Taneja, Sodha and Gleeson to judge Desmond Elliott Prize

Taneja, Sodha and Gleeson to judge Desmond Elliott Prize

Preti Taneja, Sonia Sodha and Sinéad Gleeson will judge this year’s £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize

The award is part of the National Centre for Writing's 2020 Early Career Awards that total £18,000 in prizes will be given to a début author and two writers in their early careers, in a ceremony on 2nd July. 

The biggest award for the night and the country’s largest prize for debut novels, the Desmond Elliott Prize, will be chaired by last year’s winner Preti Taneja, journalist Sonia Sodha and writer Sinéad Gleeson. 

Taneja (pictured) said: "I am delighted to be chairing the Desmond Elliott Prize. The National Centre for Writing has expanded this respected prize to offer a year-round platform of support and mentorship, alongside generous financial assistance to a writer whose work speaks to our times. This award says: your time to write and to develop your craft and career is vital and worth nurturing. My fellow judges and I can’t wait to immerse ourselves in the best debut fiction of 2019 from across the UK and Ireland. We will be looking to shortlist three exceptional first novels; our chosen winner will be an outstanding talent who will truly benefit from the endorsement of this prestigious Prize."

The UEA New Forms Award and the Laura Kinsella Fellowship will also be awarded at the same ceremony. The £4,000 UEA prize will be judged by multi-talented artist Inua Ellmas, UEA professors Henry Sutton and Claire Hynes, and NCW programmer director Peggy Hughes, with writers Roopa Farooki and Alice Jolly, and NCW chief executive Chris Gribble judging the £4,000 fellowship.  

Gribble said: "Our vision for the Early Career Awards is to increase the impact of prize culture and to provide a platform for writers at the critical early stages of their career.  With the enthusiasm of this outstanding group of judges, we are confident we will be celebrating three exceptional writers - who we will support as they develop a sustainable career in literature. We thank the Desmond Elliott Charitable Trust, the University of East Anglia and the Laura Kinsella Foundation for their confidence and investment in us. Huge thanks also to Arts Council England for recognising the opportunity to increase the impact of prize culture."