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Sifters and Readers

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

Poetry

  • Roshni Gallagher

    Roshni Gallagher is a poet from Leeds living in Edinburgh. Her debut pamphlet Bird Cherry is published by Verve Poetry Press. She is the winner of an Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award. Her work has appeared in a variety of literary publications including Best Scottish Poems, Butcher’s Dog, Magma, New Writing Scotland, and Propel.

  • David Spittle

    David Spittle is a poet, filmmaker, librettist, and essayist. Spittle has published five collections of poetry, B O X (HVTN, 2018), All Particles and Waves (Black Herald Press, 2020), Rubbles (Broken Sleep Books, 2022), Decomposing Robert (Black Herald Press, 2023), and How Eyes Rest (HVTN, forthcoming). He runs an ongoing series of interviews with filmmakers talking-about-poetry and poets talking-about-film, the first volume Light Glyphs (Broken Sleep Books, 2021) includes interviews with John Ashbery, Guy Maddin, Andrew Kötting, Iain Sinclair, So Mayer, Lisa Samuels and many others.

  • Anna Woodford

    Anna Woodford is the author of five poetry books and pamphlets: Changing Room (Salt, 2018), Birdhouse (Salt, 2010), Party Piece (Smith Doorstop, 2009), Trailer (Five Leaves, 2008) and The Higgins’ Honeymoon (2003). She has won an Authors’ Foundation award, an Eric Gregory award, a PBS recommendation, an Arvon/Jerwood apprenticeship and two Northern Writers’ Awards.

Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction

  • Crista Ermiya is a short story writer. Originally from London, of Filipino and Turkish-Cypriot heritage, she has lived in North East England for more than 20 years. Her short story collection The Weather in Kansas (Red Squirrel Press) was selected as a New Writing North ‘Read Regional’ title and included in Best British Short Stories 2016 (Salt). She has read at various festivals and events over the years and was a writer-in-residence at Crossing Border festival in The Hague.

  • Françoise Harvey

    Françoise Harvey is a writer and freelance editor. She has been published in Best British Short Stories 2017, The Lonely Crowd, Confingo, Black Static and Interzone, amongst many other places, and has been shortlisted for the Bristol and Bridport Short Story Prizes and listed in the top 50 for the BBC National Short Story Award. Before going freelance she was the production editor (and occasional guest editor) at Mslexia magazine. She is the host of NARC magazine’s ‘My Writing Life’ podcast and is founder and curator of the HARK! The Sound of Stories events online and in venue in Darlington, where she lives. She was awarded a Northern Writers’ Award in 2017 and an Arts Council DYCP grant in 2021. francoiseharvey.wordpress.com

  • Richard Smyth

    Richard Smyth is a writer and critic. He’s the author of twelve books, including An Indifference Of Birds, The Jay, The Beech and The Limpetshell and the novel The Woodcock. His short stories have been widely published and broadcast, and his writing appears regularly in The Guardian, The TLS, Literary Review, New Humanist and Prospect, among others. He lives in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

  • David Whetstone

    David is a journalist who has been writing about the arts in the North East since the 1980s. For more than 30 years he was Arts Editor of The Journal, the regional morning newspaper, and from 2005 to 2017 he also edited the monthly Culture magazine which covered the region’s cultural scene in depth. He now works as a freelance journalist, specialising in arts and culture, for newspapers and online publications. He has interviewed many writers, in print and on stage at book festivals, and has reported on the Northern Writers’ Awards since their inception. He has been delighted to see winners’ writing careers develop. Having been a judge on several writing competitions, he is always excited to see new talent emerge and understands how the encouragement and validation that comes with a prize, to say nothing of a little financial support, can help that to happen. 

Children's Fiction

  • Ann Coburn

    Ann Coburn is an award-winning author and playwright with a career spanning thirty years. She specialises in fiction for children and young adults, as well as theatre plays and screenplays for both children and adults. Ann also works as a dramaturge, freelance writing mentor, creative writing tutor and academic, with previous roles including Lecturer in Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow.

  • Clare Weze

    Clare Weze won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2016 and is the author of Carnegie-nominated The Lightning Catcher (Bloomsbury). Her work can be found in Best Microfiction 2019, The Conglomerate, Commonword, Reflex Fiction, Riptide, The Lascaux Review and elsewhere, and she is represented by The Good Literary Agency. She grew up between London and Yorkshire and her background is in environmental and biological sciences.