The Judging Team for 2020
Congratulations to the winner Lucy from East Coker School, with our three runners up being Emily and Eden, both from East Coker School, and Anabelle from Huish Primary School.. There were also entries from Bucklers Mead Academy with the winner being Gracie, and two runners-up Tyler and Danny. All winners received Waterstones book tokens. The judge who also did the presentation of prizes in Yeovil Library was the amazing Tamsin Cooke, author of Cat Burglar and Stunt Double!
Read about our most recent successes.
Novel Category :
FIRST PRIZE - David Laws
SECOND PRIZE - Rue Baldry
THIRD PRIZE - Chloe Turner
Monica Balt · David Hough
Short Story Category :
FIRST PRIZE - Christine Goodwin
SECOND PRIZE - Mildred Davidson
THIRD PRIZE - Clare Reddaway
Valerie Hoare · Joan Wilson
Poetry Category :
FIRST PRIZE - Caroline Gilfillan
SECOND PRIZE - Ann Leahy
THIRD PRIZE - Aripi Menken
Caroline Gilfillan · Stephen Boyce · Bob Newman · Susan Spiers
Writing Without Restrictions :
FIRST PRIZE - Lucy Bignall
SECOND PRIZE - Vanessa Lampert
THIRD PRIZE - Wendy Breckon
David McVey · Maureen Osborne · Barbara Hawkins · Felicity Tessaro
The Judging Team for 2020
Our Short Story Judge, Susan Sandon, is a valued and influential connection within the publishing world, and, like us, she champions literary festivals. A chance conversation at the Appledore Book Festival lead to Susan joining our judges for 2020. We are delighted to welcome her.
Susan Sandon started her publishing career at Headline Books and worked at both Virago Press and Penguin before joining Random House. Working in roles across both marketing, publicity and editorial during this period, she was also a founder of the Women’s Prize for fiction and initiated contact with Orange, the prize’s first sponsors. Susan is currently Managing Director of Cornerstone, a division of Penguin Random House, and a Trustee of the Appledore Book Festival.
Our judge for the Novel category is Paul Blezard, who is regarded as one of the most influential people in the world of literature and broadcasting. He is an expert interviewer at literary festivals and certainly knows the benefit of impeccable research in presenting the written word. Paul, in addition to judging the novels, has arranged for our winner to have three opportunities to pitch their novel to the literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes of Curtis Brown; Luigi Bonomi, literary agent at LBA; and Clare Conville of Conville & Walsh. This is an exciting and valuable opportunity to have in addition to being the winner of this category. Thank you, Paul.
Paul Blezard has been an influential literary broadcaster, editor and commentator for 20 years and has written reviews and author interviews for many publications ranging from the Independent on Sunday to Banipal, been broadcast across radio and TV for many BBC stations and for LBC in the UK, as well as coast-to-coast in the USA. His unique daily author interview programme helped Oneword Radio win two Sony Radio Academy Gold awards in consecutive years. He also has chaired and been a judge on a wide range of national and international literary prizes.
A committed supporter of all things cultural and literary, he has for twenty years advised, consulted, presented and chaired at myriad international literary festivals and major cultural events around the world.
Our judge for the Poetry category is indeed someone special. Last year Caroline Gilfillan not only won this category but also had another poem judged Highly Commended. Quite an achievement! We think she will show all Poets entering our competition that words really can lead to success.
Caroline wrote, when she had been told that Philip Gross had chosen her poem as the winner in. 2019: - “I am absolutely delighted - bowled over, and so appreciative of the judge's comments. I'm glad Philip Gross saw the tenderness as well as the spiky bits in the poem.”
She’s written poetry all her life, and her early work was published in ‘Seven Women’ and ‘One Foot on the Mountain’. Her poem ‘The Painter’ was nominated for the Forward Prize for the best individual poem in 2007 and her work appeared in the ‘Forward Collection of Poetry’ in the same year. She was a winner of the North West Poetry competition in 2000, and ‘Drowned in Overspill’, a collection of her poetry, was published by Crocus Books in the same year.
Caroline has published four poetry collections. Yes won the East Anglian Book Award for the best poetry collection. She won the Suffolk Poetry Society prize in 2015 and 2012. She also writes fiction, and her first novel, The Terrace, was published in 2018. www.carolinegilfillan.co.uk
Our Judge for the Writing Without Restriction category has to be someone really special, someone who appreciates wide-ranging styles of writing as well as the wit that life delivers every day. She was born in Yeovil so has a link to our town and this prestigious literary prize. We welcome Jessica back home as our judge.
Jessica Axe is a Publisher at White Lion Publishing, part of The Quarto Group. Born in Yeovil, Jessica grew up in the area and attended Preston Schools before moving to London for University and commencing her career in publishing. She has previously worked at Fourth Estate, HarperCollins and Random House Publishers before moving to The Quarto Group as Director. She now specialises in publishing illustrated non-fiction, predominantly books on food & drink, gardening, London, travel and the outdoors.