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Philip Pullman is one of the world's most magical and masterful storytellers. After graduating from Oxford University, he became a teacher and later a lecturer in English at Westminster College. He is the author of many books for children and adults, including the Sally Lockhart series, I Was a Rat! and The Firework-Maker's Daughter. He is most well-known, however, for the trilogy His Dark Materials, which comprises Northern Lights, for which he won the Carnegie of Carnegies; The Subtle Knife; and The Amber Spyglass, which was the first children's book to win the Whitbread Book of the Year. He is also the author of Lyra's Oxford and the prequel to the series, Once Upon a Time in the North. In 2002, Pullman received the Eleanor Farjeon Award for children's literature and, in 2005, was joint winner of the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, granted by the Swedish government. His latest book, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, is a bold and life-affirming retelling of the life of Jesus. Philip Pullman lives in Oxford. He is working on a new book, The Book of Dust.

Erica Wagner is Literary Editor of The Times. She writes a weekly column in the Saturday Review section of the paper, and has interviewed many of the world's leading writers, including Philip Roth, Doris Lessing, Donna Tartt, Seamus Heaney, Roddy Doyle and Peter Ackroyd. Erica is also an accomplished author in her own right – her books include Gravity, a collection of short stories, and Ariel's Gift, a biographical gloss on Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters. Her novel, Seizure, was published in Britain and the US in 2007; it is about to appear in France as Saisissements, from Editions au-delà du raisonnable. She has judged many literary prizes; the Man Booker in 2002 (when the winner was Yann Martel's Life of Pi), the Orange Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Forward Prize. She lives in London with her husband and son.