Peter Ackroyd, CBE, novelist, critic and biographer, formerly literary editor of the Spectator and chief non-fiction reviewer for the Times, has won numerous literary awards. His London: The Biography (2000) took the South Bank Show Annual Award for Literature.
Michael Alexander travelled widely in the Middle East and India. He was the first Westerner to ascend the lost minaret of Jham in central Afghanistan and to explore the ruins of adjacent Firuzkoh, ancient capital of the Lords of Ghor. The minaret of Jham, rivalled only by Delhi's Kutb Minar, also honours Ghiyath ud-Din (1163-1202), Ghorid conqueror of Delhi. Michael Alexander wrote several biographies, including Queen Victoria's Maharajah: Duleep Singh.