The 2007 award was judged by comedian Jo Brand, author Joanna Trollope, actress Jessica Hynes (nee Stevenson), author Sophie Kinsella and Gaynor Allen, Buying Manager for Books at Tesco. In 2008 the team were joined by actor and comedian Alan Davies. In 2010 the award was judged by Jo Brand, Joanna Trollope, actress and tv presenter Liza Tarbuck, actress Morwenna Banks, and Sophie Kinsella. In 2011 the judges were joined by Andrew Cleaves, Managing Director of National Express Coaches, the sponsors of the 2011 award, and Freya Wright, Book Buyer for Waitrose.
Since leaving her job as a psychiatric nurse in 1987, Jo Brand has become a hugely popular household name. Her ‘Through the Cakehole’ series met with universal acclaim, as did her 1996 series ‘All the Way to Worcester’. She has appeared on many different programmes such as ‘Question Time’, ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’, ‘They Think It’s All Over’, ‘Celebrity Fame Academy’ and ‘What Not to Wear on the Red Carpet’. She has written two irreverent books about leading men and women in history, and two novels. The most recent, IT’S DIFFERENT FOR GIRLS, was published last year.
Joanna is best known as the bestselling author of eagerly awaited and sparklingly readable novels often centred around the domestic dramas of life in contemporary England. Her latest novel, THE SECOND HONEYMOON, was a number one bestseller. She is also the author of a number of historical novels and of Britannia’s Daughters, a study of women in the British Empire. Her books have been translated into over twenty languages and several have been adapted by the BBC and Masterpiece Theatre. Joanna Trollope also writes under the pseudonym of Caroline Harvey.
Jessica Hynes (nee Stevenson)
Jessica co-wrote and co-starred in two series of SPACED on Channel 4. Spaced was nominated as Best Sitcom and Jessica won the Best Female Comedy Newcomer Award at the British Comedy Awards 2000. The 2nd series was nominated at the 2001 International Emmy Awards. She was nominated for Best Actress at the 2003 BAFTA Awards for her performance in TOMORROW LA SCALA. Her performance in THE NIGHT HERON at the Royal Court was nominated for Best Performance in a Supporting Role at the 2003 Olivier Awards. She has just completed filming two episodes of DOCTOR WHO.
Sophie Kinsella raced to the top of the bestseller lists in 2000 when her novel THE SECRET DREAMWORLD OF A SHOPAHOLIC was published. Since then her ‘SHOPHAHOLIC’ novels have sold over two million copies to date. She has also written two stand-alone novels, CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET and THE UNDOMESTIC GODESS, both of which were number one bestsellers, and seven novels under her real name, Madeleine Wickham.
Gaynor Allen has been Buying Manager for Books at Tesco since July 2006. Before that she was Category Manager for Books at Borders for 2 years. Prior to that she held a variety of buying positions at Selfridges and DSG. She has always been an avid reader and especially enjoy women's fiction, crime and biography.