Allison Pearson is the author of the hugely bestselling I Don't Know How She Does It, which became a major motion picture starring Sarah Jessica Parker, its recent sequel, How Hard Can It Be?, and other novels including I Think I Love You. She is a Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph columnist, and has won many awards including Columnist of the Year, Critic of the Year and Interviewer of the Year.
Katy Brand is a writer, comedian, actor and journalist. In 2008 Katy won Best Newcomer at the British Comedy Awards and she has since appeared in numerous films TV shows, radio programmes and live events. Between 2007 and 2009 Katy wrote and performed her own ITV sketch show Katy Brand's Big Ass Show, taking it out on a live UK tour in 2010. Her debut novel Brenda Monk is Funny was published in 2014, and her debut play 3Women opened at Trafalgar Studios 2 in May 2018 and is published by Samuel French.
Martha Ashby is Editorial Director on the Commercial Fiction list at HarperFiction and commissions across the commercial-literary spectrum. From arresting voices in upmarket book club reads like Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Beth Morrey’s The Love Story of Missy Carmichael, to hilarious contemporary romances like Mhairi McFarlane, to the completely unexpected like Kate Racculia’s Tuesday Mooney Wore Black, she is driven by voice, plot and great characterisation, and looks for novels that move people and leave you thinking about the characters in the book long after you’ve finished reading.
Jenny Éclair is a broadcaster, comedian, actor and Sunday Times bestselling author. She was the first woman to win the coveted Perrier Award. Jenny trained as an actress and has had roles on Holby City, The Bill and Skins, but she is best known for her roles in Grumpy Old Women and on Loose Women, and her other television highlights include, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, Celebrity Masterchef and Countdown. She lives in South London with St Geof of Camberwell and has a daughter.
Marian Keyes is an award winning Irish novelist and non-fiction writer, best known for her work in women's literature. Her novels have been translated into 33 languages. She became known worldwide for Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, Rachel's Holiday, Last Chance Saloon, Anybody Out There, and This Charming Man, with themes including alcoholism, depression, addiction, cancer, bereavement, and domestic violence.
Kathy Lette has written 3 non-fiction books and 14 bestselling novels, including Puberty Blues, which was made into a film and TV mini-series, and Mad Cows (the film starred Joanna Lumley and Anna Friel). Her novels have been published in seventeen languages. Kathy is an autodidact but has Honorary Doctorates from Southampton and Wollongong Universities plus a Senior Fellowship from Regents University, London. She is an ambassador for Plan International and the National Autistic Society and has a cocktail named after her at the Savoy Hotel.
Fanny Blake was a publisher for many years, editing both fiction and non-fiction before becoming a freelance journalist and writer. She has written various non-fiction titles, acted as a ghost writer for a number of celebrities, and has written eight novels, the latest of which, A Summer Reunion, is being published in June by Orion. Fanny was Woman & Home’s Books Editor until 2018.
Lara Marshall has been a librarian with Hillingdon Libraries for thirteen years, running her own book blog for two and has worked with organisations such as the Reading Agency, Arts Council, National Literacy Trust and Society of Chief Librarians on large-scale projects promoting the love of reading for her entire career. She also co-runs Hillingdon's Art & Culture Festival Culture Bite, an all-inclusive celebration of how art and culture can make a difference in people's lives.
Jennifer Young is a novelist and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and an Associate Dean. Her novel, Cold Crash, won the Cinnamon Press Debut Novel Award in 2016. Jennifer is the programme leader for the MA in Creative Writing in the School of Humanities at the University of Hertfordshire. University of Hertfordshire are awarding the MA course to the runner up of the Unpublished Writers' Prize.
Shazia Mirza is an award winning British stand-up comedian and writer from England.
Her recent appearances include The Jonathan Ross Show, Loose Women, The Late Late Show, The Graham Norton Show, and she was the star of Celebrity Island: Bear Grylls (Oct 2017) where she survived a month of starvation, and near death experience. She has toured all over the world and appeared on Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, and The Craig Ferguson Show. Her latest show, The Kardashians Made Me Do It has been a sell-out success all over the UK, US, Sweden, Ireland, and Paris, and she completed 3 sell out runs at London's Soho Theatre.
Born in Glasgow, Susan Calman escaped corporate law in 2006 to become a stand-up comedian. She's now a regular on radio and television panel shows. Susan wrote Cheer Up, Love, a funny, poignant and personal memoir on her life battling with, and finally coming to terms with her depression. Her second book, Sunny Side Up, is a one-woman campaign to spread joy and kindness among the nation in what feels like a dark, shouty time for the world, and was inspired by her time on Strictly Come Dancing. An advocate for LGBTQ+ and mental health issues, Susan lives with her wife and cats in Glasgow.
Karen McPherson spent a number of years working in public libraries, and is a passionate advocate for books and reading. For the last five years she worked at national charity The Reading Agency, on the Radio 2 Book Club, and with a range of literary prizes such as the Man Booker Prize, Women's Prize for Fiction and Wellcome Book Prize. Having previously worked with substance misusing offenders in the criminal justice system, she is now training in psychodynamic counselling.
Judges for the Published Writers' Prize
Joining Allison Pearson and Marian Keyes to judge the Published Writer's Prize are Katy Brand, Kathy Lette and Shazia Mirza
Judges for the Unpublished Writers' Prize
Joining Jennifer Young to judge the Unpublished Writer's Prize are
Martha Ashby, Fanny Blake, Susan Calman, Jenny Eclair, Lara Marshall and Karen McPherson