George Walden is a former diplomat and MP with an intimate knowledge of both China and Russia. From 2012 to its demise in 2017 he was the chair of the Russian Booker Prize.

Walden attended not just Cambridge University but the universities of Moscow, Hong Kong and the École Nationale d’Administration in Paris too. The experience served him well as a diplomat in the Foreign Office for more than 20 years, after which he became a Conservative MP. As a parliamentarian he served Mrs Thatcher as Minister for Higher Education from 1985 to 1987. His public career has underlain a second role as a journalist and author, during which he frequently throws off the restraints of diplomacy in favour of trenchant opinions.