Archives: JudgesTTTT

Iain Dale (Chair)

Iain Dale presents the Evening Show on LBC Radio (Monday-Thursday 7pm-10pm). He was named Radio Presenter of the Year for 2013 & 2016 at the Arqiva Awards and was shortlisted for Speech programme of the year at the 2013 Sony Radio Awards. He joined LBC in 2010 and presented the Drivetime show for five and a half years, from March 2013 until August 2018. He has presented three LBC General Election Night Shows, two American Presidential Election overnight shows, as well as the stations Scottish and Brexit referendum night shows. Iain is a panellist on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays on CNN Talk at 12 noon on CNN International.


Iain is a regular contributor to Newsnight, the Andrew Marr Show, Good Morning Britain and Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine (formerly The Wright Stuff). Iain co-hosts a weekly podcast with former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith called ‘For the Many’, the ‘Iain Dale Book Club’ podcast, and also a podcast of his weekly ‘Cross Question’ political panel show – all available through iTunes, Google Podcasts and all other major podcast platforms.


Until June 2018 Iain was managing director of Britain’s leading political publisher, Biteback Publishing. He formed the company in 2009 and published more than 600 books including Power Trip by Damian McBride and the bestseller, Call me Dave: The Unauthorised Biography of David Cameron by Michael Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott as well as The Alastair Campbell Diaries.

Vanora Bennett

Vanora Bennett is an author and former Orwell Journalism Prize winner. After a distinguished career as a foreign correspondent and comment writer for Reuters, the Los Angeles Times and The Times, she has written two non-fiction books about Russia and several novels. She is currently working on climate change with a development bank and planning a book that features Yiddish tango before the Second World War.

Mihir Bose

Mihir Bose is an award winning journalist and author. He writes and broadcasts on social and historical issues as well as sport for a range of outlets including the BBC, the Financial Times, Evening Standard and Irish Times. He has written more than 30 books and his most recent publication is Lion and Lamb, a Portrait of British Moral Duality. His books range from a look at how India has evolved since Independence, the only narrative history of Bollywood, biographies of Michael Grade and Subhas Bose, and a study of the Aga Khans.

Mihir was the BBC’s first Sports Editor, the first non-white to be a BBC editor. He covered all BBC outlets including the flagship Ten O’Clock News, the Today programme, Five Live and the website. He moved to the BBC after 12 years at the Daily Telegraph where he was the chief sports news correspondent but also wrote on other issues including race, immigration, and social and cultural issues. Before that he worked for the Sunday Times for 20 years. He has contributed to nearly all the major UK newspapers and presented programmes for radio and television.

Bose has an honorary doctorate from Loughborough University for his outstanding contribution to journalism and the promotion of equality. He has won several awards: business columnist of the year, sports news reporter of the year, sports story of the year and Silver Jubilee Literary award for his History of Indian Cricket. Mihir lives in west London with his wife.

Ben Fenton (Chair)

Ben Fenton was a reporter for 30 years. He began journalistic life as the “pop music” writer for the Oxford Mail before becoming an indentured trainee. After four years, Ben fluked a move to Fleet Street by getting a place in the newsroom of The Daily Telegraph, then the preeminent “reporters’ paper”, as the junior nightshift reporter. In 20 years at the Telegraph, he covered stories in more than 30 countries and was appointed Washington Correspondent and finally to the role of the Senior Reporter. In 2007, Ben moved to the Financial Times where he was chief media correspondent for five years and then set up the FT’s Live Newsdesk. He joined Edelman six years ago to head a consultancy practice for media companies including C4, Guardian Media Group and the New York Times. He still takes notes in shorthand, but can rarely read them back.

Matthew Sperling

Matthew Sperling’s debut novel, Astroturf, was published by riverrun in 2018 and longlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize, and his second novel will be published in summer 2020. His short fiction, critical writing, and poetry have appeared in publications including ApolloBest British Short Stories 2015, the Guardian, the Junket, the New Statesman, 1843, and 3:AM. He is Lecturer in English Literature from 1900 to the Present at University College London, and previously worked at the Universities of Oxford and Reading. His academic publications include Visionary Philology: Geoffrey Hill and the Study of Words, published by Oxford University Press in 2014.


Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published seventeen books, eleven of which are novels. Her work has been translated into fifty languages. Shafak holds a PhD in political science and she has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, including St Anne’s College, Oxford University, where she is an honorary fellow. She is a member of Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy and a founding member of ECFR (European Council on Foreign Relations). An advocate for women’s rights, LGBT rights and freedom of speech, Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice a TED Global speaker, each time receiving a standing ovation. Shafak contributes to major publications around the world and she has been awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. In 2017 she was chosen by Politico as one of the twelve people who would make the world better. She has judged numerous literary prizes and is chairing the Wellcome Prize 2019.

Sarah Shaffi

Sarah Shaffi is a freelance literary journalist and editor. She writes regularly for Stylist Magazine online and is books editor at Phoenix Magazine. She was a judge for the Jhalak Prize 2019. Sarah is editor-at-large at independent children’s publisher Little Tiger Group. She regularly chairs author events, and is co-founder of BAME in Publishing, a networking group for people of colour in publishing. She can be found tweeting @sarahshaffi and online at

Jude Kelly CBE (Chair)

Jude Kelly was the Artistic Director of Southbank Centre in London for 12 years from 2006- 2018, where she established the WOW Festival. Southbank Centre is Europe’s largest Arts Institution and London’s 3rd biggest tourist attraction. In February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.

She has directed over 100 theatre and opera productions, is the recipient of two Olivier awards for theatre, a BASCA Gold Badge Award winner for contribution to music, a Southbank Award for her opera work, an RPO award for her festival The Rest is Noise, Red Magazine’s 2014 Creative Woman of the Year, CBIs 2016 First Woman Award winner for Tourism and Leisure and in 2017 won the inaugural Veuve Clicquot Woman of the Year Social Purpose Award. Kelly’s talk at a 2016 TED conference, Why women should tell the stories of humanity, has been viewed more than 1.2million times to date.

She was a judge for the Stirling Prize 2018 and is currently undertaking a research project on the gender bias and ethical standards of city developments as part of her role as Practitioner in Residence at The LSEs Marshall Institute.

She is a board member of the Cultural Industries Federation, the Patron of the Mary Wollstonecraft programme, and Artistic Director of the Robert F Kennedy Festival of Human Rights. She has also Chaired the Women’s Prize for fiction and is currently the chair for The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.

Tom Gatti

Tom Gatti is deputy editor of the New Statesman. He joined the NS in 2013 as culture editor; before that he was Saturday Review editor at The Times, where he also wrote book reviews, features and interviews. He has judged several literary awards including the Goldsmiths Prize for fiction and the PEN Pinter Prize.


Robert Tombs

Robert Tombs is a Fellow of St John’s College, and Emeritus Professor of French history at Cambridge.  He is a specialist in nineteenth and twentieth-century French history, and has written on the Paris Commune, the two world wars and the history of French nationalism. He has also written widely on Franco-British relations, and served as a member of the Franco-British Council.  His most recent book is a general history of England from prehistoric times to the present, The English and Their History.

Paul Laity

Paul Laity has been a books journalist for a quarter of a century. He commissions the non-fiction reviews for The Guardian, as well as essays and interviews. Before joining The Guardian, he worked as a senior editor at the London Review of Books, and has written for the LRB, Cabinet, New Statesman and other publications. He edited the Left Book Club Anthology.

Stephanie Flanders (Chair)

Stephanie Flanders has been Senior Executive Editor for Economics at Bloomberg News and head of Bloomberg Economics since October 2017. She was previously Chief Market Strategist for Europe at J P Morgan Asset Management in London (2013-17) and both BBC Economics Editor and BBC Newsnight’s Economics Editor   (2002-13).  She was Senior Advisor and speech writer to US Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers (1997-2001). She has also been a reporter at the New York Times, the Principal Editor of the 2002 Human Development Report, an editorial-writer and economics columnist at the Financial Times, and an economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and London Business School.  She was educated at Balliol College, Oxford and Harvard University. In 2016 she was appointed Chair of the Inclusive Growth Commission for the Royal Society of Arts, which delivered its final report in March 2017. She is the Chair of Artichoke, a non-profit arts production company in the UK and a trustee of the Kennedy Memorial Trust.

Dr. Xine Yao

Dr. Christine “Xine” Yao is Lecturer in American Literature to 1900 at University College London. Previously she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia after earning her PhD from Cornell University. She is completing a manuscript on the racial and sexual politics of unfeeling as dissent in nineteenth-century American literature and culture. Her scholarly essays have appeared in J19, Occasion, American Quarterly, and American Gothic Culture: An Edinburgh Companion. Xine is the co-host of PhDivas, a podcast about academia, culture, and social justice across the STEM/humanities divide. Her honours include the Yasuo Sakakibara Essay Prize from the American Studies Association and her work has been supported by multiple grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Preti Taneja

Preti Taneja is the author of We That are Young, (Galley Beggar Press, 2017), a Book of the Year in the Guardian, Sunday Times and the Spectator (UK), The Hindu (India) and a 2018 Library Journal top 10 literary fiction book of the year (USA). We That Are Young has listed for international awards including the Prix Jan Michalski, the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize, and is the winner of the 2018 Desmond Elliott Prize for the UK’s best debut of the year. It is being translated into several languages and is published in the USA and Canada by A.A Knopf. Preti began her career training disadvantaged young people across the UK in media skills; she has over a decade of experience as a human rights researcher, writer and editor working in conflict and post conflict zones, and of teaching writing including in prison. She holds a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship at Warwick University.

Sam Leith

Sam Leith is the Literary Editor of The Spectator, a columnist for the FT and regular book reviewer for the Guardian, FT, Telegraph and TLS. He’s the author of several books, most recently Write To The Point: How To Be Clear, Correct and Persuasive on the Page.

Tom Sutcliffe (Chair)

Tom Sutcliffe is the presenter of Radio Four’s arts review programme Saturday Review and Round Britain Quiz. After graduating from Cambridge he joined the BBC as a producer in Talks and Documentaries, and was eventually appointed editor of Kaleidoscope, Radio Four’s long running arts magazine programme. He left in 1986 to help launch the Independent, where he was Arts Editor, Associate Editor and a regular writer on the Arts and Comment pages. In 2000 his book, Watching: Reflections on the Movies, was published by Faber and Faber.

Ted Hodgkinson

Ted Hodgkinson is a broadcaster, editor, critic, writer and Head of Literature and Spoken Word at Southbank Centre, where he oversees the seasonal literature programme as well as the prestigious London Literature Festival. Since his arrival at Southbank Centre he has programmed and interviewed authors and speakers including Margaret Atwood, Philip Pullman, John le Carré, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Professor Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, Neil Gaiman, Naomi Klein, Kazuo Ishiguro, Michael Ondaatje, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Tom Hanks, Michelle Obama, Zadie Smith and Roxane Gay. Formerly online editor at Granta magazine of new writing, his essays, interviews and reviews have appeared across a range of publications and websites, including the Times Literary Supplement, the Literary Review, the New Statesman, the Spectator, the Literary Hub and the Independent. He co-edited, with Icelandic author and poet Sjón, the first anthology of Nordic short stories in English, The Dark Blue Winter Overcoat and other stories from the North (Pushkin Press, 2017), to critical acclaim. In 2018, for a second consecutive year, he was named in The Bookseller’s list of the 100 most influential people in publishing.

Robbie Millen

Robbie Millen has been literary editor of The Times since 2013. He was deputy comment editor of The Times‘s award-winning opinion pages from 2002-13. Before that he was assistant editor of The Spectator.