Wales Book of the Year Judges 2023
Emily Burnett is a BAFTA winning actress and writer based in Cardiff. She is predominantly known for playing the role of Charlie Morris on CBBC’s The Dumping Ground and Olivia Bradshaw on Channel 4’s Hollyoaks. Emily was part of the Literature Wales Professional Development Programme for Writers of Colour 2021 and has been mentored in her writing by Abi Morgan. Writing across TV, film, live performance and prose, her work often centres around the visibility of unrepresented stories and communities, looking at how we can amplify unheard voices. Her recent work includes: GALWAD (as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK), H IS FOR HAIR (a radio drama for BBC RADIO WALES), and MOTHER’S DAY (a film shortlisted for commissioning by Ffilm Cymru and BBC Wales).
Emma Smith-Barton is an author, teacher and creative writing mentor born in South Wales. Growing up between cultures has heavily influenced her writing and she is especially interested in exploring themes of identity and belonging. Her first YA novel, The Million Pieces of Neena Gill, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Award, the Branford Boase Award and the Romantic Novelist’s Association Debut Romantic Novel Award.
She has a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Warwick and a Creative Writing MA from Bath Spa University. Her short stories have appeared in various publications such as Mslexia and The Bristol Short Story Prize anthology under her pseudonym for adult fiction, Amna Khokher.
Kristian Evans is a poet, editor and environmental campaigner living in Bridgend. Recent publications include “100 Poems to Save the Earth” (Seren) and “Otherworlds: Essays and Letters on Nature and Magic” (Broken Sleep). An amateur naturalist, his interest in ecology has led him to explore ideas of the ‘more-than-human’ world, animism, esoteric philosophies and other neglected or forgotten forms of knowledge. He is a founding editor of “Modron” an online magazine of writing on the ecological crisis, and is author of the column, “A Kenfig Journal” for the environmental charity Sustainable Wales.
Mike Parker has written radio and TV travelogues, and numerous books. His last one was On the Red Hill, an evocation of the queer rural, which won the 2020 non-fiction Wales Book of the Year, and was runner-up for the Wainwright Prize for UK nature writing. As well as the bestselling Map Addict, previous books include its critically-acclaimed follow-up The Wild Rover, the cult Neighbours From Hell?, and The Greasy Poll, a political diary from when he nearly became an MP. Out this spring is All the Wide Border, an examination of the England-Wales frontier on the map, in history and in our heads.
Ceri Wyn Jones
Ceri Wyn Jones is a poet from Cardigan. He has won the Chair at the National Eisteddfod twice, as well as the Crown, and he is also the presenter of BBC Radio Cymru’s Y Talwrn series. A former Bardd Plant Cymru (Children’s poet laureate of Wales), he has published volumes for children as well as adults, including Dauwynebog, shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year 2008. He was an English teacher, before he became a book editor, and now works as a freelance writer, broadcaster, editor and creative writing tutor.
Megan Angharad Hunter
Megan Angharad Hunter is an author, scriptwriter and musician from Dyffryn Nantlle. Since receiving a BA in Welsh and Philosophy in 2022, she has worked as a full-time author, primarily writing for children and young people in Welsh and English. She has written two novels for young adults: tu ôl i’r awyr, her first novel, was published in 2020 and was the Wales Book of the Year Welsh Language Overall Winner, and Cat was published as part of the award-winning series Y Pump. She also won the Crown at the Urdd Eisteddfod in 2020/21 and she has experience in the television industry. More recently, she co-led a creative writing course for authors who are d/Disabled with the poet Bethany Handley, and in 2023 had an opportunity through Literature Across Frontiers to attend several literary festivals in India with six other European writers. When writing, she tends to focus on themes of mental health, d/Disability, and sexuality and she is currently working on her first novel for children. She also volunteers for Llamau, a charity that provides a helpline for young people facing homelessness, and in addition to writing she enjoys playing a range of musical instruments, composing songs and baking puddings that are far too ambitious.
Savanna comes from Cardiff and is a mother to one child. She works in the higher education sector focusing on widening access and representation, having completed a masters degree in public policy. She volunteers on the board of Mudiad Meithrin and works with Welsh organisations to promote anti-racist exercises and encourages practises that are accessible to people from minority ethnic backgrounds.
Sioned Wiliam comes from Barry. She is the author of Dal i Fynd, Chwynnu a Cicio’r Bar, and her fourth novel Y Gwyliau, will be published by Y Lolfa this summer. She started her career in the world of radio and television at the BBC before becoming an independent producer. Among the programmes she has produced are Tonight with Jonathan Ross, Game On, Big Train and Yonderland. She produced iDot for Boom/S4C and worked as an executive producer for Rhestr Nadolig Wil. She has been nominated for three BAFTA Awards, won the British Comedy Award, and won the Bronze Rose in Montreux as the producer of Big Train. She was the Comedy Commissioner for ITV and BBC Radio 4.