Ross Babbage served for 16 years in Australian government positions. He is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) in Washington DC.

Joan Bakewell is a Labour peer, journalist and broadcaster. A new edition of her autobiography The Centre of the Bed is published in November by Sceptre.

Nigel Biggar is Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the University of Oxford. He is the author of In Defence of War (Oxford).

Grace Blakeley is economics commentator at the New Statesman and author of Stolen: How finance took control of our economy and corrupted our politics (Repeater Books).

Christopher Bray is the author of 1965: The Year Modern Britain was Born (Simon & Schuster) and a film critic for the Mail on Sunday.

Oliver Bullough is the author of Moneyland (Profile Books), which was shortlisted for the 2019 Orwell Prize for political writing.

Nick Cohen is an Observer columnist and author of What’s Left? How the Left lost its way (Harper Perennial).

David Coleman is Professor Emeritus in Demography at Oxford University.

Marie Le Conte, a political journalist, is the author of Haven’t You Heard? Gossip, Power and How Politics Really Works (Blink Publishing), published this month.

Theodore Dalrymple worked for many years as a prison doctor. His latest book is False Positive: A Year of Error, Omission, and Political Correctness in the New England Journal of Medicine (Encounter Books).

John Fuller is a poet, novelist and literary critic. His most recent collection is Double Dactyls (Shoestring Press).

Jonathan Gaisman is a QC practising in commercial law. He used to preside over criminal trials as a Crown Court recorder.

Chris Gunness hosts the podcast MusicPlus for Classical Music magazine. He is a former spokesman for the UNRWA.

Stephen Hough is a classical pianist, composer and writer. His essay collection Rough Ideas is published by Faber and his five-concert residency at Wigmore Hall begins on December 5.

Tristram Hunt is Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum. He was formerly
Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central.

Helen Joyce is editor of the Economist’s economics and finance section.

Nina Khrushcheva teaches international
affairs at The New School in New York. She is co-author of In Putin’s Footsteps: Searching for the Soul of an Empire Across Russia’s Eleven Time Zones (St Martin’s Press).

James Kirchick is a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, and author of The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age (Yale).

Kirsty Lang is a journalist and broadcaster for the BBC. She is a trustee of the British Council.

John Laurenson is a reporter and documentary-maker based in Paris.

Liz Lefroy is a poet. Her latest collection is Mending the Ordinary (Fair Acre Press).

Maureen Lipman is an actress, comedian and writer. She currently plays Evelyn Plummer on Coronation Street.

Melanie McDonagh works for the London  Evening Standard and is a columnist for the Tablet.

Clovis Meath Baker retired from the Foreign Office in 2013. He is an associate fellow of RUSI.

Cindy Polemis is an art historian, and  guide at Tate Modern and Tate Britain. She curates bespoke art tours.

Crispin Sartwell is a philosopher and journalist. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

The Secret Barrister is a practising lawyer,   critic of the criminal justice system, and author of The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken (MacMillan).

Emma Sergeant is preparing for an exhibition at the Garden Museum and working on studies for painting the Palio next July in Siena.

Samir Shah is chief executive of Juniper, a   television and radio production company. He is a former senior BBC news and current affairs executive, and non-executive director.

Peter Simons is Professor Emeritus of philosophy at Trinity College Dublin, where he held the chair of Moral Philosophy.

Tom Tugendhat is the Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling. He chairs the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

A.N. Wilson is author of Prince Albert: The Man Who Saved The Monarchy, published by Atlantic Books.

David Womersley is Thomas Warton Professor of English at the University of Oxford.

John Glynn, who wrote “Overrated: PhDs” and “Underrated: Vocational Qualifications”   in the last issue, misrepresented his professional credentials. We apologise if any readers were misled.

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"