The Debut Crown
Ayo Onatade (Chair)
Ayo Onatade is CWA Red Herring award winning freelance crime fiction critic and commentator and a regular juge of literary awards. You can find her work on Shotsblog
Susan Heads runs the incredibly popular and award winning Literary Travel Agency The Book Trail, discovering the world one book at a time.
Simon is behind the book blog and Youtube channel Savidge Reads. He has been a judge for the Guardians’ Not the Booker, Fiction Uncovered, the Costa Book Awards and chaired The Portico Prize. He has written for the Bookseller, Waterstones, the Guardian and The Independent and hosted literary events at bookshops and festivals across the UK and in the USA. Simon has presented on Sky Arts and can be heard monthly on Must Reads on BBC 5 Live. He is a passionate lover of books, reading and libraries, having recently worked for Liverpool Library service where he led on commercialisation, retail, marketing and events, covering 19 libraries including HMP Liverpool. Simon now project manages the BBC Novels That Shaped Our World Libraries Events Programme for Libraries Connected.
The Non-Fiction Crown
Alex Von Tunzelmann – Chair
Alex von Tunzelmann read Modern History at University College, Oxford, and now lives in London. She is the author of four books including Blood & Sand and writes drama for film and television. She writes the occasional column Reel History at The Guardian.
Yasmin Khan is a historian and writer, and Associate Professor of British History based in the Department for Continuing Education in Oxford and a member of the History Faculty. Her research focuses on the history of the British in India, the British Empire, South Asian decolonization, refugees and the aftermath of empire. She has also written about the Second World War and the imperial dimensions of the conflict. Publications include The Great Partition: the Making of India and Pakistan (Yale University Press/Penguin India, 2007) which won the Gladstone Prize from the Royal Historical Society and The Raj at War: A People’s History of India’s Second World War (Bodley Head, 2015.)
Keith Lowe is the author of three major works of history. His first book, Inferno, was a critically-acclaimed study of the bombing of Hamburg in 1943. Using eyewitness testimonies from both sides, it described the horrors of the greatest ever man-made firestorm, which killed around 40,000 people in a single night. His second book, Savage Continent , was a ground-breaking study of the wave of violence and revenge that swept Europe after the war. It became a Sunday Times top ten bestseller, and went on to win both the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History and Italy’s national herasco History Prize. His latest book, The Fear and the Freedom, is an intimate history of the long-term consequences of the Second World War, and the shadow that it still casts over our lives today.
The Gold Crown
Jason Hewitt – Chair
Jason’s debut The Dynamite Room published in the UK & Commonwealth in 2014, in the US/Canada and in a French translation (as Le Silence des Bombes) in 2015. A film adaptation is currently in development, with Jamie Bell set to star as Heiden. His second novel Devastation Road was published by Scribner in the UK and Commonwealth in 2015 (paperback 2016) in the US/Canada in 2017.
Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in the twentieth century and often writing about the lives of real women. Her novels have topped bestseller lists in the US and Canada as well as the UK and have been translated into twenty languages. The Secret Wife has sold over half a million copies and is a book-club favourite worldwide. Jackie and Maria, her ninth novel, is coming out in the US in August 2020 and in the UK in September, retitled The Second Marriage.
She is also the author of several non-fiction books on historical subjects. She lives in North London and swims year-round in a wild pond.
Kate is a top rated reviewer, runs the For Winter Nights blog and writes regular features on historical fiction for the Sunday Express.
Robin is the man behind Parmenion Books
LP Fergusson is a writer based in Oxfordshire. Her wartime novel Dark Barn was Highly Commended in the Caledonia Novel Award 2018 and published by Canelo Publishing in March 2019 as A Dangerous Act of Kindness. In 2020 Canelo published her second historical novel, The Summer Fields.
Jean G Goodhind has written fifty novels in all in different genres and under other pseudonyms. Her Honey Driver cosy crime series, written as Jean G Goodhind, was a best seller in Germany. She is also a past winner of the BBC New Writers’ Award.
Her historical novels, mainly set in WW2, for Ebury Publishing (Random House) are written under Lizzie Lane. Most have entered the Heatseekers Chart and the top thirty bestselling paperbacks (EPOS). She has also written under Erica Brown.
Jean Fullerton’s hugely popular books are set around the area of East London where she grew up and her family have been based since the 1830s. She also teaches creative writing and lectures about the rich history of the area.