We have 8 confirmed judges and 4 young judges for Voices 2024. Find out a little more about each judge below.
Chris Wild is an author, care home consultant, government advisor, national youth advisor for young people and charity patron. He is a passionate and advocate campaigner, whose first book “Damaged”, tells the story of his life and those of other young children in care he met along the way. His second book, “The State Of It”, is a rallying call for change as he exposes the continuing failure of young people in care. Find his powerful and important books online now, available in physical and digital formats. Read more about Chris here.
Emma Norry writes fiction and non-fiction for children. She is the author of historical fiction Son of the Circus (Scholastic, 2019), The Place for Me: Stories from the Windrush (Scholastic, 2020) and My Story: Mary Prince (Scholastic August 2022). Contemporary adventure Amber Undercover, (OUP, 2021) is a fun action-adventure spy story for 10+. Emma also has short stories in: Happy Here (Knights Of, 2021) and The Very Merry Murder Club (Farshore, 2021). Her non-fiction includes biographies of Lionel Messi (Scholastic, 2020), and Nelson Mandela (Puffin, 2020) as well as collaborations with Black in Time (with Alison Hamond, Puffin 2022) and Where Are You Really From? with Adam Rutherford (Wren and Rook, 2023). Fablehouse, a magical adventure, is her most recent series (8 June, Bloomsbury). Heart of Fire (bk 2) is due April 2024. She can be found on social media here or contacted for school visits and talks through her website here.
Patrice Lawrence was born in Brighton and brought up in an Italian and Trinidadian household. Her first book for young adults, Orangeboy, was shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award and won the Bookseller YA Prize and Waterstone’s Prize for Older Children’s Fiction. Indigo Donut, her second book for teenagers, won the Crimefest YA Prize. Both books have been nominated for the Carnegie Medal. Patrice worked for more than 20 years for charities supporting equality and social justice. These themes (along with a serious amount of music) inform her stories. Patrice still lives in Brighton. Read more about Patrice here.
Rebekah Pierre is a care-experienced social worker and author, and activist who currently works for the British Association of Social Workers. She has written extensively about the care system, featuring in The Guardian, The Independent, Radio 4, Routledge & others. Rebekah’s lived experience is central to her campaign work; her recent peer-reviewed journal, ‘Revisiting Diary Entries from Care: An Exposition of the Challenges of Unregulated Placement Settings’ is the first known auto-ethnographic paper featuring childhood diary extracts written in the care of the state. She is the editor of ‘Free Loaves on Fridays’, an anthology of the care system which amplifies the voices of care-experienced individuals. read an article written by Rebekah here.
You can read Rebekah’s top tips to make your entry stand out too.
Callen Martin graduated in 2019 from Bath Spa University’s MA in Writing for Young People, becoming the first care leaver in the history of East Sussex to study at post-graduate level. Alongside his work for TGLA, Callen reads for publishing houses that specialise in Children’s and YA fiction and is a Manuscript Assessor for Faber Academy. His long-term goal is to become a literary agent, known for always having ice cream on standby, ready to celebrate his authors’ successes. When not working, he spends his spare time writing Middle Grade and YA fiction. Read more about Callen here.
Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood running wild across the moors, hiding in tree houses and building dens in the woods. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as an English teacher in Tanzania, Berkshire and London. She is the bestselling and multi-award shortlisted author of Saving Neverland, The Unmapped Chronicles (Everdark, Rumblestar, Jungledrop, The Crackledawn Dragon), Sky Song, The Dreamsnatcher trilogy and, for younger readers, The Snow Dragon and The Frost Goblin. When she’s not writing Abi volunteers for Beanstalk, speaks in schools and travels the world looking for her next story. Her latest adventures include living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia and dog-sledding across the Arctic. Find out more on her website or on X here.
Watch Abi sharing her top tips for writing.
Deborah Maclaren is the Chief Executive of LoveReading and LoveReading4Kids and she has been steering the ship since 2018. Her involvement in the LoveReading portfolio, brings together her media background, passion for books, her love of literacy, marketing knowledge and her commercial acumen and has led the LoveReading brand into a new world, filled with brilliantly bookish content and the launch of an online bookstore with social purpose. Their mission to share book love and to get more people reading is a daily reality. With her school governor hat on she understands the importance of reading for pleasure and LoveReading4Kids supports parents, carers and schools across the UK to engender a love of reading in their children. Buy a Book. Support a School. Make a Difference. Because books change lives. If you buy a book on LoveReading or LoveReading4Kids you can donate 25% of the cover price to a school close to your heart, or to a school in need. Plus LoveReading4Kids provides schools with much-needed funding through their Funding for Schools Scheme. Deborah is an avid reader, and if you’ve ever met her, you’ll know she ADORES sharing book love. Read more about Deborah here.
Jordan Morgan is the Director of Programmes at Forward Thinking, a London based conflict resolution NGO. He has related expertise in frontline mediation, negotiation, and the facilitation of national political and community dialogue processes. He has over eight years of experience working at the highest political and diplomatic levels in the US, Europe, the Gulf, Middle East and North Africa, the EU and the UN.
He is also the Manager of the Helsinki Policy Forum. This convenes and facilitates regular diplomatic dialogue at a broader regional level. He brings together official representatives and experts from the Gulf-MENA region and Europe to enable participants to identify shared challenges and opportunities, to work towards better understanding, and to develop practical initiatives to address common problems.