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The Judges

Grace Nichols

Grace Nichols was born in Georgetown, Guyana and grew up in a small country village on the coast. A move to the city with her family when she was eight greatly influenced her first novel, Whole of a Morning Sky (1986), a story set in 1960s Guyana amidst the country's struggle for independence. As well as working as a teacher and journalist, she also spent time in remote areas of Guyana as part of a Diploma in Communications at the University of Guyana. This period shaped her writings and sparked her interest in Guyanese folk tales, Amerindian myths and the South American civilisations of the Aztec and Inca. She has lived in the UK since 1977.

Her first poetry collection, I is a Long-Memoried Woman (1983), won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize. The book was subsequently dramatised for radio by the BBC, and adapted for film, winning a gold medal at the International Film and Television Festival New York. Her latest books are Picasso, I Want My Face Back (2009); and I Have Crossed an Ocean: Selected Poems (2010). She also writes books for children, including Come on into My Tropical Garden (1988), and Everybody Got A Gift (2005) which includes new and selected poems. Her two new children's books, Cosmic Disco and Sun Time, Snow Time were released in August 2013.



Simon Barraclough

Simon Barraclough was born and raised in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire but studied literature in Nottingham and Brighton, eventually moving to London in 1997. His poems have been published widely in journals and anthologies and he is a regular contributor to Radio 3 and Radio 4, particularly The Film Programme for which he has been commissioned to write several new pieces. His debut book, Los Alamos Mon Amour was nominated for Best First Collection in the Forward Prize of 2008, going on to publish Bonjour Tetris (2010) and Neptune Blue (2011). He is the editor of Psycho Poetica (Sidekick Books, 2012) and co-author of The Debris Field (Sidekick Books, 2013). He works as a freelance writer in the creative and technical fields and runs occasional school workshops on writing and poetry, and is currently poet in residence at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory in Surrey and working on a book and event entitled Sunspots.