THE 2020 Published Judges Panel
Lolly Adefope is an award-winning character comedian and one of the most exciting comedy actors to emerge from the UK in recent years. Her solo, multi-character live shows have garnered 5-star reviews and led to sellout runs at both the Edinburgh Festival and London’s West End. Lolly’s extensive broadcast credits include starring in Shrill, Miracle Workers, Ghosts, Loaded, Damned, and Taskmaster. Last year, Lolly wrote and starred in her own short Sorry for the BBC, which was broadcast to great acclaim. She is currently developing her own broadcast and literary projects.
MARIAN KEYES - CHAIR
Marian Keyes has written 13 novels, translated into 33 languages, selling 40 million copies. She was born in Limerick in 1963 and began writing in 1993. Her first novel, Watermelon, was published in Ireland in 1995 where it was an immediate success. Twelve novels and four non-fiction books have followed, most recently, The Break in 2017. The books deal variously with modern ailments, including addiction, depression, domestic violence, the glass ceiling and serious illness, but are always written with compassion, humour and hope.
Emma Kennedy is a best-selling author who has written a number of books the last of which, Shoes for Anthony has been adapted for the stage. She is also a screenwriter who has worked on multiple TV projects including The Kennedys, Dangermouse, Tracey Beaker, Waffle the Wonderdog and Strange Hill High. She has performed in many popular and award-winning comedies including The Smoking Room, People Like Us, Miranda, Goodness Gracious Me, Not Going Out, This Morning with Richard Not Judy and This is Jinsy. Emma won Celebrity MasterChef in 2012.
Pauline McLynn is an Irish author and actor best known for her roles as Mrs Doyle in the sitcom Father Ted, Libby Croker in the comedy-drama Shameless, and Yvonne Cotton in EastEnders. She’s written ten novels, including two series featuring the characters Leo Street and Jenny Q (the latter for younger readers), while contributing short stories to many charity collections including Moments (in aid of Tsunami victims), Magic (in aid of One Parent Families) and Girl’s Night In (for Warchild). She wrote the play Angels for the National Theatre of Great Britain's Connections series and two episodes of the children’s TV series Drop Dead Weird 2.
Joanna Scanlan is a BAFTA-nominated actress and screenwriter. Previously a drama university lecturer, she later worked for the Arts Council of Great Britain, during which she began writing scripts in her spare time. Having made her name in The Thick of It, she is perhaps best known for her critically acclaimed dark satirical NHS drama Getting On. Joanna has written for the children’s series Byker Grove and My Parents are Aliens and has appeared in films such as The Invisible Woman and Bridget Jones’ Baby.
Laura Steven is an author, journalist and screenwriter from the northernmost town in England. She has an MA in Creative Writing and works at a non-profit organisation supporting women in the creative arts. Her TV pilot, Clickbait, was a finalist in British Comedy's 2016 Sitcom Mission. She won the inaugural CWIP Published Prize in 2019 with The Exact Opposite Okay. Izzy O’Neill is now back in the hilarious sequel to The Exact Opposite of Okay in A Girl Called Shameless published by Electric Monkey.
Kate Bradley is the Senior Commissioning Editor at HarperCollins. She publishes fiction aimed at women and has worked on everything from romance and historical fiction to partnerships with heritage brands such as Coronation Street and Quality Street. With thirty years in the bookselling and publishing industry, Kate is passionate about books and the talented people who write them.
Fanny Blake - CHAIR
Fanny Blake was a publisher for many years, editing both fiction and non-fiction before becoming a freelance journalist and writer. She’s written various non-fiction titles, been a ghost writer for several celebrities, and written eight novels, the latest of which, A Summer Reunion, came out in 2019. She’s judged numerous book prizes including the Costa First Novel Award, the Desmond Elliott Award, the British Book Awards and she was a judge on the inaugural CWIP Unpublished Novel Award.
Yomi Adegoke is the co-author of Slay In Your Lane, the critically acclaimed bestselling guide to life for black women and a multi-award winning journalist and author. She has worked at ITN, Channel 4 News and has freelanced for Vogue, Elle, and the Independent amongst others. She is currently the women’s columnist at The Guardian and has a monthly column at the iPaper.
Grace Campbell is a comedian, writer, director and activist. Grace’s television debut was in the 2018 feminist prank show Riot Girls which she wrote, produced, and starred in. Her debut standup show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was a sellout. The show, Why I’m Never Going Into Politics, is a wildly provocative foray into Grace’s childhood in politics, and is now on tour around the country. Grace co-founded the feminist collective the Pink Protest, and she is currently writing a short book called The Future of Men.
Kirsty Eyre grew up on the South Yorkshire/Derbyshire border idolising Victoria Wood, Jo Brand and pretty much the entire judging panel for CWIP. Having studied languages at Nottingham Trent University, her love for theatre led her to write several comedy stage-plays, receiving favourable reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe and performances across London and Brighton. Shortlisted for BBC Sharps, her writing credits include television screenplays and satirical ‘school mums’ poems. Recent influences are Maria Semple, Caitlin Moran and Dolly Alderton. Cow Girl, her debut novel, won the CWIP Unpublished Prize in 2019 and published by HarperCollins in June 2020.
Jennifer Young was born in a small textile town in North Carolina, USA and moved to the UK in 2001. She has since completed a PhD, become the daughter-in-law of a Catholic priest and gained British citizenship. Her novel Cold Crash won the Cinnamon Press Debut Novel Prize in 2016. She is a Head of Writing and Journalism at Falmouth University.
Rachael Ball started cartooning in 1988, for Manchester’s City Life and 90’s cult comic Deadline. Her first graphic novel The Inflatable Woman was one of The Guardian's Best Graphic novels 2015 and shortlisted for the British Book Design Awards 2016. Her second graphic novel, Wolf (2018), was described by TLS as ‘A poignant and elegiac graphic novel which sensitively captures a child’s eye view of the world.’ She’s taught graphic novels and children’s picture books throughout the UK along with LDComics residencies and regular workshops at the House of Illustration and The Art Academy. She is one of the London coordinators for LDC (a monthly meetup comic forum that supports female cartoonists.)
Hannah Berry is an award-winning graphic novelist, comics creator, writer, illustrator, editorial gun-for-hire and UK Comics Laureate 2019-21. In 2018 she was inducted as a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and became the slightly grander ‘Hannah Berry FRSL’. She has published three graphic novels with Jonathan Cape – Britten & Brülightly (2008), Adamtine (2012)
and Livestock (2017) – to a pleasing amount of critical acclaim. She currently does a monthly cartoon strip for Prospect and formerly did a weekly cartoon for the New Statesman.
Janet Ellis - Chair
Janet Ellis is an actress, presenter and author. Janet trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Best known for presenting Blue Peter, she has starred in numerous radio and TV programmes and in 2018 appeared at the Edinburgh Festival. In 2016 Janet was awarded an MBE for services to charities and theatre. A graduate of the Curtis Brown creative writing course, her debut novel, The Butcher's Hook (2016), was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize. Her latest book How It Was (2019) is published by Two Roads.
Jen Brister is a rising star of the British comedy scene, having appeared on TV in Live At The Apollo and Stand Up. Radio credits include shows such as The Now Show, The News Quiz, presenting at BBC6 Music and acting as stand in for Lauren Laverne, Liz Kershaw and Jon Holmes. She also starred in Russell Brand and Trevor Lock’s Cloud Cuckoo Land. Jen has taken several well received solo shows to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, including The Comedy Zone and received critical acclaim for Meaningless now on its second successful run at The Soho Theatre and UK tour. Jen has also starred at the Adelaide & Melbourne Comedy Festivals.
Dr Nicola Streeten is speaker, writer, drawer, teacher of comics and organiser of comics events. She has worked nationally and internationally in a wide range of contexts and with a diverse variety of people. Her graphic memoir Billy, Me & You (2011, Myriad Editions) is about her process of bereavement following the death of her child. Nicola directs LDComics (Est. 2009 as Laydeez do Comics) the international women-led comics forum open to all. Her AHRC funded doctoral research informed her co-editing of The Inking Woman (2018, Myriad Editions) an illustrated history of women’s cartooning in Britain for a general reader. This is complemented by her publication UK Feminist Cartoons and Comics: A Critical Survey (2020 Palgrave Macmillan).
Paula Wilcox is an acclaimed actress very well-known for roles in recent TV hits such as Girlfriends, Upstart Crow, Mount Pleasant, Boomers, Emmerdale and The Smoking Room; and in old favourites like The Queen’s Nose and Man About The House. This January, she can be seen in the new series of Grantchester. Notable recent theatre work includes: Driving Miss Daisy (York Theatre Royal); What Shadows (Birmingham Rep and Park Theatre, London); Great Expectations (Vaudeville Theatre); Canary (Liverpool Everyman / Hampstead Theatre); Bea and Dreams of Violence (Soho Theatre) and La Cage Aux Folles (Playhouse Theatre).