Going behind Closed Doors: Judging Book Prizes

Lisa Appignanesi, Sam Leith, Erica Wagner, Natalie Haynes

05/01/2015 11:00 am
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Book prizes are almost as commonplace as book festivals. Shortlisted authors enjoy exposure and prestige and the winner tops it all with a substantial reward. But how are decisions actually reached? This event brings together literary award judges to disclose the inner secrets of book prize panels. Lisa AppignanesiNatalie HaynesSam Leith and Erica Wagner will be held in check by neuroscientist Daniel Glaser, himself a judge of the 2014 Man Booker prize.

Lisa Appignanesi


Lisa Appignanesi has been a university lecturer in European Studies and was Deputy Director of London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. Her works of non-fiction include Freud’s Women (with John Forrester), a biographical portrait of Simone de Beauvoir, and a history of cabaret. She has edited The Rushdie File and a number of books on contemporary culture, as well as producing various films for television. Lisa Appignanesi lives in London with her two children.

Natalie Haynes

Natalie Haynes is a writer, broadcaster and comedian. She is a regular guest contributor to The Independent and author of The Ancient Guide to Modern Life and a recently-published novel, The Amber Fury.

Sam Leith


Sam Leith is literary editor at the Spectator, a columnist at the Financial Times and Prospect, and his work appears regularly in the Guardian, The Times and the TLS among others. His books include You Talkin' to Me? Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama.

Erica Wagner


Erica Wagner’s latest book is Chief Engineer: Washington Roebling, The Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge (Bloomsbury). Erica was the literary editor of the London Times for seventeen years and is now a contributing writer for the New Statesman and consulting literary editor for Harper’s Bazaar. She is the author of Ariel’s GiftSeizure (Faber & Faber), the short story collection Gravity (Granta) and the editor of First Light (Unbound), a celebration of the work of Alan Garner. She received the Eccles British Library Writer’s Award in 2014, and she is a lecturer in creative writing at Goldsmiths.

Daniel Glaser

Daniel Glaser is a neuroscientist, currently Director of the Science Gallery at King’s College, London. He was previously Head of Engaging Science at the Wellcome Trust and was a 2014 judge of the Man Booker Prize.

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