MEET THE TEAM

Polly Allen
Polly is a Sussex-based freelance lifestyle journalist who specialises in travel, culture and fashion. She also writes a travel blog (travellingcalavera.com), drawing on her love of museums, travel-related books, and dark tourism. Find her on Twitter: @misspallen. Her favourite historical travel destinations include Tallinn, Lisbon and Arequipa.
Dr Catriona Bonfiglioli
Catriona is a journalist and a journalism & media studies academic at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. She researches the role of the media in health and science and teaches health and science communication, journalism and media studies. Catriona’s journalism, photographs and travel features have been published in newspapers and magazines in the UK and Australia and online at The Conversation and Croakey. Catriona is a keen amateur photographer who enjoys drawing ancient artefacts
Paul Beston
Paul studied Ancient History at King’s College, London. Alongside lecturing posts at King’s and Royal Holloway in London, he acted as an historical adviser for HBO’s Fire from Heaven. He spent over a decade teaching Classics in Hertfordshire before being lured away from academia to join Peter Sommer Travels as a full-time member of staff and tour guide. He has a lively interest in all periods and regions, but a particular passion for Late Antiquity, Roman Britain and the Near East.
Hilary Bradt
Hilary Bradt first visited Peru in 1969. She returned in 1973 when she travelled the length of South America, accidentally founding Bradt Travel Guides en route by co-writing and publishing Backpacking along Ancient Ways in Peru & Bolivia with her then-husband George. In 2014, on the 40th anniversary of that first book, she published a new edition, Trekking in Peru. Since those early days she has built the company up to be an award-winning publisher specialising in unusual destinations.
Philip Briggs
Philip has been exploring the highways, byways and backwaters of Africa since 1986, when he spent several months backpacking on a shoestring from Nairobi to Cape Town. In 1991, he wrote the Bradt guide to South Africa, the first such guidebook to be published internationally after the release of Nelson Mandela. He has since written a number of guides to countries including Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana, Somaliland & Rwanda. He still spends at least four months on the road
Kate Bolton-Porciatti
Kate lives in Florence, Italy, where she is a lecturer in music and cultural history and a freelance travel writer and hotel critic for the Daily Telegraph and other publications. She has travelled the world, from the heights of the Himalayas to the depths of the Dead Sea. From 1989, for 17 years, she was a producer for BBC Arts and Classical Music.
Dr Stephen Bourke
Stephen is a Near Eastern archaeologist and has worked on numerous international archaeological projects since 1980. He currently directs Sydney University excavations at Pella in Jordan, and has done so since 1992. He previously led four seasons of renewed excavations at Chalcolithic Teleilat Ghassul, Jordan, between 1994 – 99. His interests centre on the Neolithic beginnings of urban life through to the end of the pre-Classical Iron Age in the Levant (ca.6500 – 300BC).
Angus Browne
Angus graduated in Archaeology from Sydney University and has excavated extensively in Jordan. He is also the author of Archie and the Lost Tomb, a tale about a race to discover the tomb of Alexander the Great. http://www.archieandthelosttomb.com
Maree Browne
Maree has a Honours Degree in archaeology from the University of Sydney. She has worked at a variety of archaeological sites both in Australia and in the Middle East. She now lectures in the History of Landscape in the Dept. of the Built Environment at the University of NSW, Sydney. She has travelled extensively through Europe, parts of Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Far East. Her major interests are the effect of specific environments on the human inhabitants
Carol Buxton
Carol decided to become a writer at the age of six, but more practical roles took precedence. Taking early retirement from charity administration, she gained a degree in English Studies & Creative Writing at Ruskin College, Oxford, and a Masters in English Literature from King’s College, London, which rekindled this early ambition. An avid traveller, she likes to combine travelling with her passion for listening to, and performing, classical music.
Sarah Burke
Sarah’s abiding interest in Art pre-dates her acquisition of a BA Hons degree in English Literature and subsequent PGCE and MA. A primary practitioner for over 20 years, she continues to use Art to stimulate her pupils across all subject areas (including Science and Maths!). An avid traveller, she has utilised the time available during the summer holidays to research and visit countries around the world.
Sarah Campbell
Sarah Campbell is a linguist, teacher & writer based in Uppsala, Sweden. She has backpacked widely in Europe, most recently with her young family to the far north of Sweden to experience the midnight sun in the Arctic Circle. She has travelled extensively in India (inspired by her father’s love of the country), including a period living and working in rural Tamil Nadu. Sarah created and runs the @FullTilting Twitter feed and its sister website http://fulltilting.weebly.com/
Simon Carr
After retiring, Simon discovered an abandoned smallholding in the depth of central Portugal. With the help of a digger, a tractor and with the long-suffering support of the Medelim community, he developed the wild, bramble-covered property into an idyllic little domain. He now lives there for two-thirds of the year in a restored field house with a verandah overlooking eighty olive trees, a vineyard, beehives, a pinewood, a eucalyptus copse and an orchard. He has never been happier.
Elizabeth Chandler
Elizabeth is an investment banker who has provided financing advice to sovereigns, cultural institutions & corporations in the US & the emerging markets for over 25 years. Upon learning of Gertrude Bell’s fascinating life & influence in the Middle East, she was compelled to write a screenplay about Bell, and ultimately connected with Oelbaum and Krayenbuhl whose inspiring vision for Letters from Baghdad lead her to join them on producing their film. Elizabeth is currently a partner of ALKeMi
Ben Churcher
Ben is an educator, traveller, historian and archaeologist. He holds an Honours degree in Ancient History, is Field Director at the University of Sydney’s excavations at Pella in Jordan and gives public lectures on archaeological subjects for adults and students. He is Director of Astarte Resources, a company that produces and distributes educational material specialising in ancient history and archaeology and for the past 20 years has led tours in numerous countries.
Urszula Chylaszek
A travelling graphic designer and photographer, addicted to tea and cinema. Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, studied at Dublin's National College of Art&Design for a while, yet still living in Poland. She is a big fan of learning foreign languages and loves riding bicycles and horses.
Ula also runs her own travel photoblog www.chylaszek.eu
Ana Marie Cognorno Mendoza
Ana is a conservationist and President of the International Association of Maria Reiche for Art & Science. Since 1985 she has worked with Maria Reiche to conserve the Nazca Lines and to catalogue the geoglyphs in Peru. She has also arranged a number of exhibitions and conferences on Maria’s work. She is a Professor of Art, Consultant to the Japan Foundation, Consultant to the Government of Peru and National Institute of Culture as well to the Museum of the Nation for films in Peru.
Caroline Courtauld
Caroline Courtauld is a writer, published photographer, documentary film producer & researcher. Her publications include books on Burma, Hong Kong and China. From 1992 to 1997 she worked with Jonathan Dimbleby and Francis Gerard on a BBC documentary project The Last Governor about Hong Kong in the period up to its transfer of sovereignty to China. For her latest documentary Building China Modern she was Co- Executive Producer, it was broadcast as part of American Masters Series (PBS)
Elizabeth Craig
Elizabeth has recently graduated from the University of York with a BA Hons in History of Art. In September 2015 she will continue her studies in History of Art at a Masters level at the same university. Having volunteered on numerous art historical projects around York, including the Art Aesthetica Prize in St Mary’s, she has been nominated for an award for excellent contribution to volunteering.
Sarah Crake
Sarah studied history of art and publishing at university. After five years as a press officer, she travelled extensively around India and Asia, before editing books at a local publishing house in Galle, Sri Lanka. A stint working in Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford further fuelled her passion and interest in Asia and the Islamic World. Berkshire-based, Sarah is a keen photographer and especially enjoys writing about, and photographing, historical architecture.
Dr Emma Cunnliffe
Emma is a heritage consultant specialising in Syria, site damage analysis and in satellite imagery and GIS mapping. She volunteers for the NGO Heritage for Peace who work in Syria, and is a member of the UK Committee of the Blue Shield, an organisation dedicated to protecting cultural heritage in conflict. Her articles and updates on the damage occurring are available here: https://durham.academia.edu/EmmaCunliffe
Jon Culverhouse
Jon has worked at Burghley House since 1984, in the early days of the dramatic 20th century restoration of the great house. Working with Lady Victoria Leatham, he was involved with every aspect of the refurbishment, from the re-leading of the 1 1/2 acre roof to the conservation of remarkable 17th century miniatures. Now, as Curator, he is able to continue the research into, and maintenance of, the Collection.
William Dalrymple
William is a writer and historian. He has written many books including From the Holy Mountain: Nine Lives: The Last Mughal; White Mughals; and Return of a King: The Battle of Afghanistan. His books have won numerous awards including the Duff Cooper and Wolfson prizes, and he has been 4 times long-listed and once shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction. He is also one of the co-founders and co-directors of the annual Jaipur Literary Festival.
Dr Anna Davis
Anna is a Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Since joining the MCA in 2009, she has worked with a diverse range of artists on exhibitions, off-site projects, commissions and special events. Major curatorial projects at the MCA include: Martu Art from the Far Western Desert (Co-Curator with Megan Robson, 2014), Workout: 7 days of experimental performance (2013), Guan Wei: The Journey to Australia, Circular Quay foyer wall commission (2013), MCA Collection.
Andrew Day
Andrew’s first job in the travel industry was for Punk Publishing as a researcher, writer and photographer on the popular Cool Camping series, which are now the UK’s best-selling camping guidebooks. Since then, he has made his living as a full-time travel journalist, with his work appearing in several esteemed publications, including The Telegraph, Herb Lester, Bradt Travel Guides and TNT Magazine. Based in London, Andrew also writes sitcoms & contributes to the satirical BBC Radio 4 Extra show.
Robert Dankoff
Robert is Professor Emeritus of Turkish and Islamic Studies at the University of Chicago. He is a brilliant linguist whose ear for Turkic languages was first sharpened during his years as a Peace Corps volunteer. His academic research has concentrated on Central Asian and Ottoman Turkish texts. He has published several books, his most recent being An Ottoman Mentality: The World of Evliya Çelebi.
Chris Deliso
Chris is an American travel writer and journalist who earned an MPhil in Byzantine Studies from Oxford University in 1999. Since then he has lived in Turkey, Greece and (for the most part) Macedonia. He has contributed to numerous Lonely Planet guides on regional countries, and published travel articles widely in leading travel magazines, newspapers and online. His 2007 travelogue Hidden Macedonia (Haus Publishing) chronicled an epic journey through Greece, Albania and Macedonia.
Sophy Downes
Sophy is a classical archaeologist, who works on ancient Greek and Persian architecture. She has held fellowships in Tehran, Athens, and Berlin and now lives in Rome, where she drinks caffè corretto and admires Borromini churches by day and is writing a book, The Aesthetics of Empire in Athens and Persia, by night.
Dr Tom Duncan
Tom studied Music, then History of Art with Ancient History and Archaeology at Trinity College Dublin, and completed a PhD on the influence of Early Christian Art on Baroque Painting in Rome at Cambridge. He began to lead tours over twenty years ago and in 1999 founded CICERONI Travel, one of the UK’s most respected independent cultural travel companies. When not lecturing or travelling, he devotes most of his time to gardening, music and opera.
Suzanne and Andrew Edwards
Andrew and Suzanne are authors of Sicily and Andalucia, both part of I B Tauris’ Literary Guides for Travellers series. Each book follows in the footsteps of those who have been inspired by the regions in question. Their new book, His Master’s Reflection, has just been published, in which they retrace the route Dr John Polidori took in 1816 when travelling with his new employer, the poet Lord Byron. In addition, Andrew is the translator of Borges in Sicily.
Michael Edwards
Michael had his first travel pieces published by The Guardian, Independent and Telegraph as long ago as the mid-1980s. Although tempted by a career in journalism he never gave up the day-job, continuing to teach Business Studies and coach cricket. Now having taken early retirement from teaching he is finally beginning a second career as a travel writer. On a recent trip to South Africa’s Kalahari Desert he was shocked by the decline of the Khomani San tribe and decided to share their plight.
Dr Damian Evans
Damian is a Canadian-Australian archaeologist with the École Française d’Extrême-Orient, the French research institute that has led work on the Angkor monuments for more than a century. His work involves using advanced geospatial technologies to explore traces of human activity in tropical landscapes from the deep past to the present day. In the course of a twenty-year career he has written widely about Southeast Asian archaeology, and his work at Angkor has been profiled extensively in print.
Linda Falcone
Linda is Director of the Advancing Women Artists Foundation in Italy and author of two nonfiction books, Italians Dance and I’m a Wallflower and If They Are Roses: The Italian Way with Words, as well as the novel Moving Days. Her latest publication written jointly with Jane Fortune, When the World Answered: Florence, Women Artists and the 1966 Flood was released in October 2014.
Carol Faenzi
Carol is an author, lecturer and career coach. Her award-winning historical novel, The Stonecutter’s Aria, is based on her marble-carving, opera-singing ancestor from Carrara, who worked on many of America’s most famous landmarks. She presents programs and writing workshops on preserving family stories and rituals combining storytelling, Italian opera and her own photography. She also leads small artistic and archaeological excursions for small groups into Tuscany and the marble quarries.
Nicholas Fogg
Journalist, author, director, trustee, lecturer: Nick has written numerous books on wide ranging topics from Islam to Shakespeare and writes regularly for all the broadsheets. He was Mayor of Marlborough for two years and directed the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as directing programmes at both the Edinburgh Festival and RADA. He lectures to both the literary & arts fraternities & is a consultant to the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard
Seymour Fortescue
Seymour spent much of his career as a banker. In retirement, he has worked as a consultant for the World Bank on remittances, the small amounts of money sent back by migrant workers to their families at home. He has been to around 120 countries, including 26 in Africa. He lives in Herefordshire and Provence and is planning to write a book on the most interesting small islands of Europe.
Jane Fortune
Founder and Chair of Advancing Women Artists Author, lecturer, art collector and philanthropist, Dr. Jane Fortune, is author of To Florence, Con Amore, 90 Ways to Live the City; Invisible Women, Forgotten Artists of Florence and Art by Women in Florence: A Guide Through 500 Years. Her book Invisible Women, Forgotten Artists of Florence was the basis of a PBS (Public Broadcasting System) documentary of the same title, and the documentary won a coveted Emmy in 2103.
Stuart Forster
Stuart is a history graduate and a widely published freelance travel journalist based in north-east England. He was awarded the 2017 British Annual Canada Travel Award for best online coverage for a feature published on Go Eat Do (www.go-eat-do.com). Stuart was named Journalist of the Year at the Holland Press Awards in 2015 and 2016. His work has been published by the likes of the Mail on Sunday, National Geographic Traveller and Rough Guides. Stuart also undertakes photographic commissions.
Dr Jamie Fraser
Jamie is Project Curator for the Ancient Levant at the British Museum. He completed his PhD in Middle Eastern Archaeology at the University of Sydney, and has worked on archaeological projects in Jordan, Syria, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kashmir, Greece, Cambodia and the Solomon Islands. He directed the North Jordan Tomb Project as part of his PhD research, investigating dolmens and other megalithic structures in the Jordan Valley. He is currently excavating with the BM at Tello in Iraq.
Dr Carrie Gibson
Carrie grew up in the Deep South of the United States, but has lived in the UK for more than 20 years. She worked as journalist for the Guardian, and received a PhD in history from Cambridge. She has travelled extensively in North and South America and the Caribbean and is the author of El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America (Grove Press UK, 2019) and Empire’s Crossroads: A History of the Caribbean from Columbus to the Present Day (Pan Macmillan, 2014).
Ceren Gunel
Ceren is a postgrad student at the University of Greenwich, studying MA Media and Communication. Previously, she completed her degree in BA Political Science and International Relations at Bogazici University in Istanbul. She has writing, editing and designing experience on different publications in Turkey and was also an intern at Milliyet, one of the oldest and biggest newspapers in Turkey.

Her interests include travelling, cultural studies, comparative politics & international relations.
Emma Guy
Emma is a trainee Journalist, Media Producer and arts critic. In the last two years, she has become known for her entertaining writing style which has lead her through the jungles of Malaysia, investigating the effects of palm oil plantations to interviewing international artists, The Chainsmokers. Emma writes for SPG Magazine online where she specialises in satirical features and is an Arts reviewer for the Leicester Mercury.
Dr Navina Haidar
Navina has been a curator in the Met’s department of Islamic art since 1999. She helped lead the planning of the Museum’s Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, & Later South Asia, which welcomed more than 1.5 million visitors since they opened in November 2011. Navina is also co-author of Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Sultans of the South: Arts of India’s Deccan Courts, 1323–1687 (both 2011).
Heinrich Hall
Fluent in four languages, Heinrich has lectured at Trinity College Dublin & was for many years the Assistant Director of the Irish Institute at Athens. A resident of Athens, he is active as a journalist reporting archaeological and cultural developments in print, online, as well as on radio and television. Heinrich has excavated in various parts of Europe & is specialised in Aegean prehistory, which he studied at University College Dublin. He is co-editor of the Blue Guide to the Aegean Islands
Laura Hawkins
Laura is a London-based freelance graphic designer with over nine years of experience, working within both the design and publishing industries. Recently Laura has launched a new side-line business selling hand-made fabric items, using her own bird-inspired print designs to create products including including homeware, bow-ties and purses. Take a look here…! https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/littlebirdstalk
Isa Hemphrey
Isa is a freelance writer from Kent in the United Kingdom. She studied journalism at Kingston University and was the winner of Best Arts Article at the Press Holland Awards 2017. While working as a Copy Editor for Discover Benelux magazine, she was given the opportunity to write about Hieronymus Bosch. Since then, she has written numerous articles on art and culture and hopes to continue finding inspiration and exploring the art world while improving her voice as a writer.
Neil Hennessy-Vass
After a career in broadcasting Neil took the itinerant route of travel, food and arts writer. Also a photographer he’s never without a camera to capture the world’s wonders. Neil has worked with Our Man on the Ground, Families, Darling, Black & White and Mojo magazines and BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and the World Service. He also enjoys polishing off a few glasses for wine publication The Buyer. When not on a plane, Neil can be found on the edges of Kent perusing an atlas and planning the next trip
Matt Horspool
Matt is a freelance photographer born in South Korea and raised in rural NSW. He now lives and works in Northern Sydney working on a variety of national and international projects. With a passion and focus on adventure travel content, his work explores the natural world ranging from ocean depths, soaring remote mountain ranges and aerial bird’s-eye views. His photos have featured in various print and online publications and have won multiple online awards.
Lynn Houghton
Lynn has travelled extensively over the last 15 years, visiting countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas, writing about - and photographing - a range of travel and cultural topics. An early trip to Malawi and Zambia focused on learning to sketch animals in the wild, but the highlight was the incredible interactions with the people in those countries. Lynn is published in magazines, on-line and in newspapers in the UK and is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers.
Joanna James
Joanna started her career as a commodity broker in London, before affecting a daring escape to Beijing, where she studied at Peking University. She now lives on a small island in Hong Kong and works as a freelance writer & photographer when she’s not at the beach or attempting to learn Cantonese.

Joanna is author of the delightful blog 'Little Yak', www.little-yak.com, all about slow journeys, everywhere...
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Paul Beston

Paul studied Ancient History at King’s College, London. Alongside lecturing posts at King’s and Royal Holloway in London, he acted as an historical adviser for HBO’s Fire from Heaven. He spent over a decade teaching Classics in Hertfordshire before being lured away from academia to join Peter Sommer Travels as a full-time member of staff and tour guide. He has a lively interest in all periods and regions, but a particular passion for Late Antiquity, Roman Britain and the Near East.