Past Judges and Honorary Chairs

The Race to Get Dry – illustration by Deborah Partington (UV 2016)

Leading writers, editors and agents in the UK publishing industry have contributed to the Undiscovered Voices anthologies as judges and honorary chairs. The judges select the final pieces to be featured in the anthology while the honorary chairs provide inspiration both in the anthology and the launch event.

Please note that the job titles and companies listed for the judges are correct at the time of each anthology release. Many will have subsequent changed roles or moved companies.

Check out what happened to the previous finalists after the anthology.

2020

Writing Judging Panel

2020 Honorary Author Chair
Candy Gourlay

Candy Gourlay was born in the Philippines, grew up under a dictatorship and met her husband during a revolution. Growing up, she wondered why books only featured pink-skinned children who lived in worlds that didn’t resemble her tropical home in Manila. It took her years to learn that Filipino stories belong in the pages of books too.

Her novel Bone Talk was recently shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Costa Prize – it is set at the moment when headhunting tribes in the Philippines come face to face with American invaders. Her picture book, Is It a Mermaid, illustrated by Francesca Chessa, was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Her books have been shortlisted for the Branford Boase, Waterstones, Blue Peter and Guardian Children’s Book Prize.

Candy is an ardent volunteer of SCBWI and was a winner of the first Undiscovered Voices in 2008. Both her novels Shine and Tall Story have won SCBWI’s Crystal Kite Award. Her fingerprints are all over SCBWI’s online presence, from its jurassic list-serve days to its current experiments in livestreaming events. She is currently devising events and opportunities for published members as co-organiser of SCBWI’s Pulse strand.

She lives in London with her family, where she wages war on the snails in her garden.

2018

Writing Judging Panel

Illustration Judging Panel

2018 Honorary Author Chair
Frances Hardinge

Frances Hardinge, (c) David Levenson

Frances Hardinge was brought up in a sequence of small, sinister English villages, and spent a number of formative years living in a Gothic-looking, mouse-infested hilltop house in Kent. She studied English Language and Literature at Oxford, fell in love with the city’s crazed archaic beauty, and lived there for many years.

Whilst working full time as a technical author for a software company she started writing her first children’s novel, Fly by Night, and was with difficulty persuaded by a good friend to submit the manuscript to Macmillan. Seven of her books have now been published, all aimed at children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Lie Tree, won the Costa Book of the Year Award, the fiction category of the Boston Globe Hornbook Award and the 12-16 age category of the UKLA Awards.

Frances is seldom seen without her hat and is addicted to volcanoes.

2018 Honorary Illustrator Chair
Alexis Deacon

Alexis Deacon is a writer and illustrator of children’s books. His first book, Slow Loris, was published in 2002 and was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award. In 2015 it was named one of the hundred best children’s books of all time by Time Magazine.

He has twice been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal and is a two time recipient of The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award. In 2014, The River, won the Observer/Jonathan Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize.  In 2008 he was chosen by Booktrust as one of the ten best new illustrators of the preceding decade.

Alexis’ latest book, Geis, Nobrow Press, is the first in an epic trilogy genre-spanning a mix of supernatural, historical fantasy, action and folk tale.

2016

Writing Judging Panel

Illustration Judging Panel

2016 Author and Illustrator Honorary Chair
Sally Gardner

Sally Gardner
2016 Honorary Chair, Sally Gardner

Sally Gardner served as the honorary chair for the 2014 anthology across both writing and illustrating disciplines. She is an illustrator of over 25 books, an award-winning novelist who has sold over 2 million books in the UK and her work has been translated in to more than 22 languages. Sally’s novel, Maggot Moon (Hot Key Books 2012), won both the Costa Children’s Book Prize and the Carnegie Medal 2013. Sally’s genre-defying novel, The Double Shadow (Orion 2011) received great critical acclaim and was also longlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2013. The Red Necklace (shortlisted for 2007 Guardian Book Prize) and The Silver Blade, are set during the French Revolution, the film rights for which have been purchased by Dominic West. Sally also won the 2005 Nestle Children’s Book Prize for her debut novel ‘I, Coriander’.

You can hear her message to the 2016 finalists here.

2014

Writing Judging Panel

Illustration Judging Panel

2014 Author and Illustrator Honorary Chair
Chris Riddell

2014 Honorary Chair Chris Riddell
2014 Honorary Chair Chris Riddell

Chris Riddell served as the honorary chair for the 2014 anthology across both writing and illustrating disciplines.

Chris Riddell is an accomplished graphic artist who has illustrated many acclaimed books for children. He has won the UNESCO Award for Something Else, has twice won the Kate Greenaway Medal, and was shortlisted for the Kurt Maschler Award. With Paul Stewart, he is the creator of the highly successful Edge Chronicles, Barnaby Grimes and Far Flung Adventures. He is also the acclaimed political cartoonist for the Observer. He has illustrated over 100 books for children of all ages.

You can download the honorary chair’s introduction and cartoons in the previous anthology here.


2012

Writing Judging Panel

Illustration Judging Panel

 

2012 Authors Honorary Chair
Malorie Blackman

2012 Honorary Chairs Malorie Blackman and Nick Sharratt
2012 Honorary Chairs Malorie Blackman and Nick Sharratt

The BAFTA-winning author Malorie Blackman, who has written over 50 books for children, including the Noughts and Crosses series and Boys Don’t Cry.

You can also download the honorary chair’s introductions to the previous anthologies here.

 

2012 Illustrators Honorary Chair
Nick Sharratt

The award-winning illustrator Nick Sharratt, who has illustrated over 200 books, including the most borrowed book of the last ten years: The Story of Tracy Beaker.

You can also download the honorary chair’s introductions to the previous anthologies here.

 

2010

Writing Judging Panel

 

2010 Authors Honorary Chair
Melvin Burgess

Honorary Chair Melvin Burgess with SCBWI BI Regional Advisor Natascha Biebow
Honorary Chair Melvin Burgess with SCBWI BI Regional Advisor Natascha Biebow

Melvin Burgess is held by many as the godfather of young adult fiction and is the author of books such as Junk, Bloodtide, Doing It and Nicholas Dane.

You can also download the honorary chair’s introductions to the previous anthologies here.

 

2008

Writing Judging Panel

 

2008 Authors Honorary Chair
David Almond

Working Partners M.D. Chris Snowdon with Honorary Chair David Almond
Working Partners M.D. Chris Snowdon with Honorary Chair David Almond

David Almond, the award-winning author of children’s books, including Skellig, Kit’s Wilderness, The Fire-Eaters, and Clay.

You can also download the honorary chair’s introductions to the previous anthologies here.