Ruth Valerio is a community activist, Christian, academic, eco-warrior, mum, author, veg grower, wife and pig keeper rolled into one. She is Churches and Theology Director for A Rocha UK and a Director of Cred Jewellery, the world's first fairtrade jewellery company. She has written extensively on justice, environment and lifestyle issues for magazines such as Christianity and Third Way, and has published a bestselling book on sustainable living, L is for Lifestyle.
The late Sheldon Vanauken was educated at the Universities of Yale and Oxford. For many years he was a Professor of English and History at Lynchburg College in his native Virginia.
Michael Vaughan was born in Manchester in 1974. Michael began playing professional cricket at the age of seventeen and first captained the England Under-19 cricket team in 1993. He made his Test debut for England in 1999 against South Africa and in May the following year scored his first Test century against Pakistan. In 2002, Michael scored 900 runs in just seven Tests and was named PCA Player of the Year. Michael was appointed captain of England in 2003, the same year in which he was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year and reached the top of the world rankings. In 2005, Michael captained the team that reclaimed the Ashes in an historic series against Australia and was awarded the OBE. Injury prevented him from captaining the team that travelled to Australia the following year, but on his recovery Michael returned to the Test side and surpassed Peter May's record of twenty wins as England captain. His final total of twenty-six wins makes him the most successful Test captain of all time. Michael Vaughan resigned from the captaincy in 2008 and in June 2009 he retired from all cricket. Michael lives with his wife and two children in Derbyshire.
One of the best-known mountaineers of his generation, Stephen Venables was the first Briton to climb Everest without oxygen, pioneering a new route at the same time. His first book Painted Mountains won the Boardman Tasker Award; reviewing his most recent book, A Slender Thread, the Observer praised his 'novelist's sense of dramatic punch'. As well as eight books, he has written for all the major national newspapers and appeared in numerous television programmes, including the recent BBC Mountain Men series, for which he climbed the Matterhorn in Victorian tweeds and nailed boots, and the BBC's Race for Everest. His most recent project was retracing Shackleton's steps across South Georgia for the IMAX movie Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure. A master storyteller and skilful photographer, he is also a motivational speaker whose illustrated lectures have inspired audiences all around the world.
Mark Vernon used to be a priest in the Church of England and is now a writer, pursuing the ancient philosophers' great question, how to live. His books cover subjects from friendship and belief, to wellbeing and meaning, and he edits two series from Acumen, The Art of Living and Heretics. He also writes as a journalist, his work appearing regularly in the Guardian, TLS, Evening Standard and on the BBC.
Mark Vernon is writer and author of several books including After Atheism (2007), The Philosophy of Friendship (2005) and Wellbeing (2008). He has degrees in physics and theology, and a PhD in philosophy and is an honorary research fellow at Birkbeck College, London. He also writes for newspapers including the Guardian, TLS and Financial Times, and began his professional life as a priest in the Church of England.
Barbara Victor is an American investigative journalist and author with more than 20 years experience of reporting in the Middle East. She was one of the first to report on the massacres in Lebanon at the Sabra and Shatila camps in 1982. She is the author of four novels and six works of non-fiction including: A Voice of Reason, a biography of Hanan Ashrawi (nominated for a Pulitzer Prize), The Lady, a biography of Aung San Suu Kyi, and most recently Army of Roses, a study of Palestinian women suicide bombers (published by Constable & Robinson). She divides her time between Paris and New York.
Gore Vidal was at the centre of literary and intellectual life for half a century and wrote 'The Narratives of a Golden Age' series as well as countless bestsellers. He died on 31st July 2012.