Judging panel announced for 2018 awards

Acclaimed judging panel announced for 2018 Young Muslim Writers Awards


The judging panel comprised of 31 award-winning poets, writers, and journalists have been announced for the 8th annual Young Muslim Writers Awards competition.


The panel of judges have been tasked with selecting nine winners for this year’s writing competition organised by UK charity Muslim Hands, in association with the Institute of English Studies at the School of Advanced Study (University of London). Thousands of children have submitted their writing over the competition’s eight-year history, with forty-five submissions shortlisted from this year’s entrants.


Since 2010 Muslim Hands has encouraged and nurtured the writing talents of thousands of children through creative writing workshops and the annual competition. Winners from this year’s competition will be announced on Saturday 1st December at the iconic Senate House (London) across the Short Story, Poetry, and Journalism categories.


Tim Robertson, who assessed the 14-16 poetry category noted,

“It is deeply heartening to know that the future will have such brave and articulate voices to speak up for beauty, truth and goodness that belong to all human beings.”


Tamara Macfarlane, author and owner of children’s bookshop Tales of Moon Lane added,

“I think that all of the writers have exceptional writing careers ahead of them and I can’t wait to be putting their books onto the shelves of my bookshops. I think that they will leap off into the hands of very lucky readers.”


The Young Muslim Writers Awards is one of Muslim Hands’ UK projects, an international NGO and relief organization which specialises in the delivery of education, livelihood programmes, and support for orphans in developing countries. Selected winners from this year’s competition will receive the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit one of Muslim Hands’ international schools.


The awards will be broadcast by the Young Muslim Writers Awards’ official media partner, Islam Channel.


Young Muslim Writers Awards Judging Panel 2018


Ahmed J Versi – Editor, The Muslim News

Aimée Felone – Co-Founder, Knights Of

Aina Khan – Journalist, writer, and playwright

Allie Esiri – award-winning poet, and editor of best-selling anthology A Poem for Every Night of the Year

Anna Perera – author of Guantanamo Boy (shortlisted for Costa Children’s Book Award), and The Glass Collector (nominee for the Carnegie Medal)

Annum Salman – spoken word poet

Ayisha Malik – author of Sofia Khan is Not Obliged (WHSmith Fresh Talent Pick 2016) and others, ghost writer for Nadiya Hussain

Clare Currie – Poet Laureate for the City of Peterborough

David Stevens – Co-Founder, Knights Of

Dawn Finch – children’s author, librarian, and Trustee of CILIP

Dr Tommy Evans – spoken word artist, actor, screenwriter, director

Hafsah Aneela Bashir – writer, performance poet, and playwright

Hena Khan – author of Amina’s Voice (a Best Book of 2017 by the Washington Post, amongst other children’s books

Henna Zarmud-Butt – Editor and CEO of Media Diversified, Director of Bare Lit Festival, an doctoral candidate of Goldsmith’s College

Irfan Master – children’s author (A Beautiful Lie – shortlisted for Waterstones Chidlren’s Book Prize 2011, Out of Heart – longlisted for CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018), short stories, and radio play

Jazzmine Breary – Digital, Sales & PR Manager at Jacaranda Books

John Dougherty – award-winning author of over 25 children’s books, former chair of Society of Authors’ Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group

Jonathan Ruppin – Founder, The Ruppin Agency

Kate Wakeling – poet for children – Moon Juice (2017 CliPPA winner), poetry for adults published in The Forward Book of Poetry 2016, and others

Molly Rosenberg – Director, The Royal Society of Literature

Nikesh Shukla – author of Coconut Unlimited, Meat Space, The One Who Wrote Destiny, and YA novel RUN, RIOT (YA shortlist for National Book Awards 2018), editor of The Good Immigrant (UK), and screenwriter

Raifa Rafiq – co-Founder of Mostly Lit podcast

Roopa Farooki – author of six critically acclaimed novels (The Good Children, The Flying Man, Half Life, The Way Things Look to Me, Corner Shop, and Bitter Sweets

Saadia Faruqi – writer, interfaith activist, and cultural sensitivity trainer. Author of short story collection Brick Walls: Tales of Hope & Courage from Pakistan, co-author of middle grade novel A Place at the Table, and others

SF Said – award-winning author of Varjak Paw (winner of Smarties Prize for Children’s Literature), The Outlaw Varjak Paw (winner of Blue Peter Book of the Year award), and Phoenix (shortlisted for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award)

Shemiza Rashid – multi-award winning interfaith art practitioner, producer, broadcaster, sixth form teacher, and media consultant

Shweta Aggarwal – children’s author of Dev and Ollie series, winner of 2016 Asian Women of Achievement – Arts and Culture award

Sue Hardy Dawson – poet and illustrator – first solo collection ‘Where Zebras Go’ (shortlisted for the 2018 CLiPPA prize)

Sufiya Ahmed – award-winning children’s author (Secrets of the Henna Girl), contributor to forthcoming It’s Not About the Burqa

Sumayya Lee – author of The Story of Maha (shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book – Africa), and Maha, Ever After

Tamara Macfarlane – owner of children’s bookshop Tales on Moon Lane, author of the Amazing Esme series, and co-author of Dylan’s Amazing Dinosaurs series

Tim Robertson – Chief Executive of The Anne Frank Trust UK, former Director of The Royal Society of Literature, former Chief Executive of The Koestler Trust

Will Harris – writer, an editor at The Rialto, fellow of The Complete Works III, author of the chapbook of poems, All this is implied, joint winner of the LRB Bookshop pick for pamphlet of the year 2017