Judges revealed for Laura Kinsella Fellowship and UEA New Forms Award
Kerry Hudson set to chair the Laura Kinsella Fellowship for underrepresented voices

Today we announce the judges for the Laura Kinsella Fellowship and the UEA New Forms Prize which, together with the Desmond Elliott Prize, make up its Early Career Awards portfolio.

Laura Kinsella Fellowship

The Laura Kinsella Fellowship, which was created to support writers experiencing limiting circumstances or whose voices are underrepresented in mainstream literary fiction, will be judged by Kerry Hudson and Eva Verde with NCW Communications Manager Stephanie McKenna. It is awarded to one exceptionally talented early-career writer of literary fiction, who will receive £4,000 and a tailored package of further support including residency opportunities, mentoring and industry insight.

Kerry HudsonKerry Hudson was born in Aberdeen. Her first novel, Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma was the winner of the Scottish First Book Award while also being shortlisted for the Southbank Sky Arts Literature Award, Guardian First Book Award, Green Carnation Prize, Author’s Club First Novel Prize and the Polari First Book Award. Kerry’s second novel, Thirst, won France’s prestigious award for foreign fiction the Prix Femina Étranger and was shortlisted for the European Premio Strega in Italy.

Her latest book and memoir, Lowborn, takes her back to the towns of her childhood as she investigates her own past. It was a Radio 4 Book of the Week, a Guardian and Independent Book of the Year. It was longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and Portico Prize and shortlisted in the National Book Token, Books Are My Bag Reader’s Awards and the Saltire Scottish Non-Fiction Book of the Year. She was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2020.   Website


Eva Verde is a writer from Forest Gate, East London. She is of dual heritage. Identity and class are recurring themes throughout her work as she studies towards an MA in Prose Fiction. Her love song to libraries, I Am Not Your Tituba, forms part of Kit De Waal’s Common People: An Anthology of Working-Class Writers with Unbound and her short story, Purpose, is included in The Reading Agency’s forthcoming anthology, Stories to Make You Smile, for World Book Night 2021.

Eva’s debut novel, Lives Like Mine, is published by Simon and Schuster in June 2021.

Eva lives in Essex with her husband, three daughters and Labrador.

 width=Steph McKenna is Communications Manager at the National Centre for Writing in Norwich UNESCO City of Literature. An MA Literature graduate of the University of East Anglia, she previously held communications roles in the NHS and local government. She is the co-host of NCW’s The Writing Life podcast and pop culture podcast The Thirst, and editor in chief of the SHHHH Guide to Norwich. She is the creator of a Stephen King zine project for writers and illustrators of marginalised genders (women, non-binary folx and trans men).

UEA New Forms Award

The UEA New Forms Award, which champions an innovative and daring new voice in fiction, will be judged by writer Yan Ge, with Professor Henry Sutton of UEA and Simon Jones, who produces the NCW’s The Writing Life podcast. It is awarded to an early-career writer whose work might collaborate with other art forms or in site-specific/site-responsive ways, experiment with forms of performance or print, challenge traditional form, or inhabit a digital space. The winner of the UEA New Forms Award also receives £4,000 and a tailored package of further support to help them advance in their career.

 width=Yan Ge was born in Sichuan, China in 1984. She is a fiction writer in both Chinese and English. Yan’s first short story collection was published in China when she was seventeen. She is the author of thirteen books, including six novels. She has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Maodun Literature Prize (Best Young Writer). She was named by People’s Literature magazine as one of twenty future literature masters in China. Her work has been translated into English, French and German, among other languages. The English translations of her titles include the novels The Chili Bean Paste Clan (Balsetire Press) and Strange Beasts of China (Tilted Axis Press), as well as the novella White Horse (HopeRoad Press) which was shortlisted for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation 2020.

Yan started to write in English in 2016. Since then, her writing has been published in the New York Times, the Irish Times, TLS, the Stinging Fly, Brick and elsewhere. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from UEA where she was the recipient of the UEA International Award 2018/19. Yan lives in Norwich with her husband and son.

Professor Henry Sutton

Henry Sutton is Professor of Creative Writing and Crime Fiction in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing. He is Director of Creative Writing, and the convenor of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction). He has been a member of faculty since January 2012. Previously he was the UEA Creative Writing Fellow in 2008, and Writer-In-Residence at BCLT, UEA Summer School 2009, and an associate tutor.  He is the author of 12 novels – Good Dark Night (Corsair/Little Brown 2019) under the pseudonym Harry Brett, and The Hotel Inspector (Kampa Verlag, 2019) in press – and most recently published Red Hot Front (Corsair/Little, Brown, 2018), also under the pseudonym Harry Brett. He is also the author of My Criminal World (Harvill Secker/Vintage, 2013/2014), and a collection of short stories, Thong Nation (Serpent’s Tail, 2005). He is the co-author of the crime novel, First Frost (Bantam/Corgi, 2011), under the pseudonym James Henry. His work has been published in many languages. His critical work includes the co-edited, with Dr Laura Joyce, Domestic Noir: The New Face of 21st Century Crime Fiction, for Palgrave Macmillan (2018). He was awarded the J. B. Priestley Award in 2004. Kids’ Stuff was the recipient of an Arts Council Writers’ Award in 2002, and was also made into a stage play in Riga, Latvia.

He is the co-founder and a director of Noirwich Crime Writing Festival, run in partnership with the National Centre for Writing, and previously the director of the UEA Literary Festival (Spring).

He has judged numerous literary awards, including the John Lewellyn Rhys Prize and the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. He has been the Literary Editor of Esquire magazine, and the Books Editor of the Daily Mirror. Originally he trained as a journalist.

 width=Simon K Jones is a writer based in Norwich, England. He writes science fiction and fantasy, much of it released in serialised form online. You might have heard him on The Writing Life podcast which he produces for the National Centre for Writing.

His debut novel A Day of Faces was serialised in 2015 and 2016, winning a Watty Award in 2016 and reaching over 179,000 reads online. It’s about youth, revolution and shape-shifting animal people. He completed a 3-year, serialised, weekly run on his follow-up book The Mechanical Crown in 2019 and was selected by Wattpad for their Star programme. In 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, he serialised the YA novel No Adults Allowed, a post-apocalyptic alternative to Lord of the Flies which turned out to be more timely than expected.

Simon’s How to Write Serialised Fiction short guide continues to be read by emerging online writers around the world.


The judges for the 2021 Desmond Elliott Prize – announced earlier in the year – are novelist and former winner Lisa McInerney, journalist and author Chitra Ramaswamy, and book reviewer and broadcaster Simon Savidge.

NCW Chief Executive Chris Gribble said:

‘We’re so pleased that Kerry Hudson will be leading the Laura Kinsella Fellowship and Yan Ge the UEA New Forms Award this year. Kerry has worked with us on a range of projects over recent years and her commitment to supporting writers at the start of their careers – especially writers who are less represented in mainstream publishing – is outstanding. Yan Ge is a brilliantly versatile and talented writer who is published on two continents and has just finished her MFA at UEA and will bring to the team a huge amount of insight and judgement.’

Kerry Hudson said:

‘It’s an honour to judge the Laura Kinsella Fellowship. While awareness about the underrepresentation of certain voices in literature has made leaps and bounds in the last few years there is still much to be done practically. This Fellowship is so needed – not only for what it can do to escalate an underrepresented writer’s practice but for all that these writers have to offer to the literary community.’

Eva Verde added:

‘As an underrepresented writer of mainstream fiction, who has benefitted hugely from a similar project, The Laura Kinsella Fellowship is exactly the sort of prize that would’ve set my emerging writer’s heart aflutter. It is still very fresh in my memory how both mentoring and financial scaffolding are essentials for writers at the beginning of their career, and it gives me great pleasure to be in a supporting role on the other side of things. Not only do I get to witness the birth of lots of fresh writing talent, but judging the prize makes for a very happy full circle, providing an opportunity which I know will be truly transformative for the winner.’

The Laura Kinsella Fellowship 2020 was awarded to Michelle Perkins, who originally trained as a nurse and was the first person in her family to go to university when she studied at Goldsmiths in the 90s. After experiencing some major life challenges, she rediscovered writing as a means to make sense of her difficult family history.

The UEA New Forms Award 2020 was awarded to Taylor Beidler, whose non-traditional storytelling aims to synthesise her work as a playwright, performance artist and creative non-fiction writer.

The winners of the 2021 Early Career Awards (the Desmond Elliott Prize, the Laura Kinsella Fellowship and the UEA New Forms Award) will be announced on 1 July 2021.

Alongside the Early Career Awards, the NCW is providing a series of free materials and resources for early-career writers featuring contributions from authors including Eimear McBride, Inua Ellams, Femi Kayode and Sarah Perry. The Early Career Writers’ Resource Packs are available here.


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