Sol Yurick

Sol Yurick was born in 1925 in New York. The son of Jewish immigrants, Yurick grew up in a politically active working-class household. He enlisted in the Army during the Second World War, then studied literature before taking a job in New York City's welfare department, where he became familiar with the children of welfare families, many of whom belonged to youth gangs. This experience formed the basis for The Warriors, his first and best-known novel. He was a lifelong social activist and lived his whole life in New York; he died in Brooklyn in 2013.

Dave Zeltserman

Dave Zeltserman's first 'badass out of prison' novel, Small Crimes, received widespread acclaim, with NPR naming it one of the 5 best crime and mystery novels of 2008 and the Washington Post naming it one of the best books of 2008. Dave's second 'badass out of prison' novel, Pariah, was named by the Washington Post as one of the best books of 2009. Dave lives in the Boston area with his wife, Judy; is a die-hard Patriots and Red Sox fan; and when he's not writing crime fiction he spends his time studying martial arts, and holds a black belt in Kung Fu.

N Quentin Woolf

N Quentin Woolf is a writer and broadcaster, and runs a number of literary groups, including Writers' Mutual and The Writers' Lab. He is the founder of The Brick Lane Book Group, teaches at the Idler Academy and since 2012 has run a writers' retreat in France. Woolf's short fiction has been published and translated internationally, and performed at Sadler's Wells. He has featured in various guises on BBC Radio 4, runs The Wireless Reader podcast and presents a weekly talk-show for, which attracts around 13,000 visits per day and a loyal following on iTunes.

Josephine Wilson

Josephine Wilson lives in Perth, Western Australia with her partner and two children. Her first novel, Cusp, was published in 2005. Extinctions, her second novel, won the Miles Franklin Award in 2017.

Vivienne Westwood

Dame Vivienne Westwood is one of the icons of our age: fashion designer, activist, co-creator of punk, global brand and grandmother. Her career has successfully spanned five decades and her work has influenced millions across the world.

Alex Wheatle

Alex Wheatle was born in 1963 to Jamaican parents living in London. He spent most of his childhood in a children's home, which he left at 14 to live in a hostel in Brixton. At 18, he was involved in the Brixton uprising and went to prison for 3 months. On his release, he continued to perform as a DJ and MC under the name Yardman Irie, moving in the early '90s on to the performance poetry circuit as The Brixton Bard. His second novel, East of Acre Lane, won the London New Writers Award (2000).

Paul Willetts

Paul Willetts is the author of four acclaimed works of non-fiction, the latest of these being Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Rooms. Since making his literary debut with a biography of the Soho writer and dandy, Julian Maclaren-Ross, he also edited four much-praised collections of Maclaren-Ross's writing. In parallel with these projects, he compiled and worked as co-photographer on Teenage Flicks, a jokey celebration of Subbuteo, featuring contributions by Will Self, Graham Taylor, David Baddiel and others. His journalism has appeared in the Independent, The Times, TLS, Spectator, Independent on Sunday and other publications.

Joy Williams

Joy Williams is the author of four novels – the most recent, The Quick and the Dead, was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 – and three collections of stories, as well as Ill Nature, a book of essays that was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Among her many honours are the Rea Award for the Short Story and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, and Laramie, Wyoming.

Val Wilmer

Valerie Wilmer is a music historian who has been documenting African-American music since 1959. She has written several books on the subject and documented her life in jazz in her autobiography – Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This. She is on the advisory panel of the prestigious New Grove Dictionary of Jazz and her photography features in the permanent collections of several museums. She lives in London.

Nicola White

Nicola White won the Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award in 2008 and in 2012 was Leverhulme Writer in Residence at Edinburgh University. The Rosary Garden won the Dundee International Book Prize, was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize, and selected as one of the four best debuts by Val McDermid at Harrogate. She grew up in Dublin and New York, and now lives in the Scottish Highlands.

Elizabeth Wilson

My family was involved in running the British Empire in increasingly lowly postions sliding slowly down the social scale. They felt quite dislocated after WW II and my mother led a very marginal existence. Perhaps because of this she had me educated at St Paul's Girls' School, where I encountered a completely different world of the Jewish and non Jewish intelligentsia, and then at Oxford. Possbily because of the discrepancy between home background and sophisticated educational milieu I was extremely rebellious. I trained as a psychiatric social worker because of an interest in psychoanalysis, but throughout 10 years working in the field I was repelled by its conservative ethos and morality and eventually escaped to a polytechnic. But this time I was involved in Gay Liberation and the Women's Movement, which defined the 1970s for me. In the 1980s I became a lesbian co-parent and later a parent governor at Camden School for Girls. Beginning in the mid-70s I wrote a number of polemical/academic works about women, and then shifted into an interest in fashion and dress (I am currently Visiting Professor at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, London). For some years I was a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, but am now a Green Party member. I am currently working on another novel and also on a book about the necessity of atheism.

Joanna Walsh

Joanna Walsh's work has appearedin Granta, Narrative, The Stinging Fly and Guernica, amongst others. Her first collection, Fractals, was published by 3:AM Press in 2013 and her non-fiction work Hotel was published internationally by Bloomsbury in 2015. This was followed by Grow a Pair and her most recent collection Vertigo, which was published by And Other Stories in the UK in 2016. Her digitally groundbreaking novella Seed was released in 2017 as well as her third collection of stories, Words from the World's End.