Nigella Lawson read Medieval and Modern Languages at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and went on to become Deputy Literary Editor of The Sunday Times at the age of 26, followed by a successful career as a freelance journalist, writing for a range of magazines and newspapers.
In 1998 she wrote her first cookbook, How To Eat, The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food, and now has eleven bestselling books to her name with over five million sales in the UK alone and over 10 million worldwide. Nigella has made several hit TV series which are aired across the globe. In 1998 she was a judge for the Booker Prize and in 2000 she chaired the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. She was voted Author of the Year in the British Book Awards 2000, Best Food Personality by readers of Observer Food Monthly in 2014, and Television Personality of the Year at the 2016 Fortnum & Mason Awards.
Photo: Liz Seabrook
Hilary Mantel’s award-winning novel Wolf Hall was transformed into a riveting six-part drama by the BBC to huge acclaim in 2015. Accompanying Thomas Cromwell’s machinations and hushed conversations in shadowy palace corners was original music by Debbie Wiseman, performed by members of The Locrian Ensemble of London. The soundtrack CD reached no.1 in the classical charts.
Wiseman has over 200 film and television soundtracks to her name including Wilde, Wolf Hall and, more recently, Dickensian. Consisting of some of the country’s finest musicians, the Locrian Ensemble is at the very top of its game, delivering stunning performances which range from the blisteringly dramatic to the heart-rendingly mournful.
Wiseman and the Ensemble continue to perform concerts nationally with selections from her acclaimed score, alongside extracts from Wolf Hall and its first sequel Bring Up The Bodies.
William Boyd’s novels and short stories have been translated in over thirty languages and have garnered many awards, including the Whitbread, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Jonathan Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Prix Jean Monnet and the Costa Novel of the Year.
Boyd is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He has been presented with honorary Doctorates in Literature from the Universities of St Andrews, Stirling, Glasgow and Dundee and was awarded the CBE in 2005.
Margaret Atwood is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. Her novels include The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize; Alias Grace, winner of the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Montello in Italy; and The Robber Bride, Cat’s Eye, The Handmaid’s Tale – now a critically acclaimed television series – and The Penelopiad. In 2016, Hag-Seed, a novel visitation of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest and Angel Catbird – a graphic novel with co-creator Johnnie Christmas (Dark Horse), were published. In 2017, Margaret was awarded with the Peace Prize, the Franz Kafka International Literary Prize and the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award.
John le Carré was born in 1931. After being educated at the Universities of Bern and Oxford, he went on to teach at Eton before becoming an MI5 officer. In 1960, he was transferred to MI6, the foreign intelligence service, and worked under “Second Secretary” cover in the British Embassy at Bonn. It was during this period that he discovered his passion for writing, publishing Call for the Dead in 1961 and A Murder of Quality in 1962 before writing what is largely considered to be one of the great novels of the twentieth century, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. The novel launched his career and in 1964, le Carré left the service to devote himself to writing. In 1979, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was adapted for BBC TV as a seven part series starring Alec Guinness. The BBC later adapted Smiley’s People for TV in 1982, also starring Alec Guinness as George Smiley. Several of le Carré’s novels have been adapted for the cinema screen including; The Tailor of Panama which was filmed in 2001 starring Pierce Brosnan, Geoffrey Rush and Jamie Lee Curtis; The Constant Gardener which was filmed in 2005 starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy which was filmed in 2011 starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt and Mark Strong.
John le Carré is one of the most respected and prolific writers of his generation and continues to produce some of the most important novels being published today.
Scott Alan is an internationally acclaimed songwriter who has worked with some of the brightest stars of theatre, tv, film and recording. Some of those artists include Grammy Award Winning Group Pentatonix, Grammy Award Nominated Artists Jane Monheit, Marc Broussard, Taylor Dayne, Tony Award Winning Artists Sutton Foster, Adriane Lenox, Randy Graff, Frances Ruffle, Lea Salonga, Film and TV stars Tracie Thoms, Patina Miller, Katie Stevens, Danny-Boy Hatchard, Cheyenne Jackson, Megan Hilty, Samantha Barks, Jeremy Jordan and Reality TV Stars Sam Bailey, Collabro, Diane DeGarmo, Christina Marie, RJ Helton among others.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been at the forefront of music-making in the UK since its formation in 1946. Its home base since 2004 at London’s Cadogan Hall serves as a springboard for fourteen residencies across the country, often in areas where access to live orchestral music is very limited. With a wider reach than any other UK large ensemble, the RPO has truly become Britain’s national orchestra.
Gareth Malone OBE has helped galvanise the British choral scene through his TV series, concert tours and recordings. Gareth first appeared on TV in the three-part BBC documentary series The Choir in 2006, with students who had never sung before and ultimately taking them to compete in the World Choir Games in China.
Several series of The Choir followed and, in a new direction, Gareth Malone’s Extraordinary School For Boys exploring how boys are educated. The Choir: Military Wives saw Gareth undertaking a highly emotional challenge giving a voice to the wives and girlfriends left behind while troops were deployed to Afghanistan resulting in a Christmas number one with Wherever You Are. More recently Gareth was involved in two very different projects commemorating the centenary of World War One: The Big Performance for CBBC and an appearance with the Military Wives Choir for the BBC Proms which formed a part of the Warhorse Prom. 2014 ended with a third No.1 single from Gareth featuring a group of unlikely singers in the All Star Choir for BBC Children in Need.
Most recently, Gareth formed the infamous Invictus Choir made up of wounded ex-armed services personnel to perform the song ‘Flesh and Blood’ at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida.
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