Tishani Doshi is an award-winning writer and dancer of Welsh-Gujarati descent. Born in Madras, India, she received a master’s in writing from the Johns Hopkins University and worked in London in advertising before returning to India in 2001, where a chance encounter with the choreographer Chandralekha led her to an unexpected career in dance. She has published seven books of fiction and poetry, the most recent of which are Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods (Bloodaxe Books, 2018), shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Poetry Award and a Firecracker Award, and a novel, Small Days and Nights (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020), shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize, the Tata Best Fiction Award, and a New York Times Bestsellers Editor’s Choice. She has interviewed over a hundred writers about the craft of writing, publishes essays in The Hindu, Granta, The National, The New York Times, The Guardian, Lithub and Corriere della Sera. She is a visiting professor of creative writing at New York University Abu Dhabi, and otherwise, lives on a beach in Tamil Nadu, India.
Scott Evans is a primary school teacher, Reading Lead and children's books consultant and influencer from south Wales. He reads, reviews and recommends a range of children's literature on his website TheReaderTeacher.com which is designed for teachers, schools, parents and children. Before training as a teacher, he worked in libraries for many years and is passionate about the importance of school and public libraries. More recently, Scott has appeared on and written for the BBC about raising children as readers, shortlisted the Blue Peter Book Awards and the Laugh Out Loud (Lollies) Book Awards, and hosts #PrimarySchoolBookClub - a monthly online children's book club, chat and vote for anyone working in primary education. You can become involved by searching the hashtag or by following @PrimarySchoolBC on Twitter. You can also follow Scott on Twitter @MrEPrimary where he talks about all things children's books.
Tanni Grey-Thompson is a Paralympic Athlete from Cardiff. During her successful career she won 11 Paralympic gold medals; the London Wheelchair Marathon six times; the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year three times; and broke a total of 30 World Records. She has continued to use her experience and passion through her role as Board Member for The London Marathon, The Sportsaid Foundation, The Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Join In. In 2000 she was awarded an OBE, and in 2010, Tanni became an Independent Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords, taking the title Baroness Grey-Thompson of Eaglescliffe in the County of Durham.
Charlotte Williams OBE is an academic, writer and activist. She is Honorary Professor in the School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences, Bangor University and holds Honorary appointments at Glyndwr University and University of South Wales. Charlotte has researched and published extensively on issues of migration, race, ethnicity, and multiculturalism using academic, literary and popular media. She is co-editor of the ground-breaking text A Tolerant Nation? Revisiting Ethnic Diversity in a devolved Wales (University of Wales Press, 2003 and 2015). Charlotte’s contributions to post-colonial studies include her memoir, Sugar and Slate (Planet, 2002), exploring her Welsh-Guyanese heritage and diasporic identity which won Wales Book of the Year in 2003; co-editor of Denis Williams: A Life in Works, New and Collected Essays (Rodopi, 2010), Auntie in the collection Tangled Roots: Stories of Mixed Race Britain, edited by Katie Massey (Tangled Roots, 2015) and regular contributions to Internationalist Journals including Planet, Wales Review Online, and Wasafiri. In 2005 she was Chair of the judging panel for Wales Book of the Year. Charlotte was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List (2007) for services to ethnic minorities and equalities in Wales.
Welsh-language Wales Book of the Year Award Judges
Guto Dafydd won the Crown at the National Eisteddfod in 2014 and 2019, as well as Gwobr Goffa Daniel Owen in 2016 and 2019. Guto has published many books including a volume of poetry, Ni Bia’r Awyr (Barddas, 2014) and three novels: Stad (Y Lolfa, 2014), Ymbelydredd (Y Lolfa, 2016) – which won the Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice Award in 2017 – and Carafanio (Y Lolfa, 2019). He also wrote the words for A Oes Heddwch, the 2017 National Eisteddfod’s opening concert, as well as the radio drama Carafanio: Coronafeirws. He has performed his work in numerous vestry’s, pubs, libraries, schools and halls, and has discussed literature at numerous broadcasts on radio, television and online. He works for The Welsh Language Commissioner and lives in Pwllheli with Lisa, Casi and Nedw.
Anni Llŷn is a writer who has published numerous novels and books for children and young people, has scripted many educational shows and television programmes for young audiences for S4C. She was Bardd Plant Cymru 2015-2017. She regularly works with children and young people across Wales on creative projects and creative writing workshops. Anni also has presented from Eisteddfod yr Urdd and Eisteddfod y Ffermwyr Ifanc over the years. She lives with her husband and daughters in Pen Llŷn. Anni loves to read, but as a busy mother of two, time to read isn’t always available, and when she does pick up a book… she falls to sleep quite easily! Judging Wales Book of the Year will allow her to make time to read, and for that she’s grateful.
Tomos Owen is a lecturer in English literature at Cardiff University. He specialises in modern literature, and in particular on Wales’ literature. He edited two anthologies of new writing – Nu (Parthian, 2009) and Memorable Firsts (Parthian, 2011). Tomos has published work on numerous writers including Amy Dillwyn, Rhys Davies, Dylan Thomas and Caradoc Evans, and on various themes including London Welsh literature, industrial fiction and animals in modern literature.
Esyllt Sears was named ‘One to Watch’ by the Funny Women Awards following her debut stand-up performance in 2017 and that was enough to convince her that neglecting two young children to pursue a career in comedy might be more than just an early midlife crisis. She has since performed sets for a BBC Radio 4 Extra and BBC Radio Wales (English) and for S4C (Welsh).
She has written for The Now Show and The News Quiz (Radio 4); Elis James’ Welsh sketch show and hour long stand-up special (S4C); and for Peri-Peri Menopausal Chicken and Welcome Strangers (Radio Wales). In 2019, she provided tour support to Elis James, Lloyd Langford and Jen Brister and she is also a regular panellist on the panel show, Who Said That? and The Comedy Arcade podcast.
Originally from Aberystwyth, Esyllt studied Welsh and Welsh History at Cardiff University before gaining a diploma in Public and Media Relations and moving to London to work with clients such as South African Tourism, The Tata Group, BT Global Financial Services, AIG, Delta Airlines and The Rezidor Hotel Group. She now lives in the Vale of Glamorgan and is an occasional marketing and business guest lecturer for Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.