• Akala

    BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip hop artist, writer/poet and historian Akala is social entrepreneur known for his compelling lectures/seminars and journalism, TV presenting and script-writing. Over last few years he has gained a reputation as one of the most dynamic and literate talents in the UK. His first picture book Hip and Hop: You Can Do Anything, illustrated by Sav Akyüz, was published last year. He is currently writing a YA magical realist Shakespearean series.

  • Caroline Carpenter

    Caroline is web editor at The Bookseller and chair of the YA Book Prize. She has worked at The Bookseller since 2013, following publishing internships and a stint at The Voice newspaper, during which time she has taken a keen interest in children’s and YA publishing. She has run the social media for the YA Book Prize since it launched and is also the author of Guide to the Hunger Games.

  • Angie Crawford

    Angie started as a children’s bookseller for Dillon’s in 1994 and has worked in children’s books for both Waterstones and Ottakar’s in a variety of different positions. Angie is currently Waterstones’ Scottish buyer, managing the sales of Scottish books and looking after author events in Scotland. She is a passionate champion of books and the transformative power of reading. Each month she runs four reading groups and enjoys hosting author events in rural locations. She also helps on the committee for the First Minister’s Reading Challenge, which supports Scottish schools to promote reading for pleasure.

  • Julia Eccleshare

    Julia is the children’s director of the Hay Festival. Her most recent book is 1001 Children’s Books to Read Before You Grow Up. She won the Eleanor Farjeon Award in 2000 and was appointed MBE in 2014 for services to children’s books.

  • Alex Holmes

    Alex is one of the creators and hosts of the books and pop-culture podcast Mostly Lit. Alex is a writer and actor, from North West London. 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.

  • Louise O'Neill

    Louise grew up in Clonakilty, a small town in West Cork, Ireland.  Her debut novel, Only Ever Yours, won the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year at the 2014 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards; the Children’s Books Ireland Eilís Dillon Award for a First Children’s Book; and The Bookseller’s inaugural YA Book Prize. Her second novel, Asking For It, was voted the Bord Gáis Energy Book of the Year for 2015 and spent 52 weeks in the Irish top 10 bestseller list. Her first book for adults, Almost Love, has just been published. The Surface Breaks, Louise’s feminist reimagining of The Little Mermaid, is out in May 2018.

  • Lucy Powrie

    Lucy is a YA book blogger at queenofcontemporary.com and YouTuber at youtube.com/lucythereader. She is also the creator and host of the nationally trending YA Twitter chat #ukyachat. Since creating her blog in 2012 and her YouTube channel in 2013, she has reached over one million page views and 18,000 subscribers, and is very proud of the community of engaged YA readers she has built up.

  • Melanie Ramdarshan Bold

    Melanie is a Senior Lecturer at University College London, where she teaches and researches topics related to publishing and book cultures. Her main research interest centres on digital developments in authorship, publishing, and reading. Melanie has both a professional and personal interest in YA: her book, exploring the output and experiences of YA authors of colour, will be published this year; and her personal reading lists are mostly comprised of YA, despite the fact that technically (and very sadly) she is no longer a young adult. Melanie is currently working on a research project in collaboration with the BookTrust, which will focus on children’s authors and illustrators of colour.