Mary Beard is a Professor of Classics at Newnham College, University of Cambridge. She is the author of several books, her most recent being Pompeii, The Life of a Roman Town, and Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations. She is currently completing a book on Roman laughter, based on her Sather Classical Lectures at the University of California, Berkeley. She is also Classics Editor of the Times Literary Supplement. In 2010 she presented the BBC 2 series Pompeii: Life and Death in a Roman Town and in 2012 she wrote and presented Meet the Romans with Mary Beard. Mary was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to classical scholarship.