The panels have been announced for the 2019 Costa Book Awards and Costa Short Story Award. See below for more details.

2019 Costa Book Awards: Category Judging Panels

Costa Book Awards logo Each of the five award categories is judged by a panel of three judges.

The Costa Book of the Year is selected by a final judging panel made up of a Chairman, a judge from each category panel and three other well-known people in the public eye who love reading.

The 2019 final judging panel will be announced in December, so watch this space!

  1. First Novel Award

  2. Novel Award

  3. Biography Award

  4. Poetry Award

  5. Children's Book Award

  6. Short Story Award

First Novel

The judges for the 2019 Costa First Novel Award are:

Photograph of author Clare Mackintosh

Clare Mackintosh


Clare is the multi-award-winning author of I Let You Go, the fastest-selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. All four of her novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers and three have been selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club. Together, Clare’s books have been published in more than 40 countries and sold more than two million copies worldwide.

Photograph of bookseller Will Smith

Will Smith

Bookseller, Sam Read Bookseller, Grasmere

Will has been working at Sam Read Bookseller for six years, but he’s been in the business since 2001. He has a PhD in Canadian Literature and is currently a Teaching Associate at the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication. He writes book reviews for Cumbria Life magazine.

Photograph of writer Mahsuda Snaith

Mahsuda Snaith


Mahsuda is the winner of the SI Leeds Literary Prize and Bristol Short Story Prize. Her debut novel, The Things We Thought We Knew, was a World Book Night Book 2019 and her second novel, How to Find Home, was chosen as a BBC Radio 4 'Book at Bedtime'. She was named an Observer New Face of Fiction in 2017.


The judges for the 2019 Costa Novel Award are:

Photograph of novelist John Boyne

John Boyne


John Boyne is the author of 11 novels for adults, six for young readers and a collection of short stories, including the international bestsellers The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The Heart’s Invisible Furies and A Ladder to the Sky. His books are published in over 50 languages.

Photograph of Contributing Books Editor and Stylist Francesca Brown

Francesca Brown

Contributing Books Editor, Stylist

Francesca is Stylist's Contributing Books Editor, working across the weekly magazine and web. Her role means she's interviewed some of contemporary fiction's greatest names including Marian Keyes, Eimear McBride, Marlon James, Yaa Gyasi, Nina Stibbe and Philip Pullman while reading A LOT of books.

Photograph of Trading Controller (e-commerce) at WHSmith Sarah Turner

Sarah Turner

Trading Controller (e-commerce), WHSmith

Sarah’s love of bookselling began with a Saturday job aged 15 in her local independent bookshop in Rutland. A varied career in retail brought her to WHSmith in 2005 and she’s headed up the eCommerce Trading function for the past 10 years.


The judges for the 2019 Costa Biography Award are:

Photograph of Historian, Author and Broadcaster Professor Suzannah Lipscomb

Professor Suzannah Lipscomb

Historian, Author and Broadcaster

Professor Suzannah Lipscomb is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster. Professor of History at the University of Roehampton and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, she holds a MA, MSt, and DPhil from Lincoln and Balliol Colleges, Oxford. She’s written five books and presented 13 TV history documentary series.

Photograph of Deputy Books Editor of The Times James Marriott

James Marriott

Deputy Books Editor, The Times

James Marriott is the Deputy Books Editor of The Times where he also writes occasional opinion columns and features.

Photograph of Audience Development Manager for Waterstones Will Rycroft

Will Rycroft

Audience Development Manager, Waterstones

Will is Audience Development Manager at Waterstones where he looks after social media channels, creates digital content, interviews authors and produces and hosts The Waterstones Podcast. He’s also the author of All Quiet on the West End Front - a memoir about his life as an actor and the 4.5 years he spent in War Horse.


The judges for the 2019 Costa Poetry Award are:

Photograph of Writer Kate Clanchy

Kate Clanchy


Kate is a teacher and writer of works including England, Poems from a School, an anthology of her migrant students' poems and Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me, a memoir of 30 years in schools. She’s won a Forward Prize for her poetry and the BBC Short Story Prize for her fiction.

Photograph of Poet, songwriter and critic Jade Cuttle

Jade Cuttle

Poet, songwriter and critic

Jade graduated from Cambridge with First-Class Honours before completing an MA in Creative Writing at UEA. She works at The Poetry Society and is Deputy Poetry Editor at Ambit. As poet and plant-whisperer, she’s written for Radio 3, the Proms and its Contains Strong Language Festival, whilst her prose has been selected for various prizes and awards. An album of her poem-songs will be released this year.

Photograph of Co-founder & CEO, Second Home Rohan Silva

Rohan Silva

Co-founder & CEO, Second Home

A former senior policy advisor to David Cameron and special adviser to George Osborne, Rohan is credited as the brains behind the Tech City project. Some of the most progressive pieces of government policy in recent years bear his imprint. Rohan is now a successful entrepreneur and co-founder of Second Home.

Children's Book

The judges for the 2019 Children's Book Award are:

Photograph of Children’s Editor, The Bookseller Charlotte Eyre

Charlotte Eyre

Children’s Editor, The Bookseller

Charlotte Eyre is Children’s Editor at The Bookseller magazine, where she covers the children’s and YA book market, interviewing a wide variety of authors and industry figures. She programmes the annual Bookseller Children’s Conference and launched the YA Book Prize. She’s a regular on BBC Radio 4 and has written for national publications.

Photograph of Writer Bali Rai

Bali Rai


Bali is the multi-award-winning author of over forty YA, teen and children's books. A passionate advocate for reading and literacy, he has worked with the Agency’s Reading Ahead project, the BBC’s Love to Read campaign, and the National Literacy Trust, Booktrust, RNIB and British Library.

Photograph of Children’s Buyer and Deputy Manager, West End Lane Books Danny van Emden

Danny van Emden

Children’s Buyer and Deputy Manager, West End Lane Books

Danny is Children’s Buyer and Deputy Manager at West End Lane Books. She began her career as a journalist before moving into marketing in the music industry where she spent 15 years. She moved into bookselling after being made redundant, and describes the move as a ‘gloriously happy accident’.

Costa Short Story Award

The judges for the 2019 Costa Short Story Award are:

Sarah Franklin

Author, Founder of Short Stories Aloud & Senior Lecturer in Publishing at Oxford Brookes University

Sarah Franklin is founder and host of Oxford literary night Short Stories Aloud and a Senior Lecturer in Publishing at Oxford Brookes University. She is the author of two novels: Shelter and How to Belong and has written for The Guardian, The Irish Times, Psychologies and the Sunday Express.

Joe Haddow

Radio Producer / Podcast Host

Joe is a radio producer, literary event chair and podcaster. A regular at Harrogate, Edinburgh and Bath literary festivals, he’s a keen supporter of libraries and reading initiatives through his work with The Reading Agency and Book Aid. Host of the Book Off and Booker Prize podcasts, he also runs the Radio 2 Book Club.

Adele Parks


Adele has published 19 novels in 19 years, all of which were Times Top Ten bestsellers. Her latest domestic thriller, Lies Lies Lies is a number 1 bestseller. She’s sold over three and a half million copies of her work in the UK alone and is also translated into 26 different languages. Adele is a Patron of The National Literacy Trust and Guildford Book Festival.

Simon Trewin


Simon has been a literary agent for 25 years and has launched the careers of a generation of debut authors who have gone on to be published in over 50 languages and shortlisted for a host of prizes. A passionate nurturer of new writing talent, he is also Employee No.1 of The Garage Press - a letterpress studio in Brixton.

Kit de Waal


Kit de Waal writes about forgotten and overlooked places where the best stories are found. She is a former Costa Short Story Award finalist and the author of My Name Is Leon and The Trick to Time. Her first YA novel, Becoming Dinah, was published earlier this year.


Click here for full Costa Book Awards terms and click here for full Costa Short Story Award terms.