Linor Kats is 35 and lives in Ramat-Gan, Israel. She is a student in the Writing Department of Minshar; an Arts college in Tel Aviv. It’s her third year there and in writing, she has found something that she really feels passionate about. As she is also interested in film she hopes to one day combine the two fields.


Ali Smith was born in Inverness, Scotland, in 1962 and lives in Cambridge, England. She is the author of Autumn, How to be both, There but for the, Artful, Free Love, Like, Hotel World, Other Stories and other stories, The Whole Story and other stories, The Accidental, Girl Meets Boy and The First Person and other stories. Hotel World and The Accidental were both short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize. How to be both won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Goldsmiths Prize, and the Costa Novel of the Year Award; and was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Autumn was short-listed for the 2017 Man Booker Prize. 


Marina Lewycka is an author of Ukrainian origin and was born in a refugee camp in Kiel, Germany, during World War II. She studied at Keele University, and has written a number of books of practical advice for carers of the elderly, published by Age Concern. She lectures in media studies at Sheffield Hallam University. Her first novel, The Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (2005) won the 2005 Saga Award for Wit, the 2005 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her second and third novels are Two Caravans (2007) and We Are All Made of Glue (2009). Various Pets Alive and Dead was published in 2012. Her fifth novel, published in 2016, was The Lubetkin Legacy, named after Berthold Lubetkin, the Georgian-born modernist architect, who built popular housing with the slogan: “Nothing is too good for ordinary people.” The Lubetkin Legacy was shortlisted for the Bollinger Woodhouse Everyman for Comic Fiction prize. In 2009 Lewycka donated the short story “The Importance of Having Warm Feet” to Oxfam’s Ox-Tales project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Her story was published in the ‘Earth’ collection. Later the same year, she donated a second short story, “Business Philosophy”, to the Amnesty International anthology Freedom: Short Stories Celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Geoff Schmidt is an American writer. He received degrees from Kenyon College and the University of Alabama and teaches at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. His novel, Write Your Heart Out, has won a Pushcart Prize Special Mention. His short story collection Out of Timewon the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction, 2011. His work has appeared in The Southern Review, Crab Orchard Review, New Orleans Review, and Black Warrior Review. He lives in Edwardsville, Illinois.

Cory Doctorow (1971) is a Canadian-British writer. He has held policy positions with Creative Commons and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and been a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Southern California. He is a co-editor of the popular weblog BoingBoing. His science fiction has won numerous awards, and his YA novel Little Brother spent seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.


Lesley Nneka Arimah is a British writer who grew up in Nigeria and wherever else her father was stationed for work. She has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, a National Magazine Award, and won the African Commonwealth Short Story Prize and an O. Henry Award. Her work has appeared in The New YorkerHarper’sGranta and has received support from The Elizabeth George Foundation and MacDowell, among others. She was selected for the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 and her debut collection What It Means When a Man Falls From The Sky won the 2017 Kirkus Prize and the 2017 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. She lives in Minneapolis and is working on a novel.

*Photo: Emily Baxter

Richard Marsh (1857-1915) was the pseudonym of the British author born Richard Bernard Heldman. He is best known for his supernatural thriller The Beetle: A Mystery, published in the same year as Bram Stoker’s Dracula and initially even more popular. Heldman was educated at Eton and Oxford University. Several of the prolific Marsh’s novels were published posthumously.


Megan Staffel is an American writer. She grew up in Philadelphia and teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She is the author of the novels, The Notebook of Lost Things and She Wanted Something Else, and the story collections The Exit CoachLessons in Another Language and A Length of Wire. Her stories have been published in numerous literary quarterlies and have been short listed in Best American Short Stories and nominated for The Pushcart Prize. Her novel was a finalist for the AWP prize. She lives with the acupuncturist Graham Marks and has two adult children. She splits her time between Brooklyn, New York and a farm in a small town in western New York State. 


Matt Cashion is an American writer. He was born in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, and grew up in Brunswick. He earned a master of fine arts degree from the University of Oregon. His novel Our Thirteenth Divorce (2017) won the Edna Ferber Book Prize. His story collection, Last Words of the Holy Ghost, won the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction in 2015. His first novel, How the Sun Shines on Noise, published by Livingston Press, was a finalist, among 400 manuscripts, in the 2003 William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition co-sponsored by The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society and The Mary Freeman Wisdom Foundation based in New Orleans.  He has worked (in this order): on a tobacco farm, as a short-order cook, in fast-food, at a video store, in an airport tollbooth, as a door-to-door environmental fundraiser, at a chemical plant (now an EPA superfund site), in construction, as an AM disc jockey, as a waiter, as a third-shift convenience store clerk, as a blood donor (part-time), and as a bartender. He has also been an AP award-winning journalist, has taught literature and writing at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and at Mitchell Community College, in Statesville, North Carolina. He is currently Professor of English at The University of Wisconsin, La Crosse.

Kamila Shamsie is the author of five novels, including Burnt Shadows which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, and has been translated into over 20 languages. She has also written a work of non-fiction, Offence: The Muslim Case. A trustee of Free Word and English Pen, she grew up in Karachi and now lives in London.