The abridged alternative dictionary of authors

You can define what it means to be an author. From activists and lyricists to firefighters and nurses, great writing can come from anywhere and everywhere.

Write Now

Think of an author. Who do you see? Someone who spends their day at a desk perhaps, people from similar places, with similar experiences. People telling great stories, but not always a true reflection of our world. We know that writers can come from anywhere. They can be the early morning tweeters, or the lunchtime lyricists. That one person who keeps the groupchat entertained. Anyone with a story to tell.

WriteNow is Penguin's programme to find and nurture talent from people under-represented on the nation's bookshelves. Finalists receive guidance from a Penguin editor for a year, and ten writers from the programme now have publishing deals with Penguin. Find out more about WriteNow and how to enter. It starts with just 1,000 words...

Camilla Pang


B is for Biochemist

Dr Camilla Pang holds a PhD in Biochemistry from University College London and is a Postdoctoral Scientist specialising in Translational Bioinformatics. At the age of eight, Camilla was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and ADHD at 26-years-old. Her career and studies have been heavily influenced by her diagnosis and she is driven by her passion for understanding humans, our behaviours and how we work.

Nathan Bryon


D is for Daydreamer

Nathan Bryon is an award-winning writer and actor who has written for BAFTA award-winning children's TV shows, such as Swashbuckle and Apple Tree House and critically-acclaimed Rastamouse. A rising star in the world of screenwriting, his animated series, Afro Kid, is currently under option. Look Up! is his debut picture book for children.

Christie Watson

N is for Nurse

Christie Watson was a nurse for twenty years. She worked in a variety of healthcare settings, but spent most of her career in paediatric intensive care in large NHS hospitals before becoming a resuscitation nurse. Her book, The Language of Kindness, gave us an eye-opening insight into working as a nurse in the NHS and beautifully spoke of the need for care and compassion to be central to how we live. Christie now teaches and writes and advocates for nursing. Her first novel, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, won the Costa First Novel Award and her second novel, Where Women Are Kings, was also published to international critical acclaim.

Malorie Blackman

Q is for Queen

Malorie Blackman was born in Clapham, and started her professional life as a systems programmer. A change in direction, that we're all glad she made, has resulted in over seventy books, including the Noughts & Crosses series, Thief and a science-fiction thriller, Chasing the Stars, as well as a fan favourite episode of Doctor Who. Noughts & Crosses, was adapted for television by the BBC in 2020, with none other than Jay-Z's Roc Nation putting together the soundtrack. She was Children's Laureate between 2013 and 2015, and the fifth novel in her Noughts & Crosses series, Crossfire, was published in 2019. Truly a queen.

Crystal Rasmussen

X is for Xtra

Look up the term ‘Global Phenomenon’ in the dictionary and you will simply find a picture of Crystal's face. She's beautiful. She's a model. She looks like a block of cheap Edam that's been left out in the sun. She's known for always having a cigarette in her mouth, while shouting at people for smoking in her face. She also coined the term ‘money’ and has been living in her overdraft since the Wall Street Crash of 1929. 

Out of drag, Tom Rasmussen is a regular contributor to the Independent, Dazed & Confused, i-D, LOVE Magazine and Refinery29. Their work has also been featured in Vice, Broadly, Tank and Gay Times. In 2018 they were named an LGBT trailblazer by The Dots and one of the voices of now for i-D. Tom also forms half of the radical queer punk band ACM.

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