The Judges

Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, is to chair the judging panel for this year’s Desmond Elliott Prize, one of the most prestigious awards for debut novelists from the UK and Ireland. Joining Harris on the judging panel are Robert Collins, Deputy Literary Editor of the Sunday Times and Miriam Robinson, Head of Marketing at Foyles.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to judge The Desmond Elliott Prize, seeking out the most exciting new writing talent,” said Harris. “It’s an honour to have been chosen and I’m very much looking forward to reading the longlist and finding the literary stars of the future.”

Harris is the latest in a line of distinguished writers to chair the jury – she is preceded by Penny Vincenzi (2008); Candida Lycett Green (2009); Elizabeth Buchan (2010); Edward Stourton (2011); and Sam Llewellyn (2012). Vincenzi and Llewellyn were both discovered by Elliott.

Chairman of the Trustees, Dallas Manderson, said: “The Desmond Elliott Prize is extremely privileged to have three such experienced and highly regarded individuals helping us identify the next generation of novelists in Britain and Ireland today. I’m sure Desmond would have been delighted.”

A longlist of ten books will be announced on 25th April, and a shortlist of three will be made known on 23rd May. The winner will be revealed at an award ceremony to be held at Fortnum & Mason on 27th June 2013.

About the Judges

Joanne Harris was a teacher for 15 years, during which time she published three novels including Chocolat (1999), which was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. Since then, she has written a further ten novels including Blackberry Wine and Blue Eyed Boy, two collections of short stories as well as two cookbooks with cookery writer Fran Warde. Her work is now published in over 40 countries and has won a number of British and international awards.

Robert Collins is the Deputy Literary Editor of the Sunday Times. He has written for the Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Observer, and is the author of a novel, Soul Corporation.

Miriam Robinson began her bookselling career at Shakespeare & Company in Paris, before crossing the Channel to join Foyles in 2007. There she moved from bookseller to Events Manager to Local Marketing Manager, before becoming Head of Marketing in 2011.