Belfast Telegraph

Transgender author Juno Dawson joins judging panel for young writers' award

Transgender author Juno Dawson - formerly James Dawson - has joined the judging panel for the 2016 BBC Young Writers' Award.

Raised in West Yorkshire, she is the author of five novels for young adults including Say Her Name and in 2014 she won the Queen Of Teen award, which celebrates teenage fiction.

Dawson will sit alongside fellow newcomer Anthony Anaxagorou, the award-winning poet and playwright.

They join BBC Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine, who returns as a judge for a second year.

The award was created in 2015 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the BBC National Short Story, which in turn aims to promote the best in contemporary British short fiction.

The BBC Young Writers' Award with BookTrust hopes to inspire and encourage the next generation of writers.

The inaugural award was won by Brennig Davies, 15, for his story Skinning, a tale inspired by William Golding's Lord Of The Flies and Brennig's three cats.

The Welsh teen's work was read by Sir Ian McKellen on BBC Radio 1.

Speaking about the launch of the 2016 Award, Levine said she was "honoured" to return as a judge.

"Everyone remembers a book from their childhood that moved them or made them think differently about the world and it's the essence of these stories that we want to capture with the BBC Young Writers' Award," she said.

Di Speirs, BBC Radio 4's editor of books, said: "It is a privilege to be able to champion the great talent and passion of younger writers, and heartening that the short story with all its challenges and complexities, appeals so broadly."

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