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The Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award Announces Judges

The UK and Ireland’s most influential award for young writers, The Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award today announces an exceptional panel of judges for its third year with sponsor the Charlotte Aitken Trust.

With Cal Flyn, Jay Bernard, Raymond Antrobus, Adam Weymouth, Sally Rooney, Max Porterand Sarah Howe as recent winners, the prize has spotted and supported an incredible line-up of defining new voices since returning from a seven-year break in 2015, and its alumni list is a who’s who of the best in British and Irish writing – from Robert Macfarlane to Zadie Smith, from Sarah Waters to Simon Armitage, from Naomi Alderman to Caryl Phillips and many others.

Sponsored by the Charlotte Aitken Trust, who joined the prize in 2021, the award is given annually to the best work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a British or Irish author of thirty-five or under. Administered by the Society of Authors, the award works with a growing network of partners to provide a critical support system to the very best talent at work right now. Submissions for this year close on Thursday 14 September 2023.

As it launches its upcoming season, the award is working to extend its partnership network across the literary world. In its first year as the new sponsor, the Charlotte Aitken Trust increased the prize sum to £10,000 with each shortlistee receiving £1,000. This prize money will remain as part of the winner package for 2023.

The Judges:

First up: Johanna Thomas-Corr, who is the Literary Editor of The Sunday Times, returns to the panel. She has written extensively for The Times, The Observer, The Financial Times and more. This is her second year of judging for the prize.

Booker-winning writer and novelist Anne Enright, who is one of Ireland’s leading writers. The author of eight novels, two books of short stories and many essays, in addition to her Booker-prize win, she also won the the Irish novel of the year (2007 and 2015). Anne was the first Laureate for Irish Fiction (2015–2018) and she teaches creative writing as Professor of Fiction in UCD.

Mendez is a London-based novelist and critic. Their debut novel, Rainbow Milk, was published in 2020 and shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize. Their essays and reviews have appeared in the London Review of Books, Poetry Foundation, Attitude and the Guardian.

Author and critic James McConnachie, reviews non-fiction for The Sunday Times and edits The Author, the journal of the Society of Authors. His books include The Book of Love, and the Rough Guide to Conspiracy Theories.

Poet Daljit Nagra MBE is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University, Chair of the Royal Society of Literature, Council of Society of Authors, a PBS New Generation Poet and presenter of the weekly Poetry Extra on Radio 4 Extra. Daljit Nagra has published four poetry collections which have won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem and Best First Collection, the South Bank Show Decibel Award and the Cholmondeley Award, and been shortlisted for the Costa Prize and twice for the TS Eliot Prize.

Catriona Ward is an American and British novelist. Her fifth novel, Looking Glass Sound was published in April 2023 and was an immediate USA Today bestseller. She has previously won the International Thriller Writers Association Award, August Derleth Prize (the only woman to have won the prize three times) and Shirley Jackson Award. Her books have been chosen by USA Today, CNN, Apple Books and the Guardian as books of the year.

The panel will decide who will follow last year’s winner of the prize, Tom Benn (Oxblood).

Johanna Thomas-Corr said: “I’m so delighted to have such an exceptionally accomplished and interesting panel of judges, perhaps the strongest we have ever assembled. Anne, Mendez, James, Daljit and Cat bring such a broad range of knowledge and experience to the task that I just know we’re going to uncover some really brilliant new writers – and have a lot of lively discussion too!”

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