Almost 500 new entries are included in Who’s Who 2024, a selection of which appear here.
Born in London, author, poet, playwright and current Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Joseph Coelho has written numerous books for children, including Werewolf Club Rules, If All the World Were, and My Beautiful Voice. He is an ambassador for the UK Literacy Association and the Reading Agency. Alongside this, he enjoys photography, cycling and gardening.
Writer Kit de Waal was born in Warwickshire, and in addition to being Professor at the University of Leicester’s School of Arts, she is also co-founder of the Primadonna Festival and Patron of organisations including Writing West Midlands, Listening Books, and Prisoners Abroad. In her spare time she likes “whistling Rachmaninov, knitting scarves, swearing, high level daydreaming, watching online gym classes, brutal inbox management”.
Peter Laurie has been Chief Executive of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home since 2021, and is also non-executive Director of the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England and Trustee of the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes. His recreations include tennis, cricket, family and the outdoors.
Image credit: DonutsAndBakewells at English Wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0 Deed | Attribution 2.0 Generic | Creative Commons
Sheridan Smith is an actress and singer who has starred on stage, on television and on screen since her early appearance in The Royle Family and her long-standing role in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps. She was awarded an OBE in 2015, and has won awards for her work in the theatre (including Olivier Awards for roles in Legally Blonde and Flare Path) and on television (BAFTA Leading Actress Award for Mrs Biggs).
London-born Inaya Folarin Iman is Director of the Equiano Project, a forum for discussion on culture, race and politics, as well as a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery. She appears as a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze, and her interests include “listening to Amapiano tunes on repeat”.
Lt Col Jonathan Thompson is Equerry to the King, having previously served as Equerry to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, he was a member of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, and enjoys mountaineering and skiing.
Jay Blades is a furniture restorer, author and television presenter, best known for The Repair Shop, as well as Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University. He was awarded an MBE in 2021, and has served as an ambassador for many charities and initiatives, including the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust and Gangs Unite.
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 email@example.com or post it to the Office of Who’s Who, 50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP.