Over 320 new entries are included in Who’s Who 2021, a selection of which appear here.
Credit for photograph of Captain Sir Thomas Moore: Emma Sohl, Capture the Light Photography
Born in Keighley, West Yorkshire, Captain Sir Thomas Moore served in the Army during the Second World War before working as a travelling salesman and a company manager. It was when he walked 100 lengths of his garden during the COVID-19 pandemic that he came to public attention, raising £38.9m including Gift Aid for NHS Charities Together. He was knighted by the Queen and gained two Guinness World Records.
Television presenter, documentary-maker and wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan was born in Alexandria, Scotland in 1972. With series including Into the Wild and Elephant Family and Me, he was awarded an MBE in 2020 for his services to conservation and wildlife film-making. Equally active in his spare time, he enjoys rock climbing, surfing and hill walking.
Sonita Alleyne was born in Bridgetown, Barbados. She founded the content company Somethin’ Else in 1991 and followed this with a portfolio career in media and government before being appointed Master of Jesus College, Cambridge. In her spare time she enjoys creative pursuits such as writing, oil painting, film and reading.
Born in Lusaka, Zambia, Azeem Azhar worked in business journalism and as Strategy Manager for the BBC before founding PeerIndex in 2009. In 2015 he started the newsletter and podcast Exponential View. He is also a Member of the Board at the Ada Lovelace Institute..
Credit for photograph of Dan Jones: Peter Clark
Author, historian and broadcaster Dan Jones was born in Reading. His books include The Plantagenets, Magna Carta, Crusaders and The World Aflame. In his spare time he enjoys music, travel, fitness, swimming and family.
Credit for photograph of Joyce Cairns: Pat Chilton
Born in Haddington, Scotland, artist Joyce Cairns is President of the Royal Scottish Academy. In her spare time she enjoys visiting historical sites, war museums and art galleries and this is reflected in her artwork which includes War Tourist. Here she is in her studio in front of a work in progress ‘Shoes from Majdanek’ (2005) and includes a photograph of her late father, Major Robert William Cairns, MBE, TD alongside some of the artefacts which she collects to use in her work.
Who’s Who contains biographies of all kinds of people from all parts of the world and from all walks of life: the arts, business and finance, the church, the civil service, education, entertainment, sport, government, the law, local government, the media, medicine, professional institutions, science and the trade unions.
Each edition of Who’s Who now contains over 35,000 entries, with approximately one thousand new names appearing for the first time each year.
Uniquely among biographical reference works, entries in Who’s Who are retained for the life of the biographee (being transferred on his or her death to Who Was Who). Who’s Who therefore has an unrivalled historical perspective, listing those who lead and influence the world today, side by side with their living predecessors.
How Are People Chosen for Inclusion?
An invitation to appear in Who’s Who recognises distinction and influence.
‘What is it that really puts the stamp of eminence on a modern British life? Two things count today: having an entry in Who’s Who and being asked to choose your eight favourite records on BBC’s Desert Island Discs.’ – The Wall Street Journal
The editor of the 1897 edition wrote in his preface that Who’s Who seeks to recognise people whose “prominence is inherited, or depending on office, or the result of ability which singles them out from their fellows”. In essence, this continues to be the policy for selection into Who’s Who today.
The majority of Who’s Who biographees are included in recognition of the distinction they have attained in their professional lives, and the influence they exert on British society, ranging from politicians and academics to musicians and film directors. Whilst the majority of entrants are British, notable individuals from across the world are included due to their presence and importance in British and international life.
The holders of some posts, such as MPs, senior judges and high-ranking civil servants, are invited to have an entry as a matter of course, when the appointment itself is of general public interest. For those who do not fit into these categories, a Selection Board meets regularly during the preparation for each edition of Who’s Who to discuss potential entrants. The Selection Board reviews those people whose professions are less rigidly structured, such as artists, actors and sportsmen, as well as professors, scientists and businesspeople. Prominent figures in numerous fields are considered by the Board on the basis of their continuing achievements, and ultimately selected due to their exceptional pre-eminence. Where necessary, the Selection Board consults those with specialist knowledge.
Who’s Who also includes a comprehensive listing of the holders of UK hereditary titles, from Duke to baronet, who are invited automatically. These entries make up approximately 10% of the total listings.
If you would like to nominate yourself or a colleague for consideration by the Selection Board, please send a brief CV to firstname.lastname@example.org or post it to the Office of Who’s Who, 50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP.