Wayne Holloway-Smith has published two collections, Alarum (Bloodaxe 2017), and Love Minus Love (Bloodaxe 2020), which was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. He is the winner of the National Poetry Competition (2018) and Geoffrey Dearmer Prize (2016). He edits The Poetry Review.
Nina Mingya Powles
Nina Mingya Powles is a writer, editor and publisher from Aotearoa New Zealand. She is the author of three poetry collections, including Magnolia, which was shortlisted for both the Ondaatje Prize and the Forward Prize; and Tiny Moons: A Year of Eating in Shanghai. In 2019 she won the Nan Shepherd Prize for Small Bodies of Water, and in 2018 she won the Women Poets’ Prize. She is the founding editor of Bitter Melon. Nina was born in Aotearoa, partly grew up in China, and now lives in London. Nina has made numerous small poetry zines and teaches zinemaking and poetry workshops. She writes an occasional e-newsletter called Comfort Food.
Prize Partner Judges
Joey Connolly grew up in Sheffield and now works in London as Director of Faber Academy. As a poet, he received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors in 2012. His first collection, Long Pass, was published by Carcanet in 2017 and was one of The Poetry School's Books of the Year. His second collection, The Recycling, is forthcoming from the same publisher in May 2023.
Maryam Hessavi is British Manchester-based poet and critic, with poems and reviews appearing in various publications, including Carcanet’s New Poetries VIII. An alumna of the University of Manchester, she holds an MA in English Literature & Creative Writing with specialisms in Modernism and Linguistics. Maryam is a Ledbury Critic and Reviews Editor for Poetry School.
Jennifer Kerslake is Head of Courses at Curtis Brown Creative, the only writing school to be owned and run by a major literary and talent agency. She was previously an editor of fiction and non-fiction at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, the literary imprint of the Orion Publishing Group. She is passionate about nurturing new voices and enjoys working closely with writers to help them shape their stories.
Aki Schilz is the Director of The Literary Consultancy, the UK’s longest-running editorial consultancy. She is a Trustee of Poetry London, and sits on the advisory board of Penned in the Margins. Aki is a judge for the Bridport First Novel Award and sits on its steering committee. She is also a prize-winning writer of poetry and fiction, and co-founder of the Saboteur Award-shortlisted #LossLit digital literature project. In 2018 Aki was named as one of the FutureBook 40 (a list of the top 40 innovators in UK publishing), and nominated for an h100 Award for her #BookJobTransparency campaign and her work to improve representation and accessibility in the literature sector. She is also the founder of the Rebecca Swift Foundation, in memory of TLC’s founder and her boss and mentor. In 2019 Aki was shortlisted for the Kim Scott-Walwyn Prize.
Each year we have a number of shortlist judges, all of whom are past CFWA winners or underrepresented writers that we have worked with. This year our shortlist judges are:
Shazia J. Altaf (CFWA winner 2021) is a writer from Middlesbrough, in the North East of England, from a working-class background. She studied history, has worked in libraries, government, call centres, as a shop merchandiser, as well as other things. She won the 2021 Creative Future Writers’ Award Platinum Fiction prize. Her debut novel, Jammed was shortlisted for the inaugural Primadonna Prize in 2021, and her work was also listed for the 2021 Exeter Short Story Prize for ‘Lepidoptera’. Her short story ‘Selling Oil’ was published in the Bricklane Anthology 2022. Shazia has been awarded an Arts Council England Grant. Shazia is represented by the magical Marianne Gunn O’Connor Literary, Film & TV Agency.
Tara Gould (CF Spotlight Books author) is an award-winning writer, educator, meditation teacher and nature artist. She graduated from Sussex University with a Masters in Creative Writing and Education and has since worked across a range of arts and FE organisations facilitating guided nature walks, nature journaling and mindful writing. Her workshops draw on literature, art and wildlife to help individuals deepen their relationship with the natural world and find solace and inspiration. Her recent work highlights through story and experiences how nature and the human are bound together, exploring landscape, home, and belonging and how creation can emerge from the uncertainty and turbulence of life. Tara was the inaugural CF Writer In Residence, was published in the CF Spotlight Books series by Myriad Editions, and was part of the CF Next Up development programme in partnership with The Literary Consultancy. She has a history of supporting emerging writers and founded the curated short story cabaret Short Fuse at Komedia in Brighton to provide a platform for local writing talent and more recently The Small Story Cabaret in Lewes.
Rhiya Pau (CFWA winner 2021) is a British-born poet of Indian heritage from a community with a rich history of migration. She is one half of Origins Poetry Duo, who host multi-disciplinary fundraisers, platforming emerging artists of the global majority. Rhiya was the winner of the 2021 Creative Future Writers’ Award Platinum Poetry prize. Her debut poetry collection, Routes, won a 2022 Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. You can follow her work on Instagram @rhi.write