2014 Judges

Poetry Judge: Liz Lochhead

image by Norman McBeath

Scottish poet and playwright Liz Lochhead was born in 1947, in Motherwell, Lanarkshire. She studied at the Glasgow School of Art and taught art at schools in Glasgow and Bristol. She was Writer in Residence at Edinburgh University (1986-7) and Writer in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1988. Her first collection of poems, Memo for Spring, was published in 1972 and won a Scottish Arts Council Book Award. Her poetry has been published in a number of collections including Penguin Modern Poets 4 (1995). 

A performer as well as a poet, her revue Sugar and Spite was staged in 1978 with Marcella Evaristi. Liz Lochhead travelled to Canada in the same year, after being selected for a Scottish Writers Exchange Fellowship, and she became a full-time writer, performance poet and broadcaster.

Her plays include Blood and Ice (1982), first performed at the Edinburgh Traverse in 1982; Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off (1989), first performed by Communicado Theatre Company at the 1987 Edinburgh festival;Dracula (1989); Cuba (1997), a play for young people commissioned by the Royal National Theatre for the BT National Connections Scheme; and Perfect Days (1998), a romantic comedy, first performed at the Edinburgh festival in 1998. 

She translated and adapted Molière's Tartuffe (1985) into Scots, premiered at the Edinburgh Royal Lyceum in 1987, and the script of her adaptation of Euripides' Medea (2000) for Theatre Babel in 2000 won the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award. In her play Misery Guts (2002), based on Molière's The Misanthrope, the action is updated to the modern-day Scottish Parliament. Her work for television includes Latin for a Dark Room, a short film, screened as part of the BBC Tartan Shorts season at the 1994 Edinburgh International Film Festival, and The Story of Frankenstein for Yorkshire Television. Her collection of poetry, The Colour of Black and White: Poems 1984-2003, was published in 2003 and a romantic comedy for the stage, Good Things, in 2006.

Liz Lochhead lives in Glasgow. She was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Edinburgh in 2000. In 2005, she was made Poet Laureate of Glasgow, and in 2011, became Scots Makar. Her latest book is A Choosing: The Selected Poetry of Liz Lochhead, published in 2011. (From the British Council Literature website)


Short Story Judge: Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller is the author of seven novels, from Ingenious Pain in 1997 (winner of the International IMPAC award) to Pure in 2011 (winner of the Costa book of the year award). He has lived and worked in several countries and his books are published across the world from China to Brazil. He is a graduate of University of East Anglia and has a PhD in writing from Lancaster University. He has taught on creative writing MA courses and on a number of Guardian master classes. He lives in rural South Somerset.  

Andrew will be looking for work that sings; that prizes ambition over conventional notions of neatness, that probes the limits of the form. 


Flash Fiction Judge: Tania Hershman

Tania HershmanTania Hershman is the author of two story collections: My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions (Tangent Books, 2012), a collection of 56 very short fictions, and The White Road and Other Stories (Salt, 2008; commended, 2009 Orange Award for New Writers). Tania's flash fictions, short stories and poetry have been published in, among others, Five Dials, Stinging Fly, Tears in the Fence, PANK magazine, Smokelong Quarterly, the London Magazine, and New Scientist, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4. Tania is currently working on a PhD in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University looking at the intersection of fiction and physics. Tania is also founding editor of The Short Review, the online journal spotlighting short story collections and their authors. Tania teaches regularly for the Arvon Foundation and gives workshops on short stories, flash fiction and science-inspired fiction. www.taniahershman.com

What I look for in winning flash fiction:

Grab me immediately, grab me by the collar, by the throat, by the guts, and don't let me go. You don't need fireworks, bells, whistles; you don't need a large cast of characters, but tell me a story that can only be told in 250 words, not something longer that has been cut, compressed or squeezed. A story that was born to be flash fiction. Surprise and delight me.