The judges for the Northern Writers’ Awards change each year to ensure a mix of taste and opinions is reflected across the awards.


  • Sairish Hussain

    Sairish Hussain is a Bradford-based author and Lecturer in Creative Writing. Her debut novel, The Family Tree, was published by HarperCollins and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, the Portico Prize and The Diverse Book Awards. It was also longlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and winner of Calibre Audio’s ‘Hidden Gem’ Prize. Sairish was selected by Kei Miller as one of ten ‘unmissable writers working in the UK’ for the International Literature Showcase 2021. She was one of the finalists in the Women’s Prize & Good Housekeeping Futures Award, an initiative which celebrates the most promising emerging female authors today. Sairish is now writing her second book.

  • Ross Raisin

    Ross Raisin is the author of four novels: A Hunger (2022), A Natural (2017), Waterline (2011) and God’s Own Country (2008). His work has won and been shortlisted for over ten literary awards. He won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award in 2009, and in 2013 was named on Granta’s once a decade Best of Young British Novelists list. In 2018 he was awarded a Fellowship by the RSL. He has written short stories for various publications and in 2018 published a book for the Read This series, on the practice of fiction writing. Since 2010, Ross has taught an in-demand 6-week fiction course for the Guardian Masterclass programme; he also teaches at the University of Leeds and, as a writer-in-residence, for the education charity First Story. Find more on Ross, his books and teaching here: 


  • Lucy Irvine

    Lucy Irvine is an Agent, working primarily on Peters Fraser + Dunlop’s children’s list. After graduating from University College London with an MA in Issues in Modern Culture in 2017, she interned at Agora Books, PFD’s publishing arm, before becoming assistant to CEO Caroline Michel. She began building her own list in 2019 and was promoted to Agent in June 2021. Alongside building her own list of clients, Lucy sells foreign rights in children’s and YA titles in Eastern Europe, Russia, Portugal, Indonesia, and Brazil, and handles audio narration rights for the agency.


  • Caroline Bird

    Caroline Bird is a poet and playwright. Her sixth collection, The Air Year, won the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2020 and was shortlisted for the Polari Prize and the Costa Prize. Her fifth collection, In These Days of Prohibition, was shortlisted for the 2017 TS Eliot Prize and the Ted Hughes Award. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2002 and was shortlisted for the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2001 and the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2008 and 2010. She was one of the five official poets at the 2012 London Olympics. As a playwright, Bird has been shortlisted for the George Devine Award and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Her Selected Poems, Rookie, was published in May 2022.

  • Anthony Anaxagorou

    Anthony Anaxagorou is a British-born Cypriot poet, fiction writer, essayist, publisher and poetry educator. His poetry has been published in POETRY, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, New Statesman, Granta, and elsewhere. His work has also appeared on BBC Newsnight, BBC Radio 4, ITV, Vice UK, Channel 4 and Sky Arts.  His second collection After the Formalities published with Penned in the Margins is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and was shortlisted for the 2019 T.S Eliot Prize along with the 2021 Ledbury Munthe Poetry Prize for Second Collections. It was also a Telegraph and Guardian poetry book of the year. In 2020 he published How To Write It with Merky Books. He was awarded the 2019 H-100 Award for writing and publishing, and the 2015 Groucho Maverick Award for his poetry and fiction. In 2019 he was made an honorary fellow of the University of Roehampton. Anthony is artistic director of Out-Spoken, a monthly poetry and music night held at London’s Southbank Centre, and publisher of Out-Spoken Press. His poetry collection Heritage Aesthetics was published by Granta Books in 2022.


  • Zaffar Kunial

    Zaffar Kunial is the author of Us (2018), which was shortlisted for both the Costa Poetry Award and the T. S. Eliot Prize. In 2021, he was awarded the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize for Poetry. His new collection of poetry, England’s Green, was published in September 2022.

  • Adelle Stripe

    Adelle Stripe is an author and journalist from West Yorkshire. Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile, her debut novel, was a fictionalised biography inspired by the life and work of playwright Andrea Dunbar. It was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and Portico Prize for Literature. Ten Thousand Apologies, her recent biography of the cult UK band Fat White Family, is a Sunday Times bestseller and a Rough Trade Book of the Year. Her writing has appeared in anthologies including Common People: An Anthology of Working Class Writers, Flashback: Parties for the People by the People, and Excavate: The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall. She is a contributor to the University of Bradford’s ‘New Postscripts’ project, a forthcoming podcast based on J.B Priestley’s classic broadcasts looking at life in the city with a series of contemporary artists for BBC Sounds.

Hachette Children’s Novel Award

  • Lauren Gardner

    Lauren Gardner joined Bell Lomax Moreton in 2014, where she represents authors across Children’s, Teen and YA fiction; and Adult Non-Fiction. She has a passion for children’s literature and is always looking for stories with heart, humour and maybe a high-concept twist (or two). She represents a number of award-winning and bestselling authors including Katy Birchall, Elle McNicoll, Alex Sheppard, Jenni Spangler, and Pooja Puri. In July 2020, Lauren was selected as one of the Bookseller’s Rising Stars, a commendation she continues to try very hard to live up to.  When she’s not at her desk reading ALL the books, you can usually find her walking her four-legged assistant Arnie or sharing breadsticks over an episode of Bluey with her daughter Nell.   

    ‘Having lived and studied in Manchester for four years, I’m honoured to be asked to be part of this year’s judging panel for the Hachette Children’s Novel Award. The work that New Writing North do to encourage and empower writers from the North of England is so vital and I can’t wait to read the amazing entries that come through this year.’

  • Rachel Faturoti

    Rachel Faturoti is a YA and children’s fiction writer, editor, and poet with a passion for broadening the scope of Black representation in YA and children’s fiction. She believes it’s important for readers to see themselves represented well in stories. Rachel was awarded the inaugural Bernardine Evaristo Scholarship to fund her MA in Creative Writing at Brunel. Rachel’s debut middle-grade novel, Sadé and Her Shadow Beasts was published in 2022 by Hachette Children’s Group. Finding Folkshore, Rachel’s debut YA novel, is published in April by Jacaranda Books.  

    ‘I am very excited to be on the judging panel this year and I can’t wait to read the entries from undiscovered talent across the North of England. The publishing industry can feel like a well-guarded secret and schemes such as this one provide writers with the opportunity to interact directly with a publisher, an agent and they’re able to attend professional development sessions too.’

  • Polly Lyall Grant

    Polly Lyall Grant is a Senior Commissioning Editor at Hachette Children’s Group, where she works across middle grade and YA fiction, with authors including Rosie Jones, Dean Atta, Rachel Faturoti, and Tanya Byrne. 

    ‘I am delighted to be a judge this year – as an editor, I am passionate about finding new voices outside of the London sphere. It is essential we change the landscape of the market so we better represent our readers, writers and communities. New Writing North opens doors to creatives, and importantly celebrates the richness of children’s writing in the North of England – I am proud to be a part of their powerful partnership with HCG. Bring on the submissions!’

  • Will Mackie

    Will is Senior Programme Manager (Talent Development) and Programme Leader (MA in Publishing), leading on talent development and devising programmes of support for writers and translators while working alongside partners such as Channel 4, Hachette Children’s Group and the British Council. Additionally, he manages New Writing North’s literary prizes – the David Cohen Prize and the Gordon Burn Prize – and Read Regional, NWN’s programme of library activities in the North. He develops module content for university courses and is Programme Leader on the MA in Publishing, run in partnership with Hachette UK and Northumbria University. He previously worked as an editor for publishers in London and Edinburgh and was Head of Writer Development at the literature charity, Scottish Book Trust.

  • Sarah Lennon Galavan

    As Licensing Manager for Hachette Children’s Group, Sarah works across film/TV, stage, merchandise and audio/digital rights. She began her career in film and TV, working as a production and development assistant and then as a freelance script reader for production companies. In her role at Hachette, she is always looking for stories that can translate brilliantly into another medium.

The Word Factory Northern Apprentice Award

  • Jessie Greengrass

    Jessie Greengrass is an author living in Northumberland. Her short story collection, An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw it won a Somerset Maugham Award and the Edge Hill Prize. Her debut novel, Sight, was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. The High House, published in 2021, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.  

    ‘I was honoured to be asked to mentor for the Word Factroy Award this year. Mentoring is always a thrill – it’s a privilege to be allowed to work with someone in detail, and often I end up feeling that I’ve learned more than I’ve helped. I’m excited to discover new work and new voices and to be given the opportunity to play a small part in their development.’