Victoria Glendinning is a novelist and biographer - and the only writer to have won the Whitbread Prize for biography twice, in 1983 for her studies of Vita Sackville-West and subsequently in 1992 for her biography of Anthony Trollope.

Glendinning attributes her writing career to ‘an instinct to write down what you don’t quite understand, in other people’s lives and in your own’. She married her first husband, Nigel Glendinning, while he was her tutor at Oxford, something that might not be countenanced today, but ‘as for sexual harassment, that had not been invented’. Despite writing eight biographies, she thinks the form is ‘an extremely dodgy exercise’ and writing, she says, has been just one component of a busy life: ‘I never have thought I am a writer in a kind of holy, special way’. She was the judge of the Booker Prize in 1992 and then again for the Best of the Booker Prize in 2008.