. Her parties are known for being full of…

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Aita Ighodaro
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Aita Ighodaro

This statuesque Oxford graduate’s first novel, Sin Tropez, was a mighty success. The Independent described it as a “thrilling and scandalous read” and it got five out of five from OK! Magazine. Aita Ighodaro’s second novel, All That Gitters, came out in November 2012 and when she’s not writing, she’s often…

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John Armstrong FI
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John Armstrong

This poet and artist was born in Consett, County Durham and began writing aged just 13 during his time studying at a monastery in Shropshire. Famed for his amazing head of a hair and a regular at the Chelsea Arts Club, amongst Armstrong’s most poignant verses is one from his…

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Anne Dunhill FI
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Anne Dunhill

This Roman Catholic novelist and Italian translator’s works have included A Darker Shade of Love, Web of Passion and Anita: A Memoir. A former debutante and model, Dunhill also writes about love, life and lunches on the site Angela Darling’s Blog and is a granddaughter of the luxury goods titan…

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Erika Leonard James FI
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Erika Leonard James (E. L. James)

The highest earning author of 2013, Erika Leonard James raked in £33.3 million that year and £10.6 million in 2012. Her Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has had readers hooked but despite her wealth this adult romance writer continues to live modestly in west London. With over 500,000 followers on…

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Seamus Heaney FI
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Seamus Heaney (1939 – 2013)

“The most important Irish poet since Yeats”, Heaney’s books accounted for two thirds of the sales of all living poets in the UK during his final years. The recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature, this gifted storyteller was undoubtedly “the greatest poet” of our age. “The squat pen…

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Susan Hill CBE
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Susan Hill CBE

Best known for her chilling novel The Woman in White, this writer also did a stint on the BBC’s The Archers and runs a small publishing house named Long Barn Books. Married to the Shakespeare scholar Professor Stanley Wells, Hill lives in a farmhouse with 50 acres of woodland in…

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Kate Mosse FI
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Katherine “Kate” Mosse OBE

This author and co-founder of the Orange Prize for Literature must often find people confusing her with the model of the same name. Most famous for her international bestseller novel Labyrinth, Mosse is a lynchpin of the “Chichester set”. She has an honorary degree from her hometown’s university and set…

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Alex Preston FI
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Alex Preston

This talented Oxford educated author is a former credit derivatives trader who is now regular on BBC2’s The Review Show. This Bleeding City, his first novel, was based on his own working experiences and analyses how the financial crash could be seen as “our subconscious revenge, our way of bringing…

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Mary Berry CBE FI
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Mary Berry CBE

This cookery writer morphed into Britain’s favourite baker as the judge of BBC Two’s The Great British Bake Off and in the process amassed a fortune of some £15 million. Buckinghamshire based and married to a retired antiquarian bookseller, Berry has published more than 70 cookery books since 1970 and…

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Dominick Dunne FI
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Dominick Dunne (1925 – 2009)

This “Boswell of the bluebloods” was a writer whose tips came from unnamed sources and “waiter[s] serving me risotto at a dinner party.” Though Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. described him a “gossip columnist” and he had to pay undisclosed damages to a Californian Congressman named Gary Condit in 2005, his…

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Pippa Middleton FI
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Pippa Middleton

The sister of The Duchess of Cambridge was paid a £400,000 advance by Penguin for her first book, Celebrate. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, Middleton’s view of her changed circumstances is simple: “It’s been a crazy few years since my sister’s wedding.” Whilst the chattering classes attack her…

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Arthur Ransome  c.1930
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Arthur Ransome (1864 – 1967)

Though best known for Swallows and Amazons, Ransome’s life in Russia was what makes him most fascinating. He was sued unsuccessfully by Lord Alfred Douglas over a biography of Oscar Wilde, played chess with Lenin and married Trotsky’s personal secretary, Evgenia Petrovna Shelepina. Accused by many of being a spy,…

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Julian Fellowes
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Julian Fellowes (The Lord Fellowes of West Stafford DL, also known as Julian Kitchener-Fellowes)

English actor, novelist, film director and screenwriter. His career pottered along until he won an Oscar for Gosford Park in 2002. Subsequent success came with Downton Abbey in 2011 but his personal obsession with the Titanic disaster resulted in an iceberg of a flop with a 2012 ITV mini-series on…

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Philip K. Dick FI
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Philip K. Dick (1928 – 1982; AKA Richard Phillipps and Jack Dowland)

This Chicago born novelist, short story writer and essayist explored deep themes through his own personal experiences of drug abuse, paranoia, schizophrenia and transcendental experiences. Married five times, Dick published 44 novels and 121 short stories yet spent most of his life in poverty. Ten popular films based on his…

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