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Wales Book of the Year 2020 Judges

Sampurna Chattarji
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Tiffany Murray
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Ken Wilson-Max
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Welsh-language Wales Book of the Year Award Judges
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Wales Book of the Year Statement - 04.06.2020
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Sampurna Chattarji

Sampurna Chattarji is a poet, novelist, teacher and translator. Her seventeen books include two novels, a short-story, eight poetry titles, and an anthology of poetry and prose by women writing in English, Malayalam, Telugu and Urdu. Her translation of 'Joy Goswami’s Selected Poems' is a Harper Perennial; and 'Wordygurdyboom!' – her translation of Sukumar Ray – is a Puffin Classic. She is currently Poetry Editor of 'The Indian Quarterly' and teaches writing to design students at IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), Mumbai.

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Tiffany Murray

Tiffany Murray has been an International Hay Festival fiction fellow, a Fulbright scholar and a Senior Lecturer. She is currently an RLF Fellow and Director of the Hay Festival’s Writers at Work program. Her novels 'Diamond Star Halo' and 'Happy Accidents' were shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, and her latest is 'Sugar Hall'. Tiffany’s work is set in Wales and its borders.

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Ken Wilson-Max

Ken Wilson-Max was born and raised in Zimbabwe, where he trained to be a graphic designer. He travelled to the UK to study design and ended up working in children’s publishing as a book designer, and then as a children’s author and illustrator. Since 2017 he has been running an independent publishing company creating and producing naturally inclusive books for very young children called Alanna Max.

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Welsh-language Wales Book of the Year Award Judges

Betsan Powys
Betsan Powys spent 30 years working for the BBC as a bilingual journalist in Cardiff and London. She has since worked as the Political Editor of BBC Wales, Editor of Radio Cymru and Cymru Fyw and a member of the board of BBC Wales. Since leaving the corporate world in late 2018 she now enjoys spending time with her children and family, and having the ability to say 'yes, why not' to some things that in the past would have had the answer ‘no!’

Sion Tomos Owen
Sion Tomos Owen grew up in the Rhondda Valley. He studied Art Foundation and Illustration at Glamorgan College of Art, Design and Technology specialising in Illustration before studying for a degree in Creative Writing and Media Studies at Trinity College, Carmarthen. He is a bilingual television and radio presenter, author of poetry, prose and books for Welsh learners as well as a Cartoonist and Designer. In 2018 he was awarded a Literature Wales writers bursary to work on his graphic novel. Sion runs creative workshops, creates murals, commissioned artwork and caricatures through his company CreaSion.

Emyr Lewis
Emyr Lewis is a poet and head of the Department of Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University. He has published three volumes of poetry. The first 'Chwarae Mig' won the Gruffydd John WIlliams Memorial Prize, while the other two ‘Amser Amherffaith / Dysgu Deud Celwydd yn Tsiec’ and 'twt lol' were on the shortlists for the Wales Book of the Year Award. He won the Chair at the 1994 National Eisteddfod and the Crown in Bro Ogwr in 1998.

Casi Wyn
A familiar voice both in Wales and further afield, Casi Wyn’s known for her contemporary and soulful songs, played frequently across our national radio stations. As well as performing her original work on the BBC Proms stages in Swansea with the BBC’s National Orchestra and with BBC Introducing at SXSW, more recently she performed as the guest artist at the BAFTA Wales ceremony. She created her first short film, ‘Robin Goch’, last year where she composed both the score and an original story, shown on S4C over the Christmas period.

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Wales Book of the Year Statement - 04.06.2020

The Wales Book of the Year Award is an important event in the Welsh literary calendar, and as organisers, our priority is to ensure that the focus of conversation is Wales’ talented writers, and that the literary community and industries of Wales can benefit from the recognition of their work. The shortlisting meeting will soon take place, and we look forward to sharing this exciting announcement on Wednesday 1 July 2020, before going on to announce the winners of Wales Book of the Year towards the end of July.

Our values are principles that we consider central to who we are as an organisation. We expect everyone involved with Literature Wales – whether staff, Directors, clients, tutors, volunteers or panel members – to respect and observe them. We believe in everyone’s right to freedom of expression, however it is our view that during recent online activity, one of the individuals appointed to judge the Wales Book of the Year Award has displayed conduct that is detrimental to our values and interests as an organisation by use of aggressive language. 

Regretfully, we have therefore asked Martin Shipton to step down from his role as a judge, and would like to thank him for his work and collaboration with Wales Book of the Year over recent months.

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