Best known for his Horrible Histories series, Deary has sold over 25 million books in over 40 languages but was described by David Starkey as a “parasite”. This Sunderland born butcher’s son is the tenth most borrowed author in British libraries yet views historians as “seedy and devious”. Schools, he has commented, have “no relevance in the 21st century” and libraries, themselves, “have been around too long”. A road runner in his spare time, in October 2013 Deary told Radio 4’s Saturday Live: “I didn’t set out to do anything. I was commissioned. I am a hack”.