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Chair of Judges 2011
Giles Foden was born in 1967 and spent his youth in Africa. Between 1990 and 2006 he worked as an editor on the Times Literary Supplement and The Guardian. His first novel, the acclaimed The Last King of Scotland (1998), is set during Idi Amin’s rule of Uganda in the 1970s and won the Whitbread First Novel Award, a Somerset Maugham Award and a Betty Trask Award. He is also the author of Ladysmith (1999), Zanzibar (2002), Mimi and Toutou Go Forth: The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika, (2004) and Turbulence (2009). In 2007 he was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.
Damian Barr, 32, is a writer, journalist, playwright and salonniere. He has written for The Times, The Telegraph, Guardian, Independent and Harpers. He has co-written two plays for BBC Radio 4 and is currently co-writing a third. He has been short listed for a prestigious British Press Award and, most recently, for an Arts&Business Award for his Reader-in-Residence project at the Andaz Hotel. He hosts a regularly Literary Salon for Soho and Shoreditch Houses where guests have included David Mitchell, Diana Athill and Bret Easton Ellis. He is also part of the faculty of the School of Life.
Simon Burke is Fiction Buying Manager for Waterstone’s. After graduating with a degree in English he joined Ottakar’s bookshop in Tunbridge Wells, and since then has enjoyed a career in bookselling spanning 16 years. He moved up through the ranks at Ottakar’s branches in Tunbridge Wells, Barrow-In-Furness and Bury St Edmunds, moving to Ottakar’s Head Office until the merger with Waterstone’s when he was appointed to his current role. He describes his reading tastes as ‘eclectic’, and says no novel has moved him more in recent times than The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
Sarah Crown has been Editor of guardian.co.uk/books for over five years. She is regular guest on the Guardian Books podcast, interviewing novelists such as Amos Oz, Hilary Mantel, Tom McCarthy and A L Kennedy. She profiles authors regularly for the Guardian and reviews fiction and poetry regularly for the Guardian and Poetry Review, was on the judging panel of the Forward Prizes in 2009 and is a trustee of Poetry London.