Archives: JudgesTTTT

Dame Liz Forgan DBE

Liz was formerly a journalist on the Tehran Journal, the Hampstead and Highgate Express, the Evening Standard and the Guardian. She moved to television at the start of Channel 4 where she became director of Programmes.  She joined the BBC as Managing Director BBC Network Radio in 1993. She is Chair of the Scott Trust and of the National youth Orchestra and Deputy Chair of the British Museum.  She was formerly Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Arts Council, a non-executive director of the Guardian Media Group and a non-executive member of the Department for Culture Media and Sport. She is a Patron of St Giles Trust, the National Churches Trust and the Pier Art Gallery, Stromness. She was made DBE in 2006 for services to heritage and broadcasting.  She is an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy, St Hugh’s College Oxford and Girton College Cambridge. She took up the role of Chair at Bristol Old Vic in May 2013.

Samira Ahmed

Samira is a freelance journalist, writer and broadcaster. She is the Presenter of BBC1’s Newswatch and BBC Radio 4’s Front Row. She has reported for the BBC and Channel 4, and her writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent and Rhe Spectator. In 2009, Samira won the Stonewall Broadcast of the Year Award. Since 2011, Samira has been a visiting Professor of Journalism at Kingston University. She is an occasional panellist on The News Quiz and a trustee of Action for Stammering Children.

Mark Lawson

Mark is a novelist and cultural critic. He has published four novels including Idlewild, Going Out Live and Enough Is Enough. His latest book is The Allegations. His work as a broadcaster includes presenting Radio 4’s Front Row and Foreign Bodies – A History of Crime Fiction and BBC4’s ‘Mark Lawson Talks to…’ He also writes for The Guardian and The New Statesman.

Erica Wagner

Erica is a writer and critic. She is the author of Gravity, Ariel’s Gift: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and the Story of Birthday Letters and Seizure. Her poems appear in the Times Literary Supplement and she reviews regularly for The New York Times. Erica was literary editor of The Times  between 1996 and 2013 and judged the Man Booker Prize in 2002 and 2014. She has also been a judge for the Orange Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Wellcome Book Prize and the Forward Prize.

Jonathan Derbyshire

Jonathan is a journalist and the Executive Comment Editor at the Financial Times. He was previously the Managing Editor at Prospect, Culture Editor at the New Statesman. He has written for the Daily Telepraph, The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement. In 2007 he edited Time Out: 1000 Books to change your life. Jonathan also taught Philosophy at several British universities. In 2016 he was a judge for the Bailee Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction.

Francis Wheen

Francis is a journalist, writer and broadcaster. He has written for The Guardian, the Evening Standard and Private Eye and is the author of several books. His book, Hoo-hahs and Passing Frenzies: Collected Journalism 1991 – 2001  won the Orwell Prize in 2003. His biography of Karl Marx won the Deutscher Memorial Prize in 1999. Francis is a regular panellist on The News Quiz and Have I Got News For You.

Jean Seaton

Jean Seaton is Professor of Media History at the University of Westminster, the official historian of the BBC and took over the Orwell Prize as Director in 2007. She has written on the history and role of the media in politics, wars, revolutions, religion and childhood, including Power Without Responsibility: the Press and Broadcasting in Britain (with James Curran) and Carnage and the Media: The Making and Breaking of News about Violence, as well as (with John Lloyd)What Can Be Done? Making the Media and Politics Better. She is on the board of the Political Quarterly and Full Fact.



Victoria Glendinning

Victoria Glendinning is a freelance writer, well-known for her successful biographies and novels. She also writes reviews and articles, and does broadcasts and talks on all kinds of subjects.

Her biographies include A Suppressed Cry: Life and Death of a Quaker Daughter; Elizabeth Bowen: Portrait of a Writer; Vita: the Life of V.Sackville-West (winner of the Whitbread Prize for Biography); Edith Sitwell: A Unicorn Among Lions (winner of the Duff Cooper Prize and the James Tait Black Prize); Anthony Trollope (another Whitbread Prize for Biography). Her novels include The Grown-Ups, Electricity and Flight.

Victoria has been President of English PEN and a Vice-President of the Royal Society of Literature, and although she has never had an academic post she has four honorary doctorates.



Andrew O’Hagan

Andrew O’Hagan was born in Glasgow in 1968. He is an award-winning novelist and a contributing editor to the London Review of Books and Granta magazine. In his acclaimed first book, The Missing, O’Hagan wrote about his own childhood and told the stories of parents whose children had disappeared. The book was shortlisted for the Esquire Award, the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award, and the McVities Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year award. Part of the book was adapted for radio and television as Calling Bible John and won a BAFTA award.

Our Fathers, his first novel, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction and the Whitbread First Novel Award. Personality, about a 13-year-old girl with a beautiful singing voice growing up above a chip shop on the Scottish island of Bute and making ready to realise her family’s dream of fame, won the 2003 James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction). In 2003 Andrew O’Hagan was nominated by Granta magazine as one of 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists’. In 2004 he edited The Weekenders: Adventures in Calcutta, a collection of various writers’ accounts of Kolkata.



Blake Morrison

Blake Morrison is an award-winning writer, poet and journalist. He began his career working for the Times Literary Supplement, before serving as literary editor for The Observer and the Independent on Sunday. Blake writes across genres in the form of poetry, journalism, novel and memoir.

For his writing he has won the Eric Gregory Award, the Dylan Thomas Award, Somerset Maugham Award for Dark Glasses, E. M. Forster Award, Esquire/Volvo/Waterstone’s Non-Fiction and the JR Ackerley Prize for Autobiography for his memoir And When Did You Last See Your Father? The book was subsequently made into a feature film starring Jim Broadbent and Colin Firth. His most famous works include the narrative poem The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper, an investigation into the Jamie Bulger case As if and most recently The Last Weekend. Blake is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, former chair of the Poetry Book Society, vice-chair of PEN and a member of the Orwell Trust. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London.



Lynne Truss

Lynne Truss began her writing life as a literary journalist, editing the books section of The Listener magazine between 1986 and 1990. Since then she has kept a high profile as a journalist, writing for The Times as a critic, columnist and sportswriter (shortlisted for Sportswriter of the Year 1997); for Woman’s Journal(“Columnist of the Year”, 1996); and more recently as a critic for the Daily Mailand The Sunday Times, where she is a regular book reviewer. She has published six books, including three novels, With One Lousy Free Packet of Seed, Tennyson’s Gift and Going Loco. Her book on punctuation, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, was the publishing phenomenon of 2003.

She has also written many scripts for BBC Radio 4, including dramas, sitcoms and talks. She appears regularly on the network presenting features and taking part in discussions. Two series of her comedy series Acropolis Now have so far been broadcast (starring Stephen Moore, Robert Hardy, Imelda Staunton); also a six part series of monologues A Certain Age, and an innovative six-part series of dialogues Full Circle, starring Claire Skinner, Phyllis Logan, Michael Maloney, Phil Davis and Sheila Hancock.

Suzanne Moore

Suzanne Moore

Suzanne is an award-winning journalist, currently writing for The Guardian and the Mail on Sunday. She has previously written for Marxism Today, The Independent and the New Statesman (where she was contributing editor). She stood as an independent during the 2010 General Election, for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

Baroness Joan Bakewell

Joan is a star broadcaster and writer as well as a Labour Party life peer. Working on several programmes Joan has interviewed literary greats including Alan Ginsberg and regularly contributes opinion to many national press outlets. Joan was appointed CBE in 1999 and promoted to DBE in 2008. She is the author of several books including The View from Here: Life at Seventy and her autobiography The Centre of the Bed. Her latest book is She’s Leaving Home. Between 2008 and 2010 Joan acted as a Voice of Older People.

Caroline Thomson

Caroline is Executive Director of the English National Ballet and Chair of Digital UK. She began at the BBC as a broadcast journalist and worked as a producer on Radio 4 and Panorama. She spent 11 years at Channel 4 before returning to the BBC, where she became Chief Operating Officer, before stepping down in 2012.

Gillian Slovo

Gillian is an award winning South African novelist, playwright and memoirist. Her 1997 memoir Every Secret Thing, about her parents’ struggles against apartheid, brought her international acclaim. Ice Road (2004) was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her most recent novel is Black Orchids (2008).

Claire Armistead

Claire is the Books Editor of the Guardian and the Observer. She was formerly theatre critic for the Ham & High, The Financial Times, and the Guardian, where she also worked as arts editor. She also presents the Guardian’s weekly books podcast and is a frequent commentator on radio.

Richard Sambrook

Richard is Professor of Journalism and Director of the Centre for Journalism at Cardiff University. He spent 30 years as a journalist at the BBC, where he worked as a producer, editor, and manager. He is also Visiting Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.

Anushka Asthana

Anushka is Sky News’ Political Correspondent based in London. She began her journalism career at the Observer and spent eight years there, covering the 2010 General Election as the paper’s policy editor. She also worked as a columnist and chief political correspondent for The Times.