The 2018 Awards was chosen by a panel of industry experts:
- Lemn Sissay MBE is a poet, playwright and occasional broadcaster. He has read poetry all over the world and was the first poet commissioned to write for the London Olympics. His Landmark Poems can be found in public spaces from The Royal Festival Hall in London to The British Council Offices in Addis Ababa. Lemn was official poet for The FA Cup 2015 and his Desert Island Discs was pick of the year for BBC Radio 4 2015. Lemn is Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Patron of The Letterbox Club, Canterbury’s Poet Laureate and Trustee of The Foundling Museum and Manchester International Festival.
- Ali Lewis is the Marketing, Special Projects and Editorial Manager at The Poetry School, a national arts organisation providing inspiring tuition and opportunities for poets and poetry audiences. He manages the Poetry School’s ‘Primers’ and ‘New North Poets’ mentoring schemes, the Ginkgo Ecopoetry Prize, and partnerships with other leading arts organisations. Along with colleague Will Barrett, he runs the Poetry School’s Campus blog, which features poems and reviews by emerging writers. His own poetry has appeared in magazines including The Poetry Review, The Rialto, Ambit and Magma.
- Aki Shilz – Editorial Services Manager for The Literary Consultancy and published writer. Aki Schilz has a Bachelor in English and French Literature from the University of Oxford, and an MA in Creative Writing with Distinction from Bath Spa University. She is the winner of the inaugural Visual Verse Prize, supported by Andrew Motion, and the inaugural Bare Fiction Prize for Flash Fiction. Her short fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been shortlisted for the HG Wells Prize and the Fish Prize, and appear in print (Popshot Magazine, The Colour of Saying, Kakania, An Unreliable Guide to London, Birdbook: Saltwater and Shore, Best Small Fictions 2015, Year’s Best Weird Fiction Vol. 4) and online (tNY.press, The Bohemyth, Synaesthesia Magazine, Annexe Magazine, Cheap Pop Lit, Mnemoscape Magazine, And Other Poems). She is a member of #BAMEinPublishing, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, and sits on the Advisory Board for Penned in the Margins. In 2018, Aki was announced as one of the #FutureBook40, a list of the UK’s top 40 innovators in publishing, for her work at TLC and her #BookJobTransparency which focuses on positive activism to encourage greater salary transparency within the publishing industry.
- Candida Lacey is Publishing Director of Myriad Editions. She worked as a commissioning editor at Routledge, Pandora Press, HarperCollins and Jonathan Cape before joining Myriad where she launched a new publishing programme designed to showcase emerging authors. Now an imprint of New internationalist Publications, Myriad publishes award-winning fiction, narrative and feminist nonfiction, and graphic novels, and organises two regular competitions designed to uncover new talent: First Drafts and the First Graphic Novel Competition.
- Pat Winslow worked for twelve years as an actor before leaving the theatre in 1987. She has published seven collections, most recently, Kissing Bones from Templar Poetry. She has earned recognition in many poetry competitions and her fiction has been anthologized and appeared in journals. For more information see www.patwinslow.com Pat also blogs at http://thepatwinslow.blogspot.co.uk/