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«Clarissa Luard Award for Independent Publishers

The Judges – The Clarissa Luard Award

Jenn Ashworth

Jenn Ashworth was born in 1982 in Preston. She studied English at Cambridge and since then has gained an MA from Manchester University, trained as a librarian and run a prison library in Lancashire. She now lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster. Her first novel, A Kind of Intimacy, was published in 2009 and won a Betty Trask Award. In 2011 her second, Cold Light, was published by Sceptre and she was chosen by BBC’s The Culture Show as one of the twelve Best New British Novelists. In 2013 her third novel, The Friday Gospels, was published to resounding critical acclaim and Fell was published in 2016. She lives in Lancaster with her husband, son and daughter.

“I am delighted to be a part of anything that aims to promote, celebrate and support the amazing diversity of small independent presses operating in the UK. Never before has there been such an urgent need for the careful nurturing of voices and perspectives that are, for whatever reason, excluded from the mainstream. Readers are hungry for experiment, for innovation, for risk. The Clarissa Luard award seeks to recognise that important work and I’m excited to be a part of the judging team.”

Sharmaine Lovegrove

Sharmaine Lovegrove is a Film and Television Scout and Literary Editor. She is co-founder and director of Dialogue Scouting, the UK’s first book to film & TV scouting agency as well as being Elle’s Literary Editor. Prior to setting up Dialogue Scouting she set up her own bookshop & creative consultancy in Berlin and has worked in PR, bookselling, event management and digital consultancy.

Gary McKeone

Gary McKeone is currently Programme Director at St George’s House, Windsor Castle. A former Literature Director at Arts Council England, he worked closely with Clarissa Luard. Gary has also worked in theatre with Field Day Theatre Company in Ireland and at the Royal Festival Hall where he worked on the literature programme with poet Maura Dooley. He has previously written for radio and stage and has published a number of pieces in the Guardian and Independent newspapers.

“There are writers, independent publishers, literary magazines and literature organisations across the country who remember Clarissa Luard with deep respect and huge affection. She was tenacious in her pursuit of excellence and imaginative in her approach to everything she touched. This award continues to be a terrific tribute to the mark she made and it is a real personal pleasure for me to be part of this year’s panel. Of course, it would never have occurred to Clarissa that there would be an award in her name but how delighted she would be to know that it is now in the hands of one of our most creative arts organisations.”

“Clarissa and I began as colleagues and became friends. As I write these few words, I can still see her in our Arts Council office, surrounded by books and magazines, not to mention all the paraphernalia of arts bureaucracy. I can hear her on the phone, advising, cajoling, encouraging all those people and organisations she looked after. She really was wonderful so let’s honour and celebrate her legacy far into the future.”

Helen Stanton

Helen Stanton has spent most of her working life in the book trade. She worked for Waterstones for many years, before working in publishing at Headline, Canongate, Birlinn and Polygon. In 2011 Helen took over the independent bookshop, Forum Books, in Corbridge, and opened a second shop, Forum Books Kids, in 2014. Forum Books won Living North Retailer of the Year in 2015, and has won twice in the British Book Awards as the North’s Best Independent Bookshop in 2016 and 2017.

‘Independent publishers, like indie bookshops, are a hive of creativity and innovation. I’m really excited to see the submissions for the Clarissa Luard Award!’

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