Judges 2019

Erica Wagner (Chair)

Photograph of Erica Wagner

Erica Wagner's most recent book is Chief Engineer: Washington Roebling, the Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge. She is the author of Ariel’s Gift, Seizure, and the short story collection Gravity; she is also the editor of First Light: A Celebration of Alan Garner.

She is consulting literary editor for Harper's Bazaar, a contributing writer for the New Statesman and was for 17 years literary editor of the The Times.

In 2014 she was the recipient of the Eccles British Library Writer’s Award, and she is a lecturer in creative writing at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Guy Gunaratne

Photograph of Guy Gunaratne

Guy Gunaratne is a writer. His first novel In Our Mad and Furious City was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018 and shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2018 and Gordon Burn Prize 2018.

He has worked as a journalist and documentary filmmaker and has covered human rights stories around the world. He currently lives between London, UK and Malmö, Sweden.

Anna Leszkiewicz

Photograph of Anna Leszkiewicz

Anna Leszkiewicz is deputy culture editor of the New Statesman, where she writes a weekly culture column, as well as reviews, interviews, essays and features in the magazine and online.


Photograph of Sjón

Born in Reykjavik in 1962, Sjón is a celebrated Icelandic author. He won the Nordic Council's Literary Prize for his novel The Blue Fox (the Nordic countries’ equivalent of the Man Booker Prize) and the novel From The Mouth Of The Whale was shortlisted for both the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

The novel Moonstone – The Boy Who Never Was received the Icelandic Literary Price. His latest work CoDex 1962, a novel in three books, was published in Iceland in 2016 to great acclaim. It is due in different languages in 2018/2019.

As a poet, librettist and lyricist, he has published nine poetry collections, written four opera libretti and lyrics for various artists. In 2001 he was nominated for an Oscar for his lyrics in the film Dancer In The Dark.

Sjón's novels have been published in thirty-five languages. He is the president of Icelandic PEN and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and two children.

Note: Erica Wagner took over as chair in May 2019 after Maura Dooley withdrew due to ill health.