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Jo Unwin

‘I’m thrilled to be judging this prize, and am excited to read new authors from all over the North of England. Whether it’s urban or rural, domestic or fantastical, whether it’s set in Bradford, Bosnia or a planet I can’t even begin to imagine, I’m looking forward to seeing what comes our way.’

Jo Unwin has worked in publishing for ten years, having made a radical career change in her mid 40s. Jo set up her own agency, JULA Ltd, in 2013. Based at Somerset House in London she now represents around forty published (or soon-to-be-published) authors. Her list includes authors of children’s fiction and Young Adult fiction as well as literary fiction, commercial women’s fiction, comic writing and narrative non-fiction. Her children’s authors range from Nadia Shireen (Booktrust’s 2018 Author in Residence) to Waterstones Children’s book prize shortlistees Alice Broadway and Sarah Moore Fitzgerald (both shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s book prize), from Hayley Scott (author of the successful 2018 Teacup House series) to recent Northern Writers’ Award winner Mark Illis.

Jo doesn’t like to define exactly what she’s looking for, as you just don’t know what’s round the corner. In the last year alone she has had two authors longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, two longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Award, one shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize, one for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, one for the Costa First Novel, a winner of the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award, as well as several Sunday Times bestsellers.

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