The judges for the 2021 Desmond Elliott Prize are Lisa McInerney (chair), Chitra Ramaswamy and Simon Savidge.

Lisa McInerney (Chair)

Lisa McInerney’s work has featured in Winter Papers, The Stinging Fly, Granta, Guardian, Le Monde, The Irish Times, BBC Radio 4 and various anthologies. Her debut novel The Glorious Heresies won the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the 2016 Desmond Elliott Prize. Her second novel, The Blood Miracles, won the 2018 RSL Encore Award.

Website / Twitter

Lisa says:

‘It is a personal delight to chair the judging panel of the Desmond Elliott Prize five years after Iain Pears, Sam Baker and Katy Guest chose The Glorious Heresies as their winner. So we can keep literature in rude health, a writer who finds success should never pull the ladder up after herself, and this is one way for me to hold that ladder for emerging writers, to pass on the welcome and encouragement and assistance I’ve been so lucky to get from my peers. This is why I was so pleased to hear of the inclusion of a programme of support from the National Centre for Writing — what a positive and important expansion to the prize. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Chitra, Simon and I.’

Image (c) Brid O’Donovan

Chitra Ramaswamy

Chitra Ramaswamy is a journalist and author. Her first book, Expecting: The Inner Life of Pregnancy, published by Saraband in April 2016, won the Saltire First Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Polari Prize. She has contributed essays to Antlers of Water, Nasty Women, The Freedom Papers, The Bi:ble, and Message From The Skies. She writes mainly for the Guardian, is the restaurant critic for The Times (Scottish edition), a columnist for the National Trust for Scotland, and broadcasts regularly for BBC Radio Scotland. She lives in Edinburgh with her partner, two young children and rescue dog, and has recently completed her second book.


Simon Savidge

Simon started the book blog Savidge Reads in 2007, he then moved into podcasts with The Readers, before heading to YouTube in 2016 which has become his main focus. Simon has judged the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize, Fiction Uncovered, the Costa Book Awards Debut Novel in 2017, was chair of the Portico Prize 2019 and on the overall Costa Book Award 2020 winner judging panel. He currently project manages The BBC Novels That Shaped Our World Libraries Events Programme UK wide for the charity Libraries Connected, as well as hosting literary events at festivals and bookshops.

Simon has also appeared on the Booker Prize BBC News 24/BBC One live show, has hosted a books section on Radio 5 Live and appeared on BBC Radio 4. He was a presenter on ‘Sky Arts Live from Cheltenham Literature Festival’ in 2019 and returned to Sky Arts last autumn as one of the presenters on ‘Book Club Live’. He is also literary curator for The Good Life Society and will be running reading retreats in Wales and Scotland in 2021/2022.

Twitter / YouTube