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MGC 1986 Leaver

I am a best-selling author who is probably best known for the Babylon series, including Hotel Babylon and Fashion Babylon – both of which were made into primetime TV series on the BBC. I went on to sell over 1.5 million copies in the UK alone. I am also the author of 20 books including fiction and non-fiction and have worked as a journalist in Fleet Street for over 25 years after I won The Independent newspaper scholarship to study a post-grad in Journalism at City University.

I originally read single Honours Russian at Bristol University, after being quietly asked to leave the French department! A fluent Russian speaker, I was then sent to write about the first 100 days of collapse of Communism by the Mail on Sunday in 1991/2 which lead to my first book, The Taming of Eagles, published in 1993.

As a broadcaster I worked for BBC Radio 4 and 5 as a panellist and documentary maker. I have presented numerous programmes for television, some more successful than others. I was Fashion Correspondent on Richard and Judy’s This Morning, a news reporter at L!VE TV under Janet Street Porter and a panellist on This Week Only, a satirical news show on Channel 4. I have also edited three books for War Child.

I am married, with two children, live in London, and am a member of the London College of Psychic Studies, as well as being an honorary Cossack. My new novel, The Witches of St Petersburg, is about black magic in the Russian Court.

What does success look like?

Success is freedom.

What’s your best piece of advice?

If someone tells you you can’t do something, grit your teeth, dig deep, smile and prove them wrong.