After a career as a landscape designer with a focus on natural landscapes, rock formations and waterfalls, Keir Davidson has written books that range from the history of Zen gardens in Japan and the gardens of the fourteenth-century Zen monk Muso Soseki, to the poet Coleridge’s groundbreaking Lakeland fell walks in the early nineteenth century. For more than twenty years he has been associated with the Russell family and Woburn Abbey, initially as a designer and subsequently as an archival historian, and he is the author of Woburn Abbey: The Park and Gardens (Pimpernel Press, 2016), described by John Martin Robinson in Country Life as ‘the best country-house history published in recent years’.
Claire Davies studied graphic design and illustration at Saint Martin’s School of Art and Middlesex University. She has practised as a freelance illustrator and photographer and taught design and illustration courses at the London College of Printing and Chelsea School of Art. She has studied with the garden designer John Brookes, subsequently adding garden design to her many skills. In 2009 she took on the job of designing and re-creating the gardens of the London Charterhouse. A book of her photographs and diary notes recording the transformation of the gardens was published in 2018 – Behind walls, enchanting hidden gardens of the Charterhouse.
Karin Derland is a passionate embroiderer who has taken freestyle embroidery on wool to new heights. She is self-taught and has experimented and learned from her own experiences. Her studies at various art schools in drawing, painting, sculpture and graphics, as well as her work with layouts and printing has trained her eye in colour, form and composition. She gains her inspiration both from Swedish and Indian traditions. Karin has over 5500 followers on instagram (@karin_derland).
Polly Devlin is a writer, broadcaster and filmmaker. She holds an OBE for services to literature. After spending her childhood in Northern Ireland, at the age of twenty-two she took up her first job - as a writer, and soon features editor, on British Vogue, at the heart of 1960s London. A couple of years later she was again transported, to New York, to work for Diana Vreeland on American Vogue - where, once more, she was very much part of the scene she wrote about in her newspaper column and articles including for The Sunday Times, New Statesman and Observer. Her first book, All of Us There, is now a Virago Modern Classic. The most recent, New York: Places to Write Home About (Pimpernel Press, 2017; published in the United States by Gibbs Smith, as New York: Behind Closed Doors) was greeted with delight on both sides of the Atlantic. She now divides her time between London and New York, where, until her recent retirement, she taught Creative Non-Fiction at Barnard College, Columbia University. Polly Devlin lives in West London.
Julian Doberski has degrees in Zoology (BSc Southampton), Forestry (MSc Oxford) and a PhD in biological control of insects using fungi (Cambridge). He has thirty years of teaching experience at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge (and its predecessor institutions) where he was a Principal Lecturer in Ecology. He has jointly published a resource pack for A level ecology students and a range of scientific research and science in education papers. He is currently retired and lives in Cambridgeshire.
Caroline Donald was gardening editor of the Sunday Times for twenty years. A writer and editor with a particular interest in the cross-pollination of gardening, design and the arts – both high and domestic – she has also curated successful series of garden talks at Messum’s gallery in Wiltshire and Durslade, the Somerset outpost of the international art gallery Hauser & Wirth. She has an unruly cottage garden in Somerset.
Jessica Duchen is a music critic, author and librettist. Following twelve years with the Independent, she is a contributor to publications that have included the I Newspaper, The Sunday Times and BBC Music Magazine. Her librettos include extensive work with composer Roxanna Panufnik, notably Silver Birch, shortlisted for an International Opera Award in 2018. Among her other books are biographies of Korngold and Fauré and seven novels on music-related topics. She lives in East Sheen, London SW14.