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

Tempest Prize

  • Andrew McMillan

    Andrew McMillan was born in Barnsley in 1988. His debut collection of poetry, physical, was the only poetry book to ever win the Guardian First Book Award; it was also awarded a Somerset Maugham award, an Eric Gregory Award, the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and in 2019 was voted as one of the Top 25 Poetry Books of the Past 25 Years by the Booksellers Association. His second collection, playtime, won the inaugural Polari Prize. A third collection, pandemonium, was published in 2021 and in 2022 he co-edited the acclaimed anthology 100 Queer Poems, which was shortlisted in the British Book Awards. He is professor of contemporary writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and his highly anticipated debut novel, Pity, is due for publication by Canongate on 8 February 2024.

    I was raised to believe that literature isn’t elsewhere, its right where you are; it’s your town, your street, your voice, your accent, your life. So often, growing up as a young man in Barnsley, slowly realising I was gay, the representations of LGBTQ+ life in literature and media felt beautiful but distant. I was very fortunate, to have access to books, and to a world that brought it closer. Over the last decade there’s been a great flourishing of queer literature in the UK, which I’ve benefitted from, and loved being in conversation with. I want, in a small way, to help that continue and develop. The aim of the Tempest Prize is to put my money where my mouth is, pay forward the good fortune and privilege I’ve enjoyed, and shine a light on queer stories wherever they might come from in the North of England.

  • Patience Agbabi

    Patience Agbabi FRSL is a celebrated poet, performer, mentor and novelist. Since 2008, she has been a Fellow in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University. Agbabi was Canterbury Laureate from 2009 to 2010 and received a Grant for the Arts and an Authors Foundation Grant to write a contemporary version of The Canterbury Tales. This fourth poetry collection, Telling Tales, was shortlisted for the 2014 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and Wales Book of the Year 2015. Agbabi’s debut, middle-grade novel The Infinite (Canongate, 2020), was the first of the Leap Cycle time-travel adventure series. It was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction book of 2021 and in the same year, it won Wales Book of the Year: Children & Young People category. The fourth and final book of the series, The Past Master, is due in February 2024.

    I’m honoured to be working alongside Andrew McMillan to judge this brilliant brand new prize for queer writing. I look forward to reading a range of entries across all literary genres and love that the winner will be mentored by him.”

The Finchale Award for Short Fiction

  • Rob Doyle

    Rob Doyle is the author of four internationally acclaimed books: Threshold, Autobibliography, This Is the Ritual, and Here Are the Young Men, which has been adapted for film. His work has been translated into several languages and nominated for various prizes. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Observer, Dublin Review and many other publications, and he edited the anthologies The Other Irish Tradition and In This Skull Hotel Where I Never Sleep. Rob Doyle was born in Dublin.

    I’m delighted to be judging this year’s Finchale Award and to be involved with the Northern Writers’ Awards. Above all, I’m keen to get an insight into what people are thinking, worrying, wondering, dreaming, and writing about — I hope to be dazzled, shaken, entertained, and inspired.

  • Fiona Mozley

    Fiona Mozley is the author of two novels: Elmet (2017) and Hot Stew (2021). She has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Ondaatje Prize and has won a Somerset Maugham Award and the Polari Prize. She has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, New Statesman, Financial Times, Fence Magazine and British Vogue, among others. She has been a judge for the BBC National Short Story Award. She lives in Edinburgh.

    I’m supremely excited to sink my teeth into the submissions for this year’s Finchale Award, and am hoping to find a host of talented new voices.

Sid Chaplin Award

  • Eva Verde

    Eva Verde is a writer from East London. Identity, class and female rage are recurring themes throughout her work and her novels Lives Like Mine and In Bloom are published by Simon and Schuster. Eva’s love song to libraries, ‘I Am Not Your Tituba’ forms part of Kit De Waal’s Common People: An Anthology of Working-Class Writers. Her words have featured in Marie Claire, Grazia, Elle, The Big Issue and Women’s Health. She is also penning the new foreword for the international bestselling author Jackie Collins’ Goddess of Vengeance. Eva lives in Essex with her husband, children and dog.

    It is always a privilege to read the work of emerging talent, and as a working-class writer who knows the importance of prizes and opportunities such as this, I am most honoured to be judging this year’s Sid Chaplin Award 2024. I very much look forward to getting started.

Fiction/Narrative Non-Fiction Awards

  • Ashley Hickson-Lovence

    Ashley Hickson-Lovence is a poet, novelist and creative writing tutor with a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of East Anglia. He is the author of The 392 and Your Show which was longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards. His third book, a young adult novel-in-verse called Wild East, will be released with Penguin in May 2024 and his debut poetry collection will be published in 2025.

    I’m looking forward to discovering new stories written with heart and crafted with flair. It’s such a great privilege to be given unrestricted access to new words, new worlds, new wonders, and I’m particularly looking forward to reading bold, original and innovative works that aren’t afraid to push the boundaries a bit.

  • Rachel Mann

    Rachel Mann is a literary agent at CAA, where she represents clients across the adult, YA and children’s markets, in both fiction and non-fiction, including some poetry. Prior to agenting she worked in-house, editing and commissioning for publishers including Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster.

    It is a sad rarity to be a literary agent based in the North of England, and so I’m very pleased to be supporting the wonderful work of New Writing North alongside Ashley and Malika. Excellent literature knows no borders, despite the restrictions of the industry, and I’m so looking forward to reading the nominees’ submissions.

Poetry Awards and Young Northern Writers' Awards

  • Malika Booker

    Malika Booker is a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, a British poet of Guyanese and Grenadian Parentage, and co-founder of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen (A writer’s collective). The Anthology – Two Young, Two Black, Too Different, Poems from Malika’s Poetry Kitchen was recently published to celebrate Malika Poetry Kitchen’s twenty-year anniversary.

    I am delighted to be the poetry judge for the Northern Writers’s Awards. It is gratifying to be associated with a prize that has  made such a difference to  so many poets lives, and launched the  careers of some notable northern writers. I really admire the developmental and interventionist nature of this prize and  am looking forward to reading the poems you all submit to the prize. I am particularly looking  for imaginative, and ambitious poems from poets whose voices are distinctive and unique.

Hachette Children’s Novel Award

  • J.J. Arcanjo

    J.J. Arcanjo is a half-Portuguese, half-English writer who grew up between the Algarve and Devon. He has a masters in Creative Writing and Publishing from City University, London, and has previously worked in publishing. He spent the early years of his childhood in Portugal and when he moved to the UK learned English through reading – instilling the importance of books in him from a young age.

    When I heard that the Hachette Children’s Novel Award – a programme that seeks to find and nurture underrepresented writers and their stories – wanted me to be a judge, I immediately accepted. I now look forward to working alongside my fellow judges and New Writing North on this hugely important initiative.

    Photo credit: Ziebellphotography

  • Sadie Cheshire

    Sadie Cheshire is the Children’s Range Manager and Buyer for Waterstones. She has spent the last three years growing and broadening the reluctant/dyslexic readers, and the diversity/inclusivity ranges. Appreciating that the UK is a melting pot of cultures, she values the importance of every child being able to find themselves in our books. Amongst her most beloved accomplishments, is the discovery of exciting new publishers committed to promoting own voice and inclusivity. Sadie has also encouraged publishers to reimagine prominent children titles into graphic novels allowing any level of reader access to our most beloved children fiction.

    I’m honoured to have been invited onto the judging panel for this prize. The New Writing North Prize is a much-needed programme and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to help discover new and emerging voices in children’s literature.

  • 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.

  • Aliyana Hirji

    Aliyana Hirji is Commissiong Editor at Hachette Children’s Group, where she works across young, middle grade and YA fiction and Enid Blyton Entertainment, with authors including Jacqueline Wilson, Zanib Mian, Mark Bradley, and Allison Saft.

    The work that New Writing North does is so essential to opening the doors to voices that better represent our readers and wider world. I am delighted to be a judge this year and look forward to reading entries from undiscovered talent in the North of England!

  • Jordan Lees

    Jordan Lees is a literary agent at The Blair Partnership, where he has worked since 2016. He reads and represents across a wide spectrum, from children’s books to crime/thrillers and upmarket fiction. He is also a children’s author, with Puffin publishing his debut middle-grade book, The Whisperwicks, in 2024.

    Thank you to Hachette and New Writing North for inviting me to be a judge on the Hachette Children’s Novel Award. I’m thrilled to be involved and can’t wait to start reading.

Northbound Book Award

  • Maya Caspari

    Maya Caspari is a Lecturer in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York. Her research focuses on the representation of violent histories in contemporary world literature. Her creative writing has been published in the Poetry Review, Ambit and Butcher’s Dog among others; she was highly commended in the 2022 Forward Prizes, and has been longlisted for the National Poetry Competition and the Space Crone Prize.

    She has worked with various arts, heritage and publishing organisations. She recently curated the exhibition, Forms, Voices, Networks: Feminism and the Media at the German Historical Institute, London. She has also worked as a freelance reader for magazines including Wasafiri and Granta, and was Digital Editor at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA).

  • Adam Farrer

    Adam Farrer is a writer and editor based in Manchester. He has performed at literature festivals and events across the UK including Manchester Literature Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Ilkley Literature Festival and Leeds Lit Fest. His writing has been featured in numerous publications, including The Guardian, Lunate, Hinterland and Test Signal (Bloomsbury/Dead Ink, 2021), and his first book, Cold Fish Soup (Saraband, 2022), a memoir in essays about the Yorkshire coast, won the NorthBound Book Award at the 2021 Northern Writers’ Awards. He edits the creative non-fiction journal The Real Story and has lectured in memoir and life writing at the University of Lancaster.

  • Sara Hunt

    Sara Hunt founded award-winning independent publisher Saraband in 1994. Saraband initially specialised in non-fiction, but in 2011 literary fiction was introduced to the list, and Contraband, a sister imprint for crime, mystery and dystopian fiction, followed in 2014. Their titles have won or been shortlisted for dozens of awards, from the Booker Prize (shortlist 2016) to international awards (LA Times and others) and regional awards.

  • Shaun Wilson

    Shaun Wilson was born in 1980 and raised in Wigton, Cumbria. He completed an MA in creative writing at Northumbria University, winning the annual prize for ‘Best Postgraduate Student in Humanities’. In 2018 his debut novel made the final of the Penguin Random House WriteNow programme. In 2019 it won a TLC Northern Writers’ Award and an excerpt was published in Kit de Waal’s Common People anthology. Later that year, following New Writing North’s Talent Party, Shaun signed up with Susan Smith at MBA Agents. He is currently researching autofiction as a PhD student at Northumbria University, having been awarded a Research Development Fund studentship in 2020, and a Northern Bridge Consortium studentship in 2021. In June 2023 he completed a Northern Bridge placement at Semiotext(e) in Los Angeles. He has featured at various festivals and events including York Festival of Ideas, Todmorden Book Festival and BBC radio.