British Book Awards Judges


Judges for the 2019 British Book Awards will be announced on Friday 1st February.

2019 Chairs

  • Philip Jones
    Overall chair of the judges and chair of Audiobook of the Year
    Editor Philip is editor of The Bookseller, a position he took up in August 2012. Before that he was deputy editor, having first joined the magazine in 1996. He was its web editor for 10 years, having helped launch in 1998. He is a regular commentator on book trade matters on radio, TV and in the broadsheet newspapers.
  • Alice O'Keeffe
    Chair of the Books of the Year, and chair of Debut and Fiction Book of the Year
    Alice O’Keeffe is the Books Editor at The Bookseller and so is lucky enough to read books for a living. She interviews authors for The Bookseller’s weekly author profile slot and writes about all the wonderful new fiction published each month in an overview that covers all genres. Alice began her career in books as a buyer at Book Club Associates before moving to and joined The Bookseller in 2008.
  • Benedicte Page
    Chair of the Trade Publishing categories
  • Tom Tivnan
    Chair of the Trade Retail categories
  • Alison Flood
    Chair of Fiction - Crime & Thriller
    Alison Flood is the Guardian's books reporter and the former news editor of the Bookseller.
  • Fiona Noble
    Chair of Children's Book of the Year
    Fiona Noble is the Children's & YA Previews Editor for The Bookseller and a freelance children's books consultant. Fiona has over 20 years experience of the children's book world, starting out as a Saturday library assistant aged 16, and has gone on to work in a variety of bookselling and publishing roles, including Children's Books Manager for the Ottakar's book chain.
  • Caroline Sanderson
    Chair of Non Fiction - Lifestyle and Non Fiction - Narrative Book of the Year
    Caroline is Associate Editor and non-fiction previewer for The Bookseller. She is also the editor of ALCS News, the online magazine of the Authors Licensing & Collecting Society; and Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Worcester. Caroline is the author of five non-fiction books, including ‘A Rambling Fancy: In the Footsteps of Jane Austen’; and ‘Someone Like Adele'. She is a regular broadcaster, and co-hosts a monthly book club on BBC Radio Gloucestershire. Caroline regularly chairs events at literary festivals, and is a judge for the Wales Book of the Year 2016.
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2018 Books of the Year Judges

  • Matt Bates
    WH Smith travel
    Fiction buyer
    Matt has been rated as one of the Top 1000 most influential Londoners in the Evening Standard. He is an Associate Vice President of the Romantic Novelists Association and In 2016 he judged both The Costa Book Prize (Novel) and The Booksellers Association Debut Fiction Category Prize. In 2017 he was named as one of The Bookseller 100 list.
  • Fanny Blake
    Fanny was a publisher for many years, editing both fiction and general non-fiction before becoming a journalist and writer. She has written various non-fiction titles, acted as a ghost writer and is now a novelist.
  • Karen Brindle
  • Francesca Brown
    Stylist and Emerald Street
    Books editor
    Francesca is a freelance editor for Stylist magazine and its sister website, Emerald Street. She works on book-related content big and small from weekly reviews, news pieces, reading features to interviewing authors including Philip Pullman, Jessie Burton and Eimear McBride for the magazine and website. She's also hosted talks with Marlon James, Marian Keyes, Kit De Waal, Nina Stibbe and Paula Hawkins for Stylist Live and Emerald Street LitFest. She needs more bookshelves.
  • Frank Cottrell Boyce
    Frank is an established British children's author whose work includes the 2004 CILIP Carnegie Medal winner Millions, Framed, Cosmic, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again, The Astounding Broccoli Boy and Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth. Frank's books have been held with the greatest admiration and been shortlisted for several awards including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award, the Whitbread Award and Roald Dahl Funny Prize among others. He lives in Merseyside with his family.
  • Rebecca Davies
    Urban Outfitters Europe
    Rebecca is responsible for the books, vinyl and tech product ranges at Urban Outfitters Europe. The high street fashion chain is renowned for vast stores which mix trend-led own brand products with an edit of brands tailored to their young customer base. With 52 stores across 10 countries in Europe, the lifestyle brand has introduced gift books to its young demographic and is one of the biggest non-traditional booksellers in the market.
  • Nicky Diss
    Actor & Director
    Nicky Diss is an actor, director and voice-over artist. She is a regular narrator of audiobooks including Enid Blyton's St Clare's series. She is the Co-Artistic Director of Open Bar Theatre Company, touring theatre to pub gardens and Open Book Theatre Company touring adaptations of classic literature to libraries.
  • Sabine Durrant
    Novelist and journalist
    Sabine is the author of three psychological thrillers, Under Your Skin, Remember Me This Way and The Sunday Times Bestseller Lie With Me. Her previous novels are Having It and Eating It and The Great Indoors, and two books for teenage girls, Cross Your Heart, Connie Pickles and Ooh La La! Connie Pickles. She is a former features editor of the Guardian and a former literary editor at the Sunday Times, and her writing has appeared in many national newspapers and magazines. She lives in south London with her partner and their three children.
  • Peter Florence
    Hay Festival
    Founder and director
    Peter started Hay Festival in 1987 around his mother’s kitchen table, with his parents and a few friends. Over the last 31 years Hay Festival has brought more than 4 million people to events in 15 countries around the world. This year there are editions in Wales, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Spain.
  • Bryony Gordon
    Author, feature writer and columnist for The Telegraph
    In the 18 years that she has worked for the Telegraph, Bryony Gordon has become one of the paper's best-loved writers. She is the author of the bestselling The Wrong Knickers plus The Sunday Times Number One bestseller Mad Girl which was nominated for a British Book Award. Her weekly column in the Sunday Telegraph has won her an army of fans who have followed her journey from single girl about town to - finally! - settled mum. Bryony is now 37 and lives in Nappy Valley (Clapham) with her daughter Edie and her husband, a financial journalist. The last sentence is one she never thought she would see written down on paper.
  • David Headley
    Goldsboro Books
    Managing director
    David Headley studied theology in London and Durham before co-founding and becoming the Managing Director of Goldsboro Books, a much admired, leading independent bookseller, based in central London. He has gained a reputation for championing debut authors and he created the UK’s largest collectors’ book club. David has won awards for bookselling and in 2015 he was included in the Top 100 most influential people in publishing by The Bookseller.
  • Charlotte Heathcote
    Daily Express, Sunday Express
    Literary editor
    Charlotte Heathcote is Literary Editor of the Daily Express and the Sunday Express. She writes, commissions and edits book reviews and opens towers of book post which make every day feel like Christmas. Charlotte started her career in book publishing, working for André Deutsch and BBC Worldwide, before moving into journalism. She has worked on the Express since 2007.
  • Phil Henderson
    Buying manager, books
    Phil is a Council Member of the Booksellers’ Association of the UK & Ireland. After graduating in History from the University of Glasgow, Phil joined ASDA and over the last 20 years has worked on most areas of non-food, before coming into Books 4 years ago. Having found the publishing industry, he says he never wants to leave!
  • Sali Hughes
    Journalist, author and broadcaster
    Sali is resident columnist on The Pool, Guardian Weekend and Empire, contributing editor on Red. She is author of Pretty Honest and Pretty Iconic (4th Estate), presenter on Soho Radio and regular contributor on Woman's Hour, You & Yours and Today. Sali is a campaigner on homelessness and co-founder of Beauty Banks, providing essential toiletries to the homeless and seriously poor.
  • Ali Karim
    Shots Magazine
    Assistant editor, blogger
    Ali writes and reviews for many US Magazines and Ezines. He was awarded the 2011 David Thompson Memorial Award for Special Services to the Crime and Thriller Genre and in 2013 awarded the Don Sandstrom Lifetime achievement award for services to Crime and Mystery Fandom. Ali contributed to Dissecting Hannibal Lecter ed. Benjamin Szumskyj [McFarland Press], The Greenwood Encyclopaedia of British Crime Fiction [ed. Barry Forshaw] and ITW 100 Thriller Novels ed David Morrell and Hank Hagner [Oceanview Publishing]. Karim is also an associate member of The Crime Writers Association [CWA] and was judge for the CWA Gold Dagger Award, CWA Short Story Dagger Award and is currently a judge for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger and New Zealand’s Ngaio Marsh Awards; an associate member of International Thriller Writers Inc. [ITW] and a former literary judge for both best debut novel and best thriller; and an associate member of the Private Eye Writers of America [PWA], and one of the judges of Deadly Pleasures Magazine’s Barry Awards.
  • Derek Owusu
    Mostly Lit
    Derek is a writer, podcaster, and mentor from Tottenham. He realised his passion for literature aged 23 while studying Exercise Science at University. Before then, he had never read a book cover-to-cover, his introduction to literature coming via a short story by D.H. Lawrence called 'St Mawr'. Discovering literature was a revelation that came too late for his university path, so instead of switching course, he snuck into English literature lectures at The University of Manchester. While writing for an online publication, he came across Alex Reads, who asked him to be a guest on the show. After featuring on two episodes it was clear that the dynamic between Derek, Alex and Rai, was something special and he became a permanent fixture.
  • Tamara Macfarlane
    Tales on Moon Lane Children's Bookshop
    Tamara is a children's author and the owner of Tales on Moon Lane Children's Bookshop, Moon Lane Education Ltd, and a new social venture, Moon Lane Ink CIC- which runs Pop-Up Bookshop Enterprise Days in Secondary Schools. Tamara is committed to promoting equality in publishing, and is passionate about supporting reading for pleasure through brilliant books, lively events and increasing access to books for every child.
  • Simon Mackay
    Edinburgh International Book Festival
    Head of booksales and retail
    Simon has been a bookseller for High Street and independent retailers for 15 years. He has been a buyer, bookshop manager, and led a nationwide programme of events for WHSmith with a focus on non-fiction lifestyle authors. He is also a member of the World Book Day exec and is involved with other literary charities.
  • Amy McKay
    School Librarian
    Amy has been a school librarian in Corby, Northamptonshire for 13 years. She loves everything about her job; whether she’s organising Zombie Apocalypse training courses or buying lots of lovely new books for students to devour. In 2016 she was named SLA School Librarian of the Year. As well as the day job, for the last 5 years she has been the National Coordinator of the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals. A self-confessed book addict, she’s rarely found without a book in hand and is passionate about recommending and discussing books with anybody and everybody.
  • Kiran Millwood Hargrave
    Kiran is a poet, playwright and bestselling author. Her books include The Girl of Ink & Stars, which won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the British Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year 2017, and The Island at the End of Everything, which has been longlisted for the Carnegie, and shortlisted for the Blue Peter Award, and the Costa Children’ Book of the Year.
  • Barney Norris
    Writer and co-artistic director of Up In Arms theatre company
    Barney was born in Sussex in 1987. Upon graduating, he founded the touring theatre company Up In Arms with the director Alice Hamilton. He is the author of two novels, FIVE RIVERS MET ON A WOODED PLAIN and TURNING FOR HOME. His plays include VISITORS, EVENTIDE, ECHO'S END, WHILE WE'RE HERE and NIGHTFALL. He is playwright in residence at Keble College, Oxford, and has been named among the Evening Standard's 1000 Most Influential Londoners.
  • Adele Parks
    Adele published her first novel, Playing Away, in 2000; prolific, she has published a novel a year ever since, all of which have been bestsellers. Award winning, she’s sold over three million copies of her work in the UK alone and is also translated into twenty-six different languages. She writes numerous articles and short stories for national magazines and newspapers, Adele often appears on radio and TV talking about her work and related matters
  • Nina Pottell
    Prima Magazine
    Books Editor
    Nina is a voracious and passionate champion of books especially debuts. After joining a reader's panel for Pan Macmillan and using social media to shout about books I loved, I was offered the job as Books Editor for Prima Magazine where I review and recommend ten books every month.
  • Rai
    Mostly Lit
    Creator and Host
    Rai is a trainee city lawyer during the week and a podcaster on the weekends. She loves writing at godforsaken hours in the night, sharing her opinions on absolutely everything on twitter, writing only when emotionally moved and dancing to Beyonce in her room. Having read English Literature at University, it was by lucky happenstance that she found Alex on twitter and so began Mostly Lit. Almost fateful. She is a Black Muslim Woman who ‘stans’ for and is proud of each of her intersections.
  • Caroline Raphael
    Dora Productions
    Caroline had a long career with BBC radio as a Producer and Commissioning Editor for drama, comedy and Book at Bedtime all on Radio 4. Commissions included Little Britain, The League of Gentleman and Cabin Pressure. Following a short period with Penguin Random House Audio she is now an independent producer. Recent work includes the first drama for BBC 1x and a play for Radio 4 that was this year shortlisted for the BBC Audio Drama Best Drama.
  • Alex Reads
    Mostly Lit
    Creator and Host
    Alex is a writer and actor, from North West London and one of the cofounders of the Mostly Lit podcast. He has been working as a journalist for the past three years, and has a great passion for artists and the arts. Most of his reading revolves around productivity, but within fiction he has dabbled in diaspora stories and short-stories (typically American). Currently training part-time as an actor, Alex loves the spoken word, which makes his love for podcasting that much stronger.
  • Amanda Ridout
    Head Of Zeus
    Non-Executive Director
    Most recently Amanda was CEO of Head of Zeus which was named Independent Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2017. Prior to that she was Managing Director of Phaidon Press and served earlier as both Managing Director of Harper Collins and of Headline.
  • Karen Rose
    After working in theatre publicity, Karen Rose spent ten years at the BBC. She became a director of Sweet Talk productions in 2000. Her award-winning productions include the dramas: Henry’s Demons; An Angel At My Table; Fugue State and Bad Memories. Karen is also a trustee for the charity Anno’s Africa.
  • Imogen Russell Williams
    Children's literature critic
    Imogen has written about and reviewed children's books for the past ten years, especially for the Guardian, the Metro and the TLS.
  • Pete Selby
    Head of books & music
    Pete has spent his career in Entertainment retail and has worked for Sainsbury’s since 2010. He currently oversees Books and Music trading for the supermarket and in recent years has driven growth in the Books category as well as successfully reintroducing vinyl across the estate. In his spare time he enjoys books, music and books about music. He lives in Surrey with his wife, two young children and a dog.
  • Anita Singh
    The Telegraph
    Arts and Entertainment Editor
    Anita Singh is Arts and Entertainment Editor of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, covering books, film, television, music and the visual arts. Her first book, The Story of the Great British Bake Off, was published last year.
  • David Thomas
    Sonic Boom Audio
    David has been working with audio as a sound designer for 30 years. In that time he’s recorded well over a hundred audio books and a similar number of dramas for BBC Radio, including the landmark ten hour dramatisation of War and Peace broadcast across New Year’s day 2015. He runs Sonic Boom Audio, a sound design company based in East Sussex.
  • Kit de Waal
    author of My Name is Leon
    Kit is an Irish Caribbean writer from Birmingham who worked for many years in criminal and family law. She has won numerous awards for her short stories and flash fiction and her debut novel MY NAME IS LEON won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and The Desmond Elliott Prize. Her second novel THE TRICK TO TIME is published in March.
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2018 Trade Judges

  • Syima Aslam
    Bradford Literature Festival
    Syima Aslam is Director of the Bradford Literature Festival (BLF), which she founded in 2014. Hailed as one of the most innovative and inspirational festivals in the UK, BLF brings together literature from around the world and across all genres, promotes intercultural fluency and reflects the changing face of contemporary Britain. Prior to this, Syima has worked in the inward investment, automotive, data marketing and education sectors.
  • Nick Barley
    Edinburgh International Book Festival
    Nick Barley has been director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival since October 2009. Innovations during his directorship include: Unbound, a free evening mini-festival of literary performances; the 2012 Edinburgh World Writers' Conference which took place in 17 cities worldwide; and a Fringe First-winning promenade theatre production, Letters Home, co-produced with Grid Iron Theatre Company in 2014. Nick Barley was chair of the judging panel for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize and is President of the Word Alliance - an international network of the world's leading literary festivals.
  • Antonia Byatt
    English PEN
    Interim director
    Antonia Byatt is interim director of English PEN. PEN campaigns for freedom of expression and supports writers at risk, working with writers, publishers and civil society campaigners. It also supports and promotes literature across borders through its translation scheme and blog PEN Atlas. Previously Antonia was director of Cheltenham Literature Festival 2016 and director of literature at Arts Council England from 2007 to 2015.
  • Hannah Griffiths
    Head of Literary Acquisitions
    Hannah worked in book publishing for over 20 years; in publicity at Virago, then as an agent at Curtis Brown and then as an editor and publisher at Faber & Faber. In 2016, she moved across to the TV industry. Her role is to find books for adaptation for super indie TV company All3Media.
  • Kate Gunning
    Penguin Random House
    Independent Retailers Partnership Manager
    Kate worked for Waterstones for thirteen years. She managed the Covent Garden and High Street Kensington stores and spent a year on secondment at WH Smith Paris. She was the Books Buyer at Selfridges for four years, before moving to Foyles as their Head of Buying. She took up her current position in 2009 when she joined Random House, as it then was. In 2014, her remit was extended to cover all of PRH.
  • Daniel Hahn
    Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor and translator with more than 50 books to his name. His work has won him the International Dublin Literary Award, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award, among others. He is a past chair of the Society of Authors and the Translators Association, and currently on the board of English PEN, Modern Poetry in Translation and the Children’s Bookshow. Photo (c) John Lawrence
  • Siôn Hamilton
    Change agent
    Siôn is a writer, coach, and problem solver, with over 15 years’ experience in bookselling. The former Trading Director at Foyles, he has led on many projects that relate to change, values, customer service and shop design - including the transformation of Foyles’ flagship store. He has a passion for authentic customer service, and believes the interactions we have with others, combined with the physical space they happen in, help shape who we are.
  • Alex Hardy
    Harbottle & Lewis
    Senior associate
  • Gareth Hardy
    Head of publisher liaison
    After over 25 years in academic bookselling, Gareth Hardy has now been at Blackwell’s for 10 years. In his current role as head of publisher liaison, covering Blackwell’s supplier and publisher relations, he is responsible for buying and promotions across the book and non-books supply base. Prior to Blackwell’s, he worked at Waterstone’s and Students’ Bookshops in a variety of operational and buying roles.
  • Matt Haslum
    Publishing, eCommerce and marketing consultant
  • Anwen Hooson
    Bird Literary Agency
    Anwen has extensive experience of the British book industry. A multi-award-winning publicist, whose early career was spent in the press departments at Penguin and Waterstones, she co-founded Riot Communications with Preena Gadher in 2009. It is an agency now regarded as one of the most respected and influential in the sector, whose clients have ranged from Penguin Random House, HarperCollins and Canongate to BookTrust, Arts Council England and World Book Day. Anwen stepped down as co-Managing Director in 2017 and recently announced the launch of her own literary agency, Bird.
  • Tom Ironside
    Policy Director - Business & Regulation
    Tom leads the Business & Regulation team covering a broad range of business cost and reputational issues including property, planning, regeneration, taxation, crime, employment, diversity and risk and safety. The team works with retailers across the whole spectrum of membership to lobby government for improvements in the legislative and regulatory environments and in public service delivery. Tom joined the BRC in 2008 bringing wide experience in a range of senior public sector policy roles.
  • Sarah McIntyre
    Illustrator and writer
    Sarah McIntyre writes and illustrates picture books including There's a Shark in the Bath and The New Neighbours. With Philip Reeve, she creates books such as Pugs of the Frozen North, winner of an Indie Bookshop Week award. In 2015, she launched #PicturesMeanBusiness, a campaign explaining how everyone wins when they credit illustrators properly. The Bookseller named her a 2016 Rising Star for campaign achievements: more illustrator names on front book covers, in sales charts, and on social media.
  • Liz Sich
    Four Colman Getty
    Former m.d.
    Liz Sich was the m.d. of leading arts PR agency, Four Colman Getty. There her projects included World Book Day, Quick Reads, the opening of the Library of Birmingham, Foyles, the authorised history of MI5 and the first volume of Charles Moore's critically-acclaimed biography of Margaret Thatcher. She is a trustee of The Orwell Foundation, Streetwise Opera, and the Chipping Norton Literary Festival, and has recently completed an MA in European History.
  • Benedicte Page
    The Bookseller
    Deputy editor
  • Lleucu Siencyn
    Literature Wales
    Lleucu is C.e.o. of Literature Wales (LW), the national company for the development and promotion of literature in Wales. LW facilitates a wide range of programmes, and works with partners inside and outside Wales on initiatives encouraging wider engagement in literature of all forms. It also runs funding and support schemes for writers and is responsible for Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre. Lleucu is fluent in both Welsh and English and lives in Cardiff with her husband and two children.
  • Tom Tivnan
    The Bookseller
    Features and insight editor
  • Sarah Walden
    The Book People
    Group buying and merchandising director
    Sarah Walden has over twenty years’ experience in the publishing industry, having worked for both Scholastic and Penguin as a children’s book buyer. Her current role at Book People has a wider remit and she is responsible for both the buying and merchandising functions for the group including the recently acquired gift brand Qwerkity. Visit the Book People website at
  • Tim Waterstone
  • Zoe Wood
    The Guardian & Observer
    Retail Correspondent
    Zoe is a business journalist who writes news and features for The Guardian during the week and The Observer on a Sunday. She joined the newspaper group in 2007 and her specialist areas include retail and consumer goods.
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