Akala is a BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist, writer and social entrepreneur, as well as the co-founder of The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company.
Clementine Ford is a freelance writer, broadcaster, public speaker and author of the bestselling Fight Like a Girl and Boys Will be Boys. She lives in Melbourne.
Felicity Williams is well-known to Christchurch families as the owner and director of Canvas Bag Drama School. She has written hundreds of plays and operettas for children, including The Man Whose Mother Was A Pirate and Jam, both with scripts by Margaret Mahy. Felicity's also written lyrics, music and scripts for the children’s television show, The Dress-Up Box. Ringlet and the Day the Oceans Stopped is her first novel for children, written after years researching the various habitats and species of merfolk, and concerning the story of a real-life salt-water, ocean-dwelling mergirl and the fish and seafolk she lives among.
Graeme Simsion is the internationally bestselling author of The Rosie Project, The Rosie Effect and The Best of Adam Sharp. He also co-authored Two Steps Forward with Anne Buist.
Helen Zaltzman is a multiple award-winning podcast host and producer. Her linguistics podcast The Allusionist was the first show created especially for the prestigious Radiotopia network. Answer Me This, the comedy show she co-founded with Olly Mann in 2007, is one of Britain's most successful independent podcasts.
Joanna Grochowicz is the author of Into the White – Scott’s Antarctic Odyssey which was a finalist in the 2018 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young People and listed in Top 50 Books for Children by the NZ Listener. Amundsen's Way was published in May 2019. Click for more info.
John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971. He is the author of eleven novels for adults, five for young readers and a collection of short stories. Perhaps best known for his 2006 multi-award-winning book The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, John’s other novels, notably The Absolutist and A History of Loneliness, have been widely praised and are international bestsellers. Most recently, The Heart's Invisible Furies was a Richard & Judy Bookclub word-of-mouth bestseller. His novels are published in over fifty languages.
Poet and performer Luke Wright has been lauded as 'one of the funniest and most brilliant poets of his generation' (The Independent). He has penned eight one-man stand-up poetry shows, appeared on festival bills including the Edinburgh Fringe and Book Festivals, toured internationally and is John Cooper Clarke's regular support act. Patti Smith is a fan.
Markus Zusak is the international bestselling author of six novels, including The Book Thief and most recently, Bridge of Clay.
Martin Austwick is a podcaster, musician and singer-songwriter, and has released albums as Pale Bird, and songs about science as Dr Martin Austwick. He has performed music live for The Allusionist, 99% Invisible, The Bugle, and the Third Coast International Audio Awards, and contributed music for a number of podcasts. His podcast about every Tom Waits song is called Song by Song.
Shayne Carter is a musician. His bands include Bored Games, the Doublehappys, Straitjacket Fits and Dimmer. Dead People I Have Known is his first book.
Swapna Haddow is the award-winning children’s author of the Dave Pigeon books. She loves writing about boisterous animals and madcap adventures and is working with Faber & Faber, Stripes Publishing and Macmillan. Originally a Londoner, Swapna now lives in New Zealand with her husband, son and their dog, Archie. When she’s not writing she is usually reading, dreaming about living on a boat or eating Jaffa Cakes.