Northern Book Prize 2018: Judges


Ian McMillan was born in 1956 in the village near Barnsley where he still lives; he wanted to be a writer all the way through his schooldays, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. All the books he got out of the library were written by people who lived in Surrey, not the Yorkshire Coalfield. Now he’s a solo performer and writer: he’s worked in schools, theatres, arts centres, fields and front rooms. He’s been poet in residence at Barnsley Football Club, Northern Spirit Trains and Humberside Police. He’s written books of poetry and prose, comedy for radio and plays for the stage, and he presents The Verb, Radio 3’s Cabaret of The Word.

Ian says: ‘I’m really excited to be part of this Prize, which will showcase the true Northern Powerhouse of writing that’s shaping and shaking our perceptions of this part of the world.’


Conor O'Callaghan _Colour Hi-Res

Conor O’Callaghan is an Irish writer teaching in Sheffield Hallam University, where he leads the MA Creative Writing. His first novel, Nothing on Earth, was published by Doubleday in 2016 and was listed as a book of the year in The Guardian, The Observer and the Irish Times. Conor has also published five collections of poems, the most recent of which, Live Streaming, appears this month.

About being a judge for the 2018 Prize, Conor says: ‘It’s brilliant to have in Sheffield the independent press And Other Stories, which has made its reputation out of championing left-field and international fiction, and I am delighted to be part of the judging team for their inaugural Prize. I’ve no doubt that there is strange and exciting work happening out there, work that takes risks with form and narrative and language, but which might otherwise struggle to find an audience in the increasingly risk-averse world that publishing has become. It’s our job to find that work and shout it from the rooftops.’


Tara Tobler

Tara Tobler is the fiction editor at And Other Stories, as well as a writer, freelance reviewer, and mum. She lives in Sheffield.

Tara says: How do I feel about the Northern Fiction Prize? Invigorated. Excited. A bit nervy, in all senses of the word. As a publisher it’s a tremendous leap to commit to bringing out one work, one work every single year, which you’ve not only never seen but couldn’t begin to imagine or guess at – and yet that’s what we’re doing. Clambering Helvellyn in the fog. It’s a mark of how proud we are to call the North our home and testament to the strength of talent we feel resides here. We can’t wait!


claire malcolm -900x623

Claire Malcolm is the founding Chief Executive of New Writing North and created many of its flagship projects such as the Northern Writers’ Awards, Read Regional and the Gordon Burn Prize. As well as leading the company she also works directly on projects with HE partners, commissions new work and is editorial director of the publishing venture Mayfly LLP. She also hosts literary events and chairs discussions at book festivals.

She has an MA in Leadership from City University and is a graduate of Newcastle Common Purpose. Claire is a board member of the publisher And Other Stories and of the national reading charity BookTrust. She is a regular judge for the Saltire Society’s Scottish Publisher of the Year Award.

Claire says: ‘We are delighted to be working with And Other Stories on the Northern Book Prize. We know from our experiences running the Northern Writers’ Awards that there’s a huge range of exciting and diverse talent in the North of England. We’re looking forward to welcoming submissions to this wonderful new prize, which will provide the winning writer with a unique, valuable and career-changing opportunity.’

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