An evening of literary exploration with the Rathbones Folio Prize Judges: Ali Smith, Jackie Kay and Guy Gunaratne, and their exciting line-up of newly-shortlisted writers.
This is an in-person only event at the British Library.
An evening with the judges of the Rathbones Folio Prize, along with their starry line-up of this year’s shortlisted writers. Having read across poetry, fiction and non-fiction to arrive at this year’s top 15 works of literature, the judges get together with their shortlisted authors to explore the many ways that stories are being told today.
The evening will comprise two discussions with an interval – doors open at 5.30pm for a 6pm start.
Ali Smith (chair of judges) is the author of novels including How to be both, Artful, There but for the, The Accidental, Hotel World, the Seasonal Quartet series and Companion Piece. Hotel World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize. The Accidental was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize. How to be both won the Bailey’s Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Costa Novel of the Year Award. Autumn was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017 and Winter was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2018.
Jackie Kay (judge) was born in Edinburgh. She was the third modern Makar, the Scottish poet laureate, from 2016 to 2021. Her first novel, Trumpet, won the Authors’ Club First Novel Award and the Guardian Fiction Prize. She is also the author of three collections, Why Don’t You Stop Talking, Wish I Was Here, and Reality, Reality; two poetry collections, Fiere and Bantam; a play, The Lamplighter; and her multi-award-winning memoir, Red Dust Road. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University and divides her time between Glasgow and Manchester.
Guy Gunaratne (judge) is a novelist whose first novel In Our Mad and Furious City won the International Dylan Thomas Prize, the Jhalak Prize and Authors' Club Award. It was also shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize and longlisted for the Booker Prize. Guy was appointed the Fellow Commoner in the Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge (2019–2022). They have also served on various literary prize judging panels including the Goldsmiths Prize (2019) and the Republic of Consciousness Prize (2021). Their second novel Mister, Mister will be published 2023.
Daisy Hildyard’s essay The Second Body was published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2017. Her debut novel, Hunters in the Snow, came out with Jonathan Cape in 2013 and received the Somerset Maugham Award and a ‘5 under 35’ honorarium at the USA National Book Awards. She lives in York with her family.
Fiona Benson lives in Devon with her husband and their two daughters. She has published two previous collections which were both shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize: Bright Travellers, which won the 2015 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and Vertigo & Ghost, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Rathbones Folio Prize.
Darren McGarvey, aka LOKI, grew up in Pollok. He is a writer, performer and former rapper-in residence at Police Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit. He was part of the Poverty Truth Commission hosted in Glasgow, and has presented BBC Scotland programmes exploring the root causes of social deprivation. His bestselling and acclaimed first book Poverty Safari was awarded the Orwell Prize.
Victoria Adukwei Bulley is a poet, writer and artist. An alumna of the Barbican Young Poets, she is the recipient of an Eric Gregory Award, and has held residence in the US, Brazil, and the V&A Museum in London. She is currently a doctoral student at Royal Holloway, University of London, supported by Techne award for practice-based research in Creative Writing.
Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa is a British-born Barbadian-raised poet, dancer and choreographer, and a PhD student at the University of Leeds. She is an Obsidian Foundation fellow and an Apples & Snakes/ Jerwood Arts Poetry in Performance recipient. Her work has appeared in journals including Poetry London, Poetry Review, Caribbean Writer and Wasafiri.
Jonathan Freedland is a Guardian columnist and former foreign correspondent. He was named Columnist of the Year in 2002, Commentator of the Year in 2016 and won an Orwell Prize for Journalism in 2014. He has written nine thrillers under the name Sam Bourne, including The Righteous Men which was a #1 Sunday Times bestseller.
Will Ashon is the author of two novels and two works of non-fiction, Strange Labyrinth and Chamber Music: About the Wu-Tang (in 36 Pieces). Ashon founded the record label Big Dada Recordings, which he ran for over 15 years. He lives in London.
Zaffar Kunial lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, and was born in Birmingham. His debut collection, US, was shortlisted for a number of prizes. He was a 2022 recipient of the Yale University Windham-Campbell Prize. England’s Green is his second book.
Yomi Sode is an award-winning Nigerian British writer. He is a recipient of the 2019 Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship and was shortlisted for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize 2021. Yomi is a Complete Works alumnus and a member of Malika's Poetry Kitchen. He is the founder of BoxedIn, First Five, The Daddy Diaries and mentorship programme 12 in 12.
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