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Annalena McAfee was born in London to Glasgow-Irish parents. She worked on Marvel Comics before training as a junior reporter on local papers in London and went on to work as a newspaper journalist for 32 years.  Her roles included drama critic and arts editor of the Evening Standard, arts and books editor of the Financial Times and founding editor of the Guardian Review, which she edited for six years.

She is the author of eight books for children including ‘The Visitors who Came to Stay’, with illustrations by Anthony Browne, which won the German Jugendliteratur Preis.

In 2011 she published her first novel for adults, ‘The Spoiler’, set in the newspaper industry. Her second novel for adults, ‘Hame’, published last year, explored Scottish history, language and cultural identity against the backdrop of the independence referendum. She also commissioned and edited ‘Lives and Works’, a collection of profiles of contemporary writers. She has served as a judge of the South Bank Show arts awards and the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction and she was a founding member of the campaign to restore the derelict grave of William Hazlitt in Soho. She was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in June this year.