Ajay Chowdhury is a serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, theatre director and author. He has been co-founder or CEO of various companies including Shazam (sold to Apple) and is currently a senior partner at the Boston Consulting Group and Chairman of Cambridge Enterprise, Cambridge University’s spin-out arm. He is the artistic director of the Rented Space theatre company and has directed over a dozen plays in London and India. He is an award-winning author and has published four novels including the Kamil Rahman detective series. He has an MBA from Wharton, studied theatre directing at the Central School of Speech and Drama and was selected as one of the top 100 BAME business leaders in the UK by The Sunday Times.
Akshat Rathi is a London-based senior reporter for Bloomberg News. He tells stories of the people and their ideas tackling the biggest problem facing humanity: climate change. He has edited a book of essays from young climate leaders and he is currently working on a book about scaling up climate solutions. Akshat has a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Oxford, and a BTech in chemical engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai. You can sign up to his weekly Zero newsletter, subscribe to his weekly Zero podcast, and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn. Previously, Akshat was a senior reporter at Quartz and a science editor at The Conversation. He has also worked for The Economist and the Royal Society of Chemistry. His writings have also been published in Nature, The Hindu, The Guardian, Ars Technica, and Chemistry World, among others.
Amish is a diplomat and author.
Amish published his first book in 2010 and has written 10 books (both fiction and non-fiction) till date. His books have sold 6.5 million copies and been translated into 20 Indian and international languages. His Shiva Trilogy is the fastest-selling book series in Indian publishing history. His Ram Chandra Series (4 of 5 books released) is the second-fastest-selling book series in Indian publishing history. Critics have said that his books are backed by tremendous research, deep thought, a rooted-pride in India, and a liberal progressive outlook.
Forbes India has regularly ranked Amish among the top 100 most influential celebrities in India. Amish was also selected as an Eisenhower Fellow, a prestigious American programme for outstanding leaders from around the world, in 2014. He won the 21 st Century Icon Award in the UK in 2021 and the Golden Book award for his novel Suheldev in 2022. He is also a host for TV documentaries, including for Discovery TV’s highly acclaimed and award-winning Legends of the Ramayan with Amish.
In his diplomatic role, Amish works as the Minister (Culture & Education) at the Indian High Commission to the UK and the Director of The Nehru Centre in London.
Amish is an alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Calcutta; He received the Eminent Alumnus Award from IIM-Calcutta in 2017. He worked for 14 years in the financial services industry before turning to writing.
Amish is a voracious reader, reading 5-6 books on average every month. He is a musicaficionado and was the lead singer in his college band in IIM-C. He was an active sportsperson, particularly in boxing and gymnastics, in his school and college days.
Aneysha is the Founder and CEO of Quantenergy, driving Climate investment in commercial property portfolios. She is on the Board of the UK Proptech Association and is on the Friends Committee for Milton's Cottage Museum, where John Milton wrote Paradise Lost.
She was born and grew up in India, where she studied Architecture and has spent the last 25 years in England. She now divides her time between India and England.
CATHY SCOTT-CLARK & ADRIAN LEVY
Writers Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy were former foreign correspondents for The Sunday Times, and then The Guardian, where they won the One World award for foreign writing, and were made One World Media’s Press Journalists of the Year.
They have produced documentaries for HBO, PBS, BBC 1, BBC 2, C4, Facebook and VICE TV. This year, they won an Emmy for their feature documentary, The Forever Prisoner, on the CIA renditions and black site program, directed by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney. Other films include ‘City of Fear’, on Pakistan’s bloodiest year, nominated at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, and Torture Trail, that won the 2013 Amnesty International award, and was short-listed for the Grierson award, and a finalist in the Rory Pecks.
The have written eight books - Deception, 2008, on US enabling of the AQ Khan nuclear smuggling network, was a Washington Post Book of the Year, and finalist in the Royal United Services Institute, Duke of Westminster’s medal for Military History. The Meadow, an investigation into kidnappings in Kashmir, was published by Penguin in 2012, and won the Ramnath Goenka Award in India, as the best of non fiction. The Siege, an account of the 26/11 assaults on Mumbai, won the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction. Their sixth non-fiction book, 'The Exile', Bloomsbury, in 2017, followed Osama bin laden and his family as they fled Afghanistan and into Pakistan. Last year they published Spy Stories on the war between India and Pakistan’s spy agencies, and this year The Forever Prisoner (Grove, 2022), to accompany the HBO film of the same name.
Davis Bunn's novels have sold in excess of eight million copies in twenty-six languages. He has appeared on numerous national bestseller lists, and his titles have been Main or Featured Selections with every major US bookclub. His recent titles have been named Best Book of the Year by both Library Journal and Suspense Magazine, as well as earning Top Pick and starred reviews from Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, RT Reviews, and Booklist. His latest series, Miramar Bay, has been acquired for world-wide condensation by Readers Digest. In 2019 his feature film screenplay, Island of Time, was acquired by David Lipman (Shrek, Ironman) for Starlings Entertainment. In 2020 his feature-film script Emissary was acquired by Clarion Pictures UK. In 2022 his feature-film script Book of Hours was acquired by Seventy Palms Productions. Currently Davis serves as Writer-In-Residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University. He speaks around the world on aspects of creative writing.
Faiza Khan is a former Consulting Editor at Bloomsbury UK where she has published literary and commercial fiction and has worked with authors including Women’s Prize winner Kamila Shamsie and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka. She is now a freelance editor and a creative consultant for global art institutes. She is a member of the team behind www.silkroadslippers.com, running some of the best writing retreats in the world.
Gurnaik Johal is a writer from West London born in 1998. He won the Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize 2021/2022 and was shortlisted for The Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize in 2018. He graduated from The University of Manchester in 2019. He works in children's publishing.
Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and video film maker, awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, co-editor Poems on the Underground, Trustee of the Poetry Archive and The Society of Authors, she became Chancellor of Newcastle University in 2022. She has been Poet in Residence at Cambridge University Library and worked on several projects across art forms in Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester and Hull as well as the Archives of St Paul’s Cathedral. Her six collections include Over the Moon and the latest, Luck is the Hook, with poems featured on radio, television, the London Underground, Glasgow billboards and Mumbai buses.
Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE, DL is the founder of Cobra Beer, Chairman of the Cobra Beer Partnership Limited, a Joint Venture with Molson Coors, and Chairman of Molson Coors Cobra India. In the Monde Selection, one of the most prestigious quality awards in the world for beer, the Cobra range have collectively been awarded a total of 110 Gold medals since 2001, making it one of the most awarded beers in the world. Lord Bilimoria is the Founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council, a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, a former Chancellor of Thames Valley University (now the University of West London); he was the youngest University Chancellor in the UK when appointed. Karan was a former Senior Non-Executive Director of the Booker Group now TESCO PLC (2007-2016); he is one of the first two visiting entrepreneurs at the University of Cambridge; he is a founding member of the Prime Minister of India’s Global Advisory Council. In 2006, Karan Bilimoria was appointed the Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, making him the first ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords. In 2008 he was awarded the Pravasi Bharti Samman by the President of India. He is an honorary fellow of Sidney Sussex College Cambridge and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Judge Business School, Cambridge University. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young and graduated in law from the University of Cambridge. He is also an alumnus through executive education of the Cranfield School of Management, the London Business School and the Harvard Business School. In July 2014, he was installed as the seventh Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, making him the first Indian-born Chancellor of a Russell Group University in Great Britain, and he is the President of the UK Council for International Students Affairs (UKCISA). Since 2017 Lord Bilimoria has been a Bynum Tudor Fellow at Kellogg College, University of Oxford. Lord Bilimoria is an Honorary Group Captain in 601 Squadron Royal Air Force. In June 2020, he was appointed President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
Lalita is an Executive Producer and Hybrid Learning Events Director for a digital knowledge sharing project at the BBC. She is Founder of Southwick Media Consultancy which works with global brands, charities and foundations to create award winning social impact campaigns. She is also a Society of Leadership Fellow, a BBC Centenary Ambassador, an Advisory Board Member for the women’s organisation Noon, and serves as a founding trustee for the Fathers’ Development Foundation.
Mandeep Rai is a global authority on values, working with companies, institutions, and individuals around the world. She has travelled to more than 150 countries and reported as a journalist for the BBC World Service and Reuters, amongst others.
She began her career in private banking at JPMorgan, and later worked for the United Nations, the European Commission, and grassroots NGOs before setting up the UAE’s first media venture capital fund.
Mandeep studied philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE), has an MSc in International Development from the London School of Economics, and completed an MBA at London Business School, with a year at Harvard Business School and MIT. She also holds a PhD in global values.
Dr Megha Kumar is Deputy Director of Analysis at the global geopolitical risk consultancy Oxford Analytica, where she leads the firm’s work on technology, media and cybersecurity. For over two decades, she has sought to advance gender equality in the workplace and in communities through her advocacy work and academic research. Megha’s work on gender inequity on digital labour platforms was published in a special journal issue as ‘Women gig workers, policymakers and platforms: the pandemic’s impact across several G20 economies’ by Digital Future Society in 2022. Her book Communalism and Sexual Violence in India: The Politics of Gender, Ethnicity and Conflict was published by I.B. Tauris in June 2016. Before joining Oxford Analytica in 2010, Megha taught history at the University of Oxford and held the prestigious Past and Present Research Fellowship at the University of London. She has also worked as a journalist in Delhi. Her broadcast appearances include outlets such as the BBC, South China Morning Post, The Diplomat and Time Magazine. She holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.
Meghnad Desai was associated for 38 years with the London School of Economics (LSE), where he was a professor of economics and the director of the Centre for the Study of Global Governance (1991–2003). He retired as Emeritus Professor of economics and was made Honorary Fellow of the LSE. He joined the British Labour Party in 1971 and was elevated to the House of Lords in June 1991. Meghnad Desai’s research spans over 50 years in a broad range of topics concerning the impact of the private sector and the state in development and Marxian economics, including globalization and market liberalisation. His curiosity and vast contribution to developing the field of economics, from human development to economic history and political economy, have been awarded some of the highest honours of British and Indian civil institutions. He is currently chairman of the advisory board of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF). He has written over thirty books on economics, history, politics and cinema, as well as fiction. He has also written columns for several newspapers and periodicals in the UK and India. He received the Pravasi Bharatiya Puraskar in 2004 and the Padma Bhushan in 2008.
Moni Mohsin was born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan. She started her writing career at The Friday Times, Pakistan’s first independent weekly, where she served as the Features Editor. She is now a freelance journalist and author of three novels, the prize winning The End of Innocence, Tender Hooks and The Impeccable Integrity of Ruby R. Her best selling collection of satirical columns, The Dairy of a Social Butterfly, The Return of the Butterfly and Between You, Me and The Four Walls are based on her long running column for The Friday Times and Dawn.
Nandini Das is professor of Early Modern Literature and Culture in the English faculty at the University of Oxford. Brought up in India, she was educated at the Jadavpur University in Kolkata, before moving to England for further study. Among other books, she is co-editor of The Cambridge History of Travel Writing. A BBC New Generation Thinker, she regularly presents television and radio programmes, including Tales of Tudor Travel: The Explorer's Handbook on BBC4.
Paul Waters is the author of the crime thriller Blackwatertown. He’s an award-winning BBC producer, co-hosts the award-winning We’d Like A Word books and authors podcast, and organises the Chiltern Kills crime fiction festival. Paul has a story in the recently published Taking Liberties anthology, and has just written The Disappearing Pilgrim, an Irish-Indian crossover mystery set in Delhi. Paul’s from Belfast, was a radio reporter around the world, taught in Poland, was a night club cook in New York, smuggled a satellite dish into Cuba, ran a G8 Summit in a South African township and made Pelé his dinner. He’s either in Buckinghamshire or India.
Rachel Dwyer is Professor Emerita of Indian Cultures and Cinema at SOAS University of London. Her most recent books are Bombay before Mumbai: Essays in Honour of Jim Masselos (co-edited with Prashant Kidambi and Manjiri Kamat, 2019)and Cinema and Soft Power: Configuring the National and Transnational in Geo-politics (co-edited with Stephanie Dennison, 2021). She writes a monthly column on Indian culture in ‘Open’.
Rahul Singh has been a writer, journalist and editor of Readers Digest, Indian Express, Sunday Observer. He has penned, among other books, an engaging biography of his father Khushwant Singh,In The Name of the Father, which was launched by Amitabh Bachchan. He has been advisor to World Literacy Canada, President of Satyagyan Foundation, India, President of the media awards committee at the Population Institute Washington. He is presently on the board of Delhi Public Schools and a Washington based non-profit, DKT. Rahul studied in about 11 schools as his father was posted all over during his years in the foreign service. He graduated in History from Kings College, Cambridge.
A visionary woman who has never capitulated on matters that are against basic human rights and morality. She is a strong proponent of sustainable improvement in Pakistan through education, engagement, inspiration, innovation and empowerment opportunities for all (especially the youth). Reham Khan is an internationally recognised personality within the Media Journalism & Broadcasting industry (particularly in Pakistan, United Kingdom, and India). Reham Khan is a single parent & a human rights activist who is considered a leading voice against child abuse & early marriage.
Khan is also a film producer with her debut film "Janaan" a box office hit in Pakistan & the first Pakistani Film to make it to the top ten films in the UK. She is also the author of the most controversial book coming out of Pakistan in recent years in which she took on the incoming government head on & faced death threats for her brave expose of Pakistani elite society & politics. She is an odd case of One Right versus the Many Wrongs happening in our society today. She is described as the survivor with a smile.
Roderick Matthews is a freelance writer specialising in South Asian history. He has written three books, of which the second, Jinnah vs. Gandhi, was a bestseller in India in 2012. He has recently finished a fourth, on the Chandra Shekhar government of 1990-91, which will be published this autumn by HarperCollins. A fifth, a narrative history of British India, is nearing completion. He has contributed articles and reviews on historical subjects for a number of British and Indian publications, including the Literary Review, the Observer, the Independent on Sunday, the Times of India and Open Magazine.
Ruth Padel is an award-winning poet, author and novelist with close links to India, wildlife conservation and classical music. Her most recent publication, Watershed, is a pamphlet of poems on water and climate denial. Her twelve full collections, shortlisted for all UK prizes, include Beethoven Variations (“She tells the great composer’s life story more profoundly than most biographies”, New York Times), We Are All from Somewhere Else, a prose-and-poetry work on migration; and Darwin: A Life in Poems on her great-great-grandfather Charles Darwin. Her first novel, Where the Serpent Lives, featured wildlife conservation in India. Her second novel, Daughters of the Labyrinth, shortlisted for the 2022 Runciman and Anglo Hellenic Prizes, features the little-known Holocaust on the island of Crete, where she has life-long connections. Her non-fiction ranges from tiger conservation to the influence of Greek myth on rock music Her poems have appeared in New York Review of Books, London Review of Books, New Yorker, Times Literary Supplement, Harvard Review and elsewhere. She is Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Zoological Society of London, has served as Chair of Judges for T. S. Eliot and Forward Poetry Prizes, and as Judge for the National Poetry Competition, International Man Booker Prize, Wellcome Trust Science Book Prize and Royal Society Aventis Prize for Science Books. She is Professor of Poetry Emerita at King’s College London and currently writing a non-fiction book on elephants, The Elephant Under the Rainbow.
Shyama is a writer and broadcaster, currently working with CAMHS groups, Recovery Colleges, and NHS hospitals in her role as an Associate Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund. She started as a journalist, became a novelist, and has just finished her first film script. She is also the Chair of SADAA - the South Asian Diaspora Arts Archive held at Birmingham Museum and Gallery, Chair of The Southall Black Sisters Trust, and Chair of the HealthWatch Brent Advisory Group.
Tessa Blackstone started her career as an academic at the London School of Economics. She went onto become the Master of Birkbeck College for 10 years (1987-97). In 1987, Tessa Blackstone was awarded a life peerage. She sits on the Labour benches in the Lords. She was Opposition spokeswoman for Education and Science (1988-92), for Treasury matters (1990-91), and principal Opposition spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs (1992-97). After Labour came into power in 1997, she was Minister of State for Education and Employment (1997-2001) and then served in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport as the Minister for the Arts. Baroness Blackstone is currently Chair of The British Library. She is also Chair of Orbit Housing Group, the British section of the Franco British Council, the British Lung Foundation and the Bar Standards Board. She stepped down as Vice Chancellor of the University of Greenwich in September 2011, as Trustee of the Royal Opera House in June 2014 and as Chair at Great Ormond Street Hospital in 2017. She has published widely in academic journals and written a number of books, mainly on social and educational policy.
Vicky Pryce is Chief Economic Adviser and a board member at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). She was previously Director General for Economics at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Joint Head of the UK Government Economic Service. Before that she was Partner at the accounting and consulting firm KPMG after senior economic positions in banking and the oil sector. She is Visiting Professor at BCU and King’s College, London, is a Fellow and Council member of the UK Academy for Social Sciences, a Fellow of the Society of Professional Economists and a Companion of the British Academy of Management. She is a member of the newly reconstituted Economic Advisory Council of the British Chambers of Commerce , on the Advisory Group of the Betters Statistics CIC, and is co-founder of GoodCorporation, a company set up to advise on business ethics . Her books include: “Greekonomics: The Euro crisis and Why Politicians Don't Get It”; “It's the Economy, Stupid- Economics for Voters”, with Ross and Urwin; Redesigning Manufacturing”, with Nielsen and Beverland”; and “Women vs Capitalism”. Her latest co-authored book, “How to be a Successful Economist”, has just been published by Oxford University Press.
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown was exiled from her birthplace, Uganda, in 1972 is a journalist, broadcaster, and author. She is a weekly columnist for the I newspaper and has written for the Daily Mirror, Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, New York Times, Time Magazine and other publications She has won several awards including the Orwell prize for political writing and in 2017, National Press Awards columnist of the year prize. She was specially commended for this award again in 2018 and was shortlisted in 2023 Society of Editors awards. She is a part time professor of journalism at Middlesex University and was governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company for ten years. She was co-chair of major Imperial College/Health Trust research project headed by Lord Ara Darzai on patient safety. She is a national and international public speaker, a consultant on diversity and inclusion and trustee of various arts organisations. She is co-founder of the charity British Muslims for Secular Democracy. Their new report The Inner Lives of Troubled Young Muslims was published in November 2020. Her recent books include Refusing the Veil, Exotic England about England’s infatuation with the east, In Defence of Political Correctness and Ladies Who Punch. She has twice been voted the 10 th most influential Asian in Britain. She has eight Hon degrees and sits on the boards of arts organisations. She is also a keen cook and theatre buff.