Quentin Crisp was born on December 25, 1908 and attended school in Derbyshire. Following an unsuccessful attempt to become an illustrator and a designer of book covers, Crisp tried freelance writing on a variety of subjects, including window dressing and the Ministry of Labour. Crisp's most popular book was his autobiography, The Naked Civil Servant, which deals openly with the subject of his homosexuality. The book ultimately became a television play that has been broadcast in England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the U.S. Other Crisp books include How to Have a Life-Style, Manners from Heaven, and The Wit and Wisdom of Quentin Crisp. He made his off-Broadway debut with An Evening with Quentin Crisp in 1978. He has also appeared in a variety of movies, including The Bride and Fatal Attraction, and in a video with the rock star, Sting.
Michael Holroyd was born in London, England on August 27, 1935. He was educated at Eton College. He published his first book, a biography of writer Hugh Kingsmill, in 1964. He has also written the biographies of George Bernard Shaw, Augustus John, Lytton Strachey, and Ellen Terry and Henry Irving. His other works include Basil Street Blues, Mosaic, and A Book of Secrets: Illegitimate Daughters, Absent Fathers. He has received several awards including the Heywood Hill Literary Prize in 2001, the David Cohen British Prize for Literature in 2005, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography for A Strange Eventful History in 2009. He was knighted for his services to literature in 2007.