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John le Carré
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A member of the Indian Foreign Service, Pavan K. Varma has served in Moscow, in New York and in Cyprus. He has been Press Secretary to the President of India and is currently director of the Nehru Centre in London.
Ozan Varol is the highest-rated professor at Lewis & Clark Law School and has been described as ‘‘the most interesting new writer of 2018’ by Adam Grant. Before that, he served on the operations team for the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers and the Cassini-Huygens mission that sent a probe to Saturn. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, BBC, TIME, CNN, Washington Post, Quartz, Slate, and Foreign Policy. He has a following of tens of thousands through his active website, blog and podcast where he interviews many bestselling authors and the world’s most interesting people.
Rosita Varón is a new author for Nexus.
Born in Athens in 1961, Yanis Varoufakis was for many years a professor of economics in Britain, Australia and the USA before becoming finance minister of Greece in 2015. His memoir of his experiences in government, Adults In the Room: My Battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment, was a number one bestseller in 2017. His previous book, And The Weak Suffer What They Must? Europe, Austerity and the Threat to Global Stability was a number one bestseller in 2016. He is currently Professor of Economics at the University of Athens and speaks to audiences of thousands worldwide as a co-founder of the Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM25). His daughter Xenia is now fifteen years old and lives in Sydney, Australia. yanisvaroufakis.eu / @yanisvaroufakis
Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574). Vasari's works available in Penguin Classics are Lives of the Artists Volume I and Volume II.
Gretel Killeen started writing comedy by accident when she stood up to perform a very serious poem and everybody laughed. From here she moved to writing and performing comedy in a variety of theatres and clubs across her home country, Australia, and for a number of major radio stations. Gretel's comedy writing then led to television and in 2001 Gretel hosted Australia's Big Brother - a phenomenal success. Gretel has published a number of best-selling books that will split your sides and make your head explode. After you read them, you'll never be the same again . . . She lives in Sydney's famous Bondi with her two children, Zeke and Eppie, the stars of the My Sister books.
In Russia, all volumes of the Night Watch series have sold over two million hardcovers between them. The Night Watch has been adapted into an internationally successful film, which has been distributed round the world. Sergei Lukyanenko lives in Moscow.
Marie 'Missie' Vassiltchikov - later Mrs Peter Harnden - was born in St Petersburg in 1917, the fourth child of Prince and Princess Illarion Vassiltchikov. The family left Russia in 1919, and Missie grew up in Germany, France and Lithuanian, where her father's family had owned property before the Revolution. After the war she lived in France, Spain and England. She died in London in 1978.
Janey was born in Edinburgh and grew up by the seaside just outside the city. Janey published the first two Princess Poppy books herself (with her own illustrations) and the books were so popular that Random House Children's Books soon bought the series and re-packaged the books. The series is now going from strength to strength, including picture books, novels for young readers, activity books and sumptuous gift books. Janey read English at Edinburgh University specializing in the Victorian novel. Following this she became a teacher - a career that she absolutely adored - and then, with her husband, set up The Jelly Club, which has become an extremely successful chain of children's activity centres in Scotland. She still very much enjoys visiting schools and talking to children to find out what they like doing and what makes them laugh. Janey and her husband live in Edinburgh with their three sons. Veronica gained a BA in Graphic Design at Bradford and Liverpool Polytechnic which led her into the world of greetings card design and then book illustration. Veronica says that her favourite thing about illustrating picture books is inventing characters and bringing them to life through her illustrations. Veronica lives and works in the small market town of Otley in West Yorkshire, and in her spare time she enjoys long-distance cycling in the Yorkshire Dales with her partner.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1928, Hal Vaughan has been a news reporter, foreign correspondent and documentary film producer working in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia since 1957. He served in the US military during the Second World War and Korea and was involved in CIA operations as a US Foreign Service officer. Vaughan is the author of Doctor to the Resistance, the story of an American surgeon and his family in occupied Paris, and FDR's Twelve Apostles: the spies who paved the way for the invasion of North Africa. He has spent years piecing together the Chanel story and its cover-up for Sleeping with the Enemy, combing through wartime intelligence archives - public and private, and many newly released - as well as letters and police and court documents in America and Europe. He lives in Paris.
Camoens, Luiz, 1524-1580, Portuguese poet born in Lisbon. He travelled to the Red Sea, Persia and Mozambique and spent some years in Goa, India. After his return to Lisbon in 1572, he published 'The Lusiads' recalling the voyages of Vasco da Gama - a work that became the national epic of Portugal.
Thorstein Bunde Veblen (1857-1929) was an American economist and sociologist. Educated at Carleton College, Johns Hopkins University and Yale University, his most famous work, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), from which this selection is taken, is a satiric look at American society. He coined the widely used phrases "conspicuous consumption" and "pecuniary emulation".
Marcus Veda (Author) Marcus Veda is a yoga teacher and DJ. He is renowned for breaking down difficult poses an pushing people to their edge – with a good dose of fun. Hannah Whittingham (Author) Hannah Whittingham is a yoga teacher, writer and magician’s assistant who can be found strengthening limbs of yogis across London, or bending her own into magic boxes.
After the war Edith married, had twin daughters and eventually emigrated to the USA, though she returns frequently to Europe. One of the daughters lives in west London with her husband and children - Edith's grandchildren.
Born in The Hague in 1923, Max Velthuijs is now considered to have been one of Holland's most important creators of children's books, alongside Dick Bruna. Max won many awards, including the highly prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 2004. He died in 2005, aged 81.
Stephen Venables is best known as the mountaineer who in 1988 became the first Briton to climb Everest without oxygen - one of many pioneering expeditions around the world. He began climbing while at Oxford in the early seventies, and has written eight books about his mountain travels, winning the Boardman Tasker Prize, the King Albert Medal and the Grand Award at Banff International Mountain Literature Festival. He has also appeared in several television documentaries and the IMAX movie, Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure. He lives in Bath with his wife Rosie and Ollie's brother Edmond.
THE PROGRAMMES: Commissioned in 1973 by Doctor Who’s outgoing series producer and script editor, Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks respectively, Genesis of the Daleks was one of the first stories to be developed by Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes. Both favoured a bold and gritty approach to the programme, and the story which emerged bore the hallmarks of their new regime. Encouraged to break new ground with his latest script, Terry Nation took the opportunity to explore the raison d’etre for the ruthless mechanical creatures he had originated in 1963. It had long been realised that their unique speech patterns didn’t lend themselves easily to lengthy scenes of dialogue, and so Nation invented the character of Davros - a crippled humanoid whose blind ambition for supremacy would be passed on to his creations. The six-part serial was filmed on location at Betchworth Quarry in Surrey and at Ealing Studios in January 1975, with studio interiors then being recorded at BBC Television Centre. Its strong material, which in part explored the ethics of racial purity and war, drew criticism from the National Viewers and Listeners’ Association which believed it to be unsuitable for teatime audiences. Such was the popularity of Davros, due in no small part to Michael Wisher’s compelling portrayal, that the character appeared in every subsequent Dalek story – albeit played by different actors. The serial has been repeated on television many times, both in full and as a compilation. Exploration Earth: The Time Machine, the third instalment of a BBC schools radio series exploring the geography of our planet, was recorded in half a day on 27 April 1976. The overriding educational brief meant that the key elements of Doctor Who were being used as tools with which to demonstrate the creation of Earth and so, with studio time at a premium and minimal rehearsals allocated, the cast were allowed little input into the script or their characterisations. The episode was broadcast on 4 October 1976, two days after Episode One of The Hand of Fear was transmitted on BBC1. With teachers encouraged to utilise such programmes as part of their lessons, it provided a unique opportunity for Ron Grainer’s familiarly eerie theme tune to echo around school corridors.
Mariolina Venezia was born in 1961 in Matera and now lives in Rome. She has published three books of poetry, writes for various literary magazines and is a screenwriter for television and cinema.
Over the past two decades, Linda Venis has guided the growth of the UCLA Extension Writers' Programme into the nation's largest creative writing and screenwriting program. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and their daughter.
Sudhir Venkatesh is the William B. Ransford Professor of Sociology, and the Committee on Global Thought, at Columbia University. His last book Gang Leader for a Day, based on the decade he spent with the Black Kings gang in Chicago, was an international bestseller and received a Best Book award from The Economist. He lives in New York City.
Harry Venning (Author) 'Clare in the Community began as a strip cartoon in the social work magazine Care Weekly. Six weeks later Care Weekly ceased publication, but no link was ever established between the two events. After this less than auspicious start she transferred to The Guardian, where she has been ever since. In 2004 Clare made the leap from a printed page to the airwaves of Radio 4 as a sitcom, which demanded her character be fleshed out considerably. We decided that she should be white, middle class and heterosexual - all of which are causes of discomfort to her - and that her obsessive involvement in other people's lives was the way she avoided addressing the problems of her own. At first we had a bit of a dilemma regarding Clare's professional competence. Although we were keen to avoid joining in with the national pastime of denigrating social workers, as popularised by certain right-leaning newspapers, Clare was funnier the more insensitive, oblivious, self-absorbed and generally useless she was. Ultimately, we went for the funny option and so far no social workers have complained of misrepresentation. In fact, quite the opposite. Social workers often compliment us on how accurate the shows are, and are surprised that we have no background in the profession. This is particularly flattering, since we have always prided ourselves on writing the shows from a position of profound ignorance. We have our moles on the inside who feed us workplace jargon and steer us away from glaring inaccuracies, but apart from that we have studiously avoided any kind of research. First, because for the show to have mass appeal it has to be accessible to an audience without any specialist knowledge, and secondly because we are too lazy. People often think it's the actors who make comedies funny, but it isn't. It's the writing. Having said that, Clare in the Community has been particularly lucky in its cast. So, grudging thanks to them. And since we're thanking people we really should mention our infinitely patient, endlessly resourceful, multi-talented producer Katie Tyrell.' Harry Venning & David Ramsden, writers of Clare in the Community, June 2007
Thomas Hardy was born on 2 June 1840. He wrote novels and poetry, much of which is set in the semi-imaginary county of Wessex. His novels include Far From the Madding Crowd (1874), The Return of the Native (1878), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the D'Urbervilles(1891) and Jude the Obscure (1895). He published his first volume of poetry, Wessex Poems, in 1898 and continued to publish collections of poems until his death on 11 January 1928.
J. Craig Venter is one of the leading scientists of the 21st century. He has made visionary contributions in genomic research. He is founder and president of the J. Craig Venter Institute and the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation.
Born in Ohio, USA, in 1898, Norman Vincent Peale grew up helping support his family by delivering newspapers, working in a grocery store, and selling pots and pans door to door, but later was to become one of the most influential clergymen in the 20th-century. Educated at Ohio Wesleyan University and Boston University, he went on to become a reporter on the Findlay, Ohio, Morning Republic prior to entering the ministry and went on to author some 40 books. Peale confessed that as a youth he had 'the worst inferiority complex of all', and developed his positive thinking/positive confession philosophy just to help himself. He died in 1993 aged 95. Scott W. Ventrella has worked closely with the Peale Center to develop a series of exciting business programmes on which this book is based. He lives in the United States.
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