Melvyn Bragg's first novel, For Want of a Nail, was published in 1965 and since then his novels have included The Hired Man, Without a City Wall, and The Soldier's Return, which was published to huge critical acclaim in 1999. He has also written several works of non-fiction including Speak for England, an oral history of the twentieth century, Rich, a biography of Richard Burton, and On Giants' Shoulders, a history of science based on his BBC radio series. He was born in 1939 and educated at Wigton's Nelson Tomlinson Shool and at Oxford where he read history. He is controller of Arts at LWT and President of the National Campaign for the Arts, and in 1998 he was made a life peer. He lives in London and Cumbria.