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«The David Cohen Prize for Literature

The David Cohen Prize – Judges

Kate Bassett

Kate Bassett is the Literary Associate at Chichester Festival Theatre, a freelance script consultant and dramaturg, an author and an academic. She has been a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Reading and is currently a Visiting Research Fellow there. As an arts journalist and former theatre critic, she has written for The Times, the Independent on Sunday, the Daily Telegraph and the TLS. She has hosted platform talks at the Barbican, the National Theatre, the British Library and elsewhere, and has served on judging panels for awards including the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and Verity Bargate Award – twice chairing the Edinburgh Comedy Awards. Her book In Two Minds: A Biography of Jonathan Miller (published by Oberon Books) was shortlisted for the HW Fisher Best First Biography Prize, the Theatre Book Prize and the Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre Biography.

Gillian Clarke

National Poet of Wales 2008-2016. Awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2010, the Wilfred Owen Award 2012. Her books include At the Source: A Writers Year(prose); her tenth collection of poems, Ice, was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Award 2012, The Gathering, a poem-sequence for The National Theatre of Wales performed on Snowdon 2014. A new collection, Zoology, is published in 2017.

Simon J. James

Simon J. James is a Professor and the Head of Department at English Studies, Durham University. He is an expert on British literary culture of the nineteenth and early twentieth-centuries, and has published on H. G. Wells, George Gissing and the Victorian bestseller. He is currently editing Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall and writing a book on Charles Dickens and memory. He is the academic curator of the exhibition Time Machines: The Past, the Future, and How Stories Take Us There.

Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson was born in May 1950. He is a British Labour Party politician who served as Home Secretary from June 2009 to May 2010. Before that he filled a wide variety of cabinet positions in both the Blair and Brown governments, including Health Secretary and
Education Secretary. Until 20 January 2011 he was Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. Johnson has been the Member of Parliament for Hull West and Hessle since 1997.

His first book, This Boy, won the RSL Ondaatje prize and the Orwell Prize in 2013. His second, Please Mister Postman, won the National Book Award for Autobiography of the Year in 2014.

Alan Johnson is available for interview.

Denise Mina

After a peripatetic childhood, Denise Mina left school at sixteen and concentrated on doing poorly paid jobs badly and rudely. Doing Highers at night school got her admitted to Glasgow University to study Law. She went onto do a PhD in criminal law and psychiatry, studying the gendered ascription of mental illness. Dissappointedly, she misused her PhD grant to write Garnethill. It was published in 1998 and won the CWA Dagger for Best First Novel. This was followed by Exile and Resolution, completing the Garnethill Trilogy. 2002’s Sanctum was a stand-alone novel, based on a discovered diary. The Paddy Meehan series follows the life of a young female journalist in Glasgow in the 1980s, investigating crime stories in Glasgow in the 1980s and was later produced as a BBC Television series. Still Midnight launched the Alex Morrow books. The End of the Wasp Season and Gods and Beasts won the Theakstons Old Peculiar Award, making her the first writer to win the prize in two consecutive years. She was short listed for the Gold Dagger Award for The Red Road. Her latest book, The Long Drop, is a novelised true crime story. As well as writing novels, she writes plays, three of which have been produced, makes documentaries and films and writes Vertigo and DC Comics. She lives and works in Glasgow.

Anita Sethi

Anita Sethi is an award-winning journalist, critic and writer who has written for the Guardian and Observer, Sunday Times, Independent, Telegraph, New Statesman, Granta, and Times Literary Supplement, among others. In broadcasting she has appeared as a critic and commentator on several BBC programmes and is a regular speaker and chair at festivals in the UK and around the world. She has interviewed authors including Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Zadie Smith, Louis de Bernières, and Ian Rankin. Her short stories and essays have been published in several anthologies. She was born in Manchester, UK.

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