John Thompson is a professor of sociology at the University of Cambridge and has written widely on the role played by the media and publishing in the shaping of modern society.

In the 2010s, when there was a lot of chatter about the death of the book, Thompson was steadfast in his belief that the naysayers: ‘fail to see that books have this cultural value in the lives of ordinary people which is very deep and very profound and which is not likely to go away very quickly’. He has, to date, been proved right. He has also been prescient in his other interests, notably in the nature of political scandal, which he first wrote about in 2000  - a topic that shows no sign of diminishing in incidence.