Camilla Marriott is a founding member of Start Your Story, and has always loved words and language. As a child, she used to make up stories about Sammy the Squirrel for her little sister, and after leaving Durham University with a 2:1 in English Literature she spent seven years as a sub-editor, writer and commissioning editor on magazines such as Tatler and ELLE. She has led a weekly creative writing workshop for the elderly and written an English Language textbook for Russian business students. She also loves art: at the age of seven, her illustration of an oil tanker was used for an advertisement, and she was the only pregnant thirty year old among blue-haired students when she did an Art Foundation course at Camberwell, after which she painted unflattering but realistic portraits of friends. She is fascinated by other people's ordinary but remarkable stories, and is curious about what people do with the hands they are dealt.
Simonetta Wenkert was born in London of an Italian mother and an Austrian father. Her first story (about two elves, who lived in a cottage with a dome-shaped roof) was 'published' by the head teacher of her infant school, Sister Louis-Marie, who reproduced it on a spirit duplicating machine and distributed it among her pupils. Since then, Simonetta has published two well-received novels by Bloomsbury, as well as two translations from Italian, one of which was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign fiction award. She has also written extensively for the Guardian, Telegraph and Independent, and continues to be fascinated by people and their stories -- enough to occasionally miss her bus-stop if engrossed in a particularly interesting conversation