Vona Groarke has published 7 collections of poetry with Gallery Press, the most recent being X (2014) and Selected Poems, reviewed in The Dublin Review of Books as a collection ‘of almost sublime purity’ and awarded the Pigott Prize for the best book of poetry by an Irish poet in 2016. Described in the Irish Times as ‘intriguing… erudite and elegant’, her book-length essay on art-frames, Four Sides Full, was also published in 2016 and was the Book on One on RTE Radio. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The New York Review of Books and The Threepenny Review. A former editor of Poetry Ireland Review and Selector for the Poetry Book Society, she is a Senior Lecturer in poetry at the University of Manchester. She was the 2017 inductee into the Irish Literary Hall of Fame, and has been a member of Aosdána since 2010. (Photograph by Caroline Forbes).

Xiaolu Guo is a Chinese British novelist, essayist and filmmaker. She has published seven novels, short story collections and a memoir with Random House UK/USA. Her novel A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers was translated into 27 languages and was nominated for the Orange Prize for Fiction. UFO In Her Eyes, a study of totalitarianism in a semi-real Chinese village, has been translated into 9 languages and made into an award winning feature film. Her novel Village of Stone was longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Literary Award and shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Prize. Her most recent novel is I Am China, about the artist’s role in a politicized world was longlisted for the Baileys Fiction Prize. Her memoir, Once Upon A Time In The East, was  released in 2017 by Penguin Random House. In 2013 she was named as one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists. She lives in London.  (Photograph by Stephen Barker).

Nicky Harman is co-Chair of the Translators Association (Society of Authors) and translates Chinese literature (and some non-fiction and poetry) into English. Her authors include Chen Xiwo, Han Dong, Hong Ying, Dorothy Tse, Xinran, Yan Geling and Zhang Ling. She mentors new translators, teaches summer schools, and judges translation competitions. She works with others on the literary website Paper Republic (paper-republic.org), writes blogs and runs events to promote Chinese literature in English, in collaboration with the London Free Word Centre, Southbank Centre and the Writing Chinese project (Leeds University). She tweets as @cfbcuk and @NickyHarman_cn. She is based in Weymouth, UK. (Photograph by Julia Schönstädt).

Dr Mpalive-Hangson Msiska is a Reader in English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London, with special interest in Post-colonial and Global Literatures. He has written widely on African and Post-colonial Literatures, including the following books: Post-colonial Identity in Wole Soyinka (2007) and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (2007) (co-authored). He has been a judge for the Caine Prize for African Writing as well as the Brunel University African Poetry Prize. He sits on the Boards of the Royal African Society, The Canon Collins Education and Legal Trust and The British Institute in Eastern Africa.


Courttia Newland is the author of seven works of fiction that include his debut, The Scholar. His latest novel, The Gospel According to Cane, was published in 2013 and has been optioned by Cowboy Films. He was nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, The Frank O’ Conner award, The CWA Dagger in the Library Award, The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and The Theatre 503 Award for playwriting as well as numerous others. His short stories have appeared in many anthologies and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. In 2016 he was awarded the Tayner Barbers Award for science fiction writing and the Roland Rees Busary for playwriting. He is associate lecturer in creative writing at the University of Westminster and is completing a PhD in creative writing. (Photograph Sharmila Chauhan)

J026302Hon. Eugene R. Sullivan, non-voting chair of the judging panel, is a Senior Federal Judge and a former Chief Judge of a US Court of Appeals, brings a wealth of experience from over sixteen years on the bench. His first novel, The Majority Rules, was published in 2005. The second novel of his political thriller trilogy, The Report to the Judiciary, was published in 2008. A Vietnam Veteran and West Pointer, he was inducted into the US Army Ranger Hall of Fame. When not recalled to the Federal Bench, Judge Sullivan is a partner in a Washington law firm.     (Photograph by Jason Clarke)