Here, Spread the Word’s London Writers Awards 2022 judges share their thoughts on what they’ll be looking for in applications.
Applications are open from 1 October – 31 October 2021. Spread the Word’s Bobby Nayyar and Ruth Harrison are running a free online seminar on 7 October ‘London Writers Awards: Thinking of Applying?’ aimed at potential applicants for the 2022 programme.
The 2022 Awards will be judged by author judges: Louise Hare, Ashley Hickson-Lovence, Benjamin Dean, Sara Jafari and Sara Gibbs. The industry judges are: Emma Bal, Davinia Andrew-Lynch, Emma Grundy Haigh, Matt Turner and Milly Reilly.
They’ll be supporting Spread the Word with selecting the thirty writers who will be offered a place on the London Writers Awards scheme 2022. Here they share their thoughts about what they’ll be looking for in applications.
Literary Fiction Judges
Louise Hare is a Literary Fiction Author Judge for the London Writers Awards 2022
Louise says: “I want to be hooked by a story. I want to finish a submission and be aggrieved that I can’t read on. I’m hoping to discover distinctive voices that stand out and that feel authentic. A twist, a new point of view, on an old theme always excites me. And I’m a sucker for a great character, someone who I will absolutely follow from page one, through thick and thin, right to the end. “
Ashley Hickson-Lovence is a Literary Fiction Author Judge for the London Writers Awards 2022
Ashley says: “I look forward to reading works that flow freely line to line, are penned straight from the heart and have been finessed with the head, that make my eyes roll down the page, that leaves me craving more and lingers in the back of my mind long after I’ve read the last line. ”
Matt Turner is a Literary Fiction Industry Judge for the London Writers Awards 2022
Matt says: “I will be looking for fiction with intent, with a voice that is writing to be heard. This does not mean literature that is flashy, florid or overly self-aware, but instead work that at heart has conviction and that wants to speak – as if whispered in their ear – to readers. Clean, crisp and lyrical sentences are something I especially seek. I’m keen to discover vivid characters and landscapes, full of atmosphere and vigour, that brings me immediately into the world of the writer, and that combines to add colour and impetus to what it is the fiction wants to say.”
Milly Reilly is a Literary Fiction Industry Judge for the London Writers Awards 2022
Milly says: “Simply put, I’ll be looking for stand-out writing, in whatever form that takes. I want to be lost in the world of the characters, to feel alongside them and to keep thinking of them long after I finish reading.”
Commercial Fiction Judges
Sara Jafari is the Commercial Fiction Author Judge for the London Writers Awards 2022.
Sara says: “The main thing I will be looking out for is a strong voice! You can fix plot through the process (I definitely needed to with my own novel), but a distinct, clear, narrative voice is really what makes writing stand out for me. My reading taste is very varied – from rom-coms to psychological thrillers – I’m looking forward to reading them all!”
Emma Grundy Haigh is the Commercial Fiction Industry Judge for the London Writers Awards 2022.
Emma says: “I’m a voracious reader with eclectic tastes and have always gravitated to stories with a strong point of view. I am especially excited to see crime fiction – from cosy crime to police procedurals with a twist to psychological thrillers – that surprise and provoke the reader.”
Narrative Non-Fiction Judges
Sara Gibbs is the Narrative Non-Fiction Author Judge for the London Writers Awards 2022.
Sara says: “I’ll be looking for raw talent, commitment to developing as a writer and enthusiasm for the work and craft of writing. The two most important things are potential and the drive and will to make the most of it. I’m very excited to read this year’s entries.”
Emma Bal is the Narrative Non-Fiction Industry Judge for the London Writers Awards 2022.
Emma says: “With writers of non-fiction, my first question is always, why you do want to write this? I want to understand that in the writing. I am looking to read original work from writers who have a clear sense of purpose and a great awareness of the reader. The best non-fiction is good at showing rather than telling.”
YA / Children’s Fiction Judges
Benjamin Dean is the YA/Children’s Fiction Author Judge for the London Writers Awards 2022.
Benjamin says: “As a judge in the children’s and YA category for the London Writers Awards this year, I’ll be looking for stories that really grab my attention and refuse to let it go from the first line until the last. Whether it be optimistic contemporary, dark and chilling thrillers or anything in between, I want to read submissions that really understand the story they’re trying to tell and announce the writer as an author who has something to say.“
Davinia Andrew-Lynch is the Children’s/YA Fiction Industry Judge for the London Writers Awards 2022.
Davinia says: “When it comes to stories for children, I’m always looking for the great adventure – whether it’s in the everyday or across an unknown world. I’m particularly keen to see funny fiction for young readers in the 5-7 range; a Goosebump-esque horror for the Middle Grade heart land of 9-12 ; and within both Middle Grade and YA I’d love to come across a clever twist-on-a-heist type story. Also, I’m always a fan of the Genre Mash-Up!”
Applications are open from 1 October – 31 October 2021. Find out more and how to apply here: www.spreadtheword.org.uk/applications-for-london-writers-awards-2022/
Published 1 October 2021