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The Judges

Meet Our Judges

GEORGES SZIRTES

POETRY (40 LINES) 2024-25

GEORGES SZIRTES was born in Hungary, came to England as a refugee, and trained as an artist. His twelfth book of poems, Reel (2004) won the T.S. Eliot Prize, for which he has been twice shortlisted since. His latest is Fresh Out of the Sky. (2021). His memoir The Photographer at Sixteen (2019) was awarded the James Tait Black Prize in 2020. He is a co-winner of the International Booker translator’s prize, as well as of numerous others. His own books have been translated into various languages including Italian, German, Chinese, Romanian and Hungarian.

JUNOT DIAZ

AUDIO SHORT STORY 2024-25

JUNOT DIAZ is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer. He was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. His novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has written two collection of short stories: Drown, and This Is How You Lose Her, which was a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

DAMON GALGUT

SHORT STORY (5000 WORDS) 2024-25

DAMON GALGUT is a Booker Prize-winning novelist, short story writer and playwright. He was born in Pretoria in 1963. He published his first novel, The Sinless Season at the age of 17. A collection of short stories came next, Small Circles of Beings. Since then he has published another 7 books. The Good Doctor won the Internal Dublin Literary Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book: Africa and was shortlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize. In a Strange Room was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2012.
Arctic Summer won the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. In 2021, Damon won the Booker for The Promise. He lives in Cape Town, and is currently working on another collection of short stories.

BARBARA BLACK

FLASH FICTION (300 WORDS MAX) 2024-25

BARBERA BLACK has published two collections of short stories: Music from a Strange Planet (2021) and Little Fortified Stories She has twice been long-listed for The Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She was winner of the Federation of BC Writers Literary Contest (Flash Fiction) 2021 and 2022, and their Literary Writes Contest (Prose Poem) 2018. In 2023, she won The Plaza Microfiction Prize, and came second in The Plaza Flash Fiction Prize. She lives in Vancouver, Canada, and rides a Triumph around the ‘twisties’.

NIN ANDREWS

PROSE POETRY 2024-25

NIN ANDREWS is the author of sixteen poetry collections including The Last Orgasm (2020), Miss August (2017), and Why God is a Woman (2015). She is the recipient of two Ohio individual artists grants, the Pearl Chapbook prize, The Kent State University chapbook contest, and the Gerald Cable Award. Her book, Southern Comfort, was a finalist for the Forward prize in poetry 2010, and her collection, Why God is a Woman won the Ohiona Prize for poetry in 2016. Her poetry has been featured in Ploughshares, Agni, The Paris Review, four editions of Best American Poetry, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, and The Best American Erotic Poems. Her collection, Son or a Bird, a Memoir in Prose Poems is forthcoming in 2025 from Etruscan Press.

NATALIE DIAZ

POETRY (60 LINES) 2024-25

NATALIE DIAZ is the author of Postcolonial Love Poem, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, finalist for the National Book Award, Forward Prize in Poetry, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and winner of a Publishing Triangle Award. Her first book, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was
winner of an American Book Award. Diaz is Founding Director of
the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands and the Maxine and
Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona
State University, where she is a Professor in the English MFA program.
In 2021, Diaz was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American
Poets and was a finalist for the Neustadt International Prize for
Literature. She resides in Phoenix, Arizona, but is currently living
in Brooklyn as a Mellon Foundation Research Residency Fellowship and a
Senior Fellow at The New School Institute on Race, Power and Political
Economy. She is the 2024 Yale Rosenkranz Writer in Residence.

LACHLAN MACKINNON

POETRY (20 LINES) 2024-25

LACHLAN MACKINNON has written six books of poems, most recently The Missing Months (Faber, 2022). He has received an Eric Gregory Award and a Cholmondeley Award. He has written books on Shakespeare and modern poetry, and a biography of Russian French novelist Elsa Triolet. He has reviewed regularly for the national press. He has presented academic papers, in English and French, on modern poetry and Shakespeare at conferences in both Great Britain and France and has given readings in both countries. Retired from school-teaching, he lives in Ely.

JASON MOTT

LITERARY: FIRST CHAPTERS 2023-24

JASON MOTT is an Associate Professor in UNC Wilmington’s Department of Creative Writing. He is a bestselling author of four novels and has received numerous awards and accolades for his work including The Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, a Carnegie Medals For Excellence in Fiction Longlist selection, an Aspen Words Literary Prize Longlist selection, a Chatauqua Prize Finalist, a Joyce Carol Oates Prize Longlist selection and in 2021 his most recent novel, Hell of a Book, was the winner of the National Book Award for Fiction. Jason is best known for his 2013 bestselling debut novel, The Returned, about the reappearance of dead residents in a Missouri town, which was later adapted into the US TV series Resurrection.

PAUL FARLEY

AUDIO POETRY 2023-24

PAUL FARLEY is a multi-award-winning poet, writer and broadcaster. He received the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and his latest collection, The Mizzy, was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Costa Book Awards in 2020.

Paul has received widespread acclaim for his poetry, including the Whitbread Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Cholmondeley Prize, the E. M. Forster Award and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. As a broadcaster he has made many features, dramas and radio documentaries with the BBC on art, landscape and literature. Edgelands, a non-fiction book (co-written with Michael Symmons Roberts), was serialised as a Radio 4 Book of the Week. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he also presented BBC Radio 4’s contemporary poetry programme The Echo Chamber. His Selected Poems was published by Picador in 2014.

MONIZA ALVI

POETRY (40 LINES) 2023-24

MONIZA ALVI was born in Lahore in 1954 to an English mother and a Pakistani father. She grew up in Hertfordshire. Her 10 collections of poetry include The Country at My Shoulder (OUP, 1993), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and selected for the 1994 New Generation Poets promotion. Europa (Bloodaxe, 2008) and At the Time of Partition (Bloodaxe, 2013) were both Poetry Book Society Choices and shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Moniza received a Cholmondelely Award in 2002 and she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She has recently gained a PhD from the University of East Anglia on the poetry of Stevie Smith.

VANESSA ONWUEMEZI

SHORT STORY (5000 WORDS) 2023-24

VANESSA ONWUEMEZI is a writer and poet living in London. She is the winner of The White Review short story prize 2019 and her work has appeared in literary and art magazines, including Granta, frieze and Prototype. Her debut short story collection, Dark Neighbourhood, was published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2021 and was named one of the Guardian‘s best books of 2021. It was shortlisted for both the Republic of Consciousness Prize and the Edge Hill Prize in 2022. Her short story ‘Green Afternoon’ was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2022.

DAVID GAFFNEY

FLASH FICTION (1000 WORDS) 2023-24

DAVID GAFFNEY is the author of the novels Never Never (2008), All The Places I’ve Ever Lived (2017) and Out Of The Dark (2021), and the flash fiction and short story collections Sawn-Off Tales (2006), Aromabingo (2007), The Half-Life of Songs (2010) and More Sawn-Off Tales (2013). He has published two graphic novels with Dan Berry – The Three Rooms In Valerie’s Head (2018) and Rivers (2021) – and is working on a third. His chapbook, The Country Pub, was published on Nightjar Press in 2022, his latest short story collection with Salt Publishing, Concrete Fields, is out now and a pamphlet, Whale, with Osmosis Press is due in 2024.

CARRIE ETTER

PROSE POETRY (400 WORDS) 2023-24

American expatriate, CARRIE ETTER, has published four collections of poetry, and her fifth, Grief’s Alphabet, was published by Seren Books in April 2024. Her collection featuring prose poetry, Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014), was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry, and individual prose poems have appeared in The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, Poetry Review, The Rialto, Shenandoah (US), Westerly (AUS), and many other journals and anthologies.

MEG POKRASS

MICROFICTION (300 WORDS) 2023-24

MEG POKRASS is a Scotland-based American author of eight flash collections and two novellas-in-flash. Regarded as a master of both Flash and Microfiction, her work has been included in 3 recent Norton Anthologies of flash fiction form: Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton 2015) and New Micro (W.W. Norton 2018), and the forthcoming Flash Fiction America (W.W. Norton, 2023), as well as The Best Small Fictions (2018, 2020, 2022), and the Wigleaf Top 50. Her stories have appeared in countless literary journals including Electric Literature, Washington Square Review, McSweeney’s, Best American Poetry, Five Points and Smokelong Quarterly. She is the Founding Editor of the award-winning Best Microfiction anthology series.

TIM LIARDET

POETRY (60 LINES MAX) 2023-24

TIM LIARDET has been twice shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, for The World Before Snow (Carcanet) and The Blood Choir (Seren). He has produced eleven collections of poetry to date. He has also been long-listed for the Whitbread Poetry Prize, received several Poetry Book Society Recommendations, a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice, an Arts Council England Writer’s Award, several Society of Authors Awards, a Hawthornden Fellowship, four Pushcart nominations, and various other awards. His poems have appeared or are due to appear in The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, Slate Magazine, North American Review, London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The Poetry Review.

DAVID MARK

CRIME: FIRST CHAPTERS 2023-24

DAVID MARK has written eight Crime novels in the McAvoy series: Dark Winter, Original Skin, Sorrow Bound, Taking Pity, Dead Pretty, Cruel Mercy, Scorched Earth and Cold Bones as well as two McAvoy novellas, A Bad Death and Fire of Lies, which are available as ebooks. His first historical thriller, The Zealot’s Bones, is out now.

Dark Winter was selected for the Harrogate New Blood panel (where he was Reader in Residence) and was a Richard & Judy pick and a Sunday Times bestseller. Dead Pretty was longlisted for the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger in 2016.

NICOLE TRESKA

MEMOIR: FIRST CHAPTERS

NICOLE TRESKA is the author of the debut memoir, Wonderland, forthcoming from Simon & Schuster in July of 2024. Her interviews and reviews are up at Electric Literature, Guernica, The Millions, BOMB, The Rumpus, and then some. Her short fiction has appeared in New York Tyrant Magazine, Epiphany Magazine, and Egress: New Openings in Literary Arts.and her work has been supported by the Jerome Foundation and the Giancarlo DiTrapano Foundation for Literature and the Arts. Nicole is a grant director and professor at The City College of New York where she teaches undergraduate writing and grammar.

BEN CLARK

SFF: FIRST CHAPTERS

BEN CLARK is a literary agent and director of The Soho Agency, London. He is actively building a SFF list. He works extensively with brands, television producers, and magazines in developing their IP for publication. He is drawn to the strange and unusual, stories from the fringes that need to be seen by the mainstream or different perspectives on established narratives that challenge a status quo. When not at his desk you can find him in the kitchen cooking up a storm or on his allotment planting sunflowers with his daughter.

REMY NGAMBIJE

SHORT STORY (8000 WORDS) 2023-24

REMY NGAMIJE is a Rwandan-born Namibian writer, editor, publisher, and photographer. His debut novel The Eternal Audience Of One was first published in South Africa; in 2022 it was honoured with a Special Mention at the African Union’s inaugural Grand Prix Panafricain De Litterature.

He won the Africa Regional Prize of the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and was shortlisted for the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing in 2021 and 2020.

ANGELA READMAN

SUDDEN FICTION 2023-24

ANGEL READMAN is a short story writer from Northumberland.
Her stories have been winners of The Costa Short Story Award,
The Mslexia Competition and the New Flash Fiction Review prize.
Her debut story collection Don’t Try This at Home was shortlisted
is in the Edgehill Prize and was the winner of The Rubery Book Award.
She also writes poetry, her latest collection Bunny Girls
is published by Nine Arches. Her latest story collection
The Girls are Pretty Crocodiles was published in 2022.

RORY WATERMAN

POETRY (20 LINES) 2023-24

RORY WATERMAN has written four collections of poetry. His most recent being, Come Here to this Gate. He co-edits the poetry pamphlet press New Walk Editions. He is also a critic and reviewer, writing regularly for the Times Literary Supplement, PN Review, and other publications. His poetry has been shortlisted for a Ledbury Forte Prize and a Seamus Heaney Prize, and has been made a PBS Recommendation.

ANTHONY JOSEPH

AUDIO POETRY 2022-23

DR. ANTHONY JOSEPH F.R.S.L. is an award winning Trinidad-born poet, novelist, academic and musician. He is the author of five poetry collections and three novels. His 2018 novel Kitch: A Fictional Biography of a Calypso Icon was shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize, the Royal Society of Literature’s Encore Award and the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Fiction. His most recent fiction publication is the experimental novel The Frequency of Magic. In 2019, he was awarded a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship. As a musician, he has released eight critically acclaimed albums, and in 2020 received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Composers Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Kings College, London.

​His 2022 collection Sonnets for Albert won the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry 2022 and the OCM BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Poetry.

PASCALE PETIT

POETRY (40 LINES MAX) 2022-23

PASCALE PETIT Pascale Petit was born in Paris and lives in Cornwall. She is of French, Welsh, and Indian heritage. Her eighth collection of poetry, Tiger Girl (Bloodaxe, 2020), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize and for Wales Book of the Year. Her seventh, Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe, 2017), won the inaugural Laurel Prize, the RSL Ondaatje Prize, and was a Poetry Book Society Choice. Four previous collections were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Pascale was a co-founder of The Poetry School, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She has judged many prizes and was Chair of the 2015 T.S. Eliot Prize.

ANNIE DEWITT

SHORT STORY (5000 WORDS) 2022-23

ANNIE DEWITT is a passionate writer and literary agent. As the Founder of DeWitt Authors at The Shipman Agency she represents literary fiction, nonfiction, poetry and hybrid works of extraordinary authenticity, urgency and voice. Her debut novel WHITE NIGHTS IN SPLIT TOWN CITY was named one of 2016’s “Most Anticipated” debuts by The Millions, was shortlisted by The New York Times Book Review as a debut novel of note and received accolades from BookForum, Interview Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Vogue, amongst many others.

MAYA C POPA

PROSE POETRY 2022-23

DR. MAYA C POPA (b. 1989) is most recently the author of Wound is the Origin of Wonder (W.W. Norton 2022; Picador 2023) and the chapbook Dear Life (Smith|Doorstop 2022), which was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Awards (UK). Wound is the Origin of Wonder was named one of the Guardian’s Best Books of Poetry and has been featured in The Washington Post, The Irish Times, The Harvard Review, Booklist, and elsewhere. Her newsletter, Poetry Today, is a Substack bestseller and featured publication.

American Faith (Sarabande 2019) was runner-up in the Kathryn A. Morton Prize judged by Ocean Vuong. It was awarded the North American Book Prize in 2020. She is the author of three chapbooks, Dear Life, You Always Wished the Animals Would Leave and The Bees Have Been Canceled (PBS Summer Choice) and has received awards from the Poetry Foundation, the Oxford Poetry Society, the Hippocrates Society in London, and the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland, among others.

CARRIE ETTER

MICROFICTION 2022-23

CARRIE ETTER has published five collections of poetry, and her latest, Grief’s Alphabet, was published by Seren Books in April 2024. Her collection featuring prose poetry, Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014), was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry, and individual prose poems have appeared in The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, Poetry Review, The Rialto, Shenandoah (US), Westerly (AUS), and many other journals and anthologies.

MEG POKRASS

FLASH FICTION 2022-23

MEG POKRASS is a Scotland-based American author of eight flash collections and two novellas-in-flash. Regarded as a master of both Flash and Microfiction, her work has been included in 3 recent Norton Anthologies of flash fiction form: Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton 2015) and New Micro (W.W. Norton 2018), and the forthcoming Flash Fiction America (W.W. Norton, 2023), as well as The Best Small Fictions (2018, 2020, 2022), and the Wigleaf Top 50. Her stories have appeared in countless literary journals including Electric Literature, Washington Square Review, McSweeney’s, Best American Poetry, Five Points and Smokelong Quarterly. She is the Founding Editor of the award-winning Best Microfiction anthology series.

SIMON TREWIN

LITERARY: FIRST CHAPTERS 2022-23

SIMON TREWIN has been a literary agent. He has worked for Sheil Land, PFD, UAA, WME (Europe), and now, for himself at Simon Trewin Creative.

In 2023, his client, Paul Lynch, won The Booker Prize for Prophet Song.

RICHARD SKINNER

POETRY (60 LINES) 2022-23

RICHARD SKINNER is the author of three novels published by Faber & Faber – The Red Dancer (2017, translated into eight languages), The Velvet Gentleman (shortlisted for the Prix Lives & Musiques) and The Mirror (2014, two short novels published as one volume) as well as four books of poems published by Smokestack – the light user scheme (2013), Terrace (2015), The Malvern Aviator (2018) and Invisible Sun (2021). His other books include a collection of essays, Vade Mecum (Zero Books, 2015), a bio-graphy, The Busby Babes (Urbane Publications, 2016), and Writing a Novel (Faber & Faber, 2018). He is the Director of the Fiction Programme at Faber Academy.

SAM BLAKE

CRIME: FIRST CHAPTERS 2022-23

SAM BLAKE, Bestselling Crime author, is a character from the imagination of Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin. She has written ten Crime novels. She founded the multi award- winning writing resources website Writing.ie

Vanessa was recently appointed Chair of the Board of the Society of Authors, the UK trade union for all types of writers, illustrators and translators.

TOBY LITT

MEMOIR: FIRST CHAPTERS 2022-23

TOBY LITT is an English writer of short stories, novels, diaries, and poems. He’s the editor of MIR Online and of the Writers Rebel website.

He has written 14 novels, so far. He writes A Writer’s Diary – which you can find on Substack.

TARA LASKOWSKI

SUDDEN FICTION 2022-23

TARA LASKOWSKI is the author of the suspense novels, The Weekend Retreat, The Mother Next Door and One Night Gone, which won the Agatha Award, Macavity Award, and the Anthony Award. She also wrote two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders. She has won the Agatha Award and Thriller Award for her short fiction and was the longtime editor of the online flash fiction journal SmokeLong Quarterly. She lives in Virginia with her husband, crime writer Art Taylor, and their son Dashiell.

ROLAND WATSON-GRANT

SHORT STORY (8000 WORDS) 2022-23

ROLAND WATSON-GRANT is a Jamaican novelist, screenwriter and travel writer. His novels Sketcher and Skid were published by Alma Books (UK). He was shortlisted for the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. He is a 2018 recipient of a Musgrave Award for Literature. He is represented by David Godwin Associates.