The Judges


The Judges for this year’s Desmond Elliott Prize are:

  • LOUISE DOUGHTY (Chair) – author of seven novels, including Whatever You Love
  • VIV GROSKOP – writer and comedian
  • JONATHAN RUPPIN – Web Editor for Foyles

Doughty is the latest in a line of celebrated writers to act as chair for the Prize, following Chris Cleave in 2014 and Joanne Harris in 2013. Her own debut, Crazy Paving, was published in 1995 and was shortlisted for four awards. Doughty will be joined by writer and comedian Viv Groskop and Foyles bookseller Jonathan Ruppin to find the debut novel of the year.

Doughty said: “The Desmond Elliott Prize is one of the most important prizes on the UK literary scene and I’m delighted to be chairing the panel for 2015. When I published my first novel, almost exactly 20 years ago, awards for debuts were one of the vital ways in which a new writer could get noticed.

“Since then, review space in newspapers has shrunk, advances have nose-dived and three out of the four prizes my first book was shortlisted for no longer exist. The advent of The Desmond Elliott Prize in 2007 was a welcome reversal to this trend and it has gone from strength to strength ever since.”

Chairman of the Prize Trustees, Dallas Manderson, said: “We are immensely proud to announce our judges for The Desmond Elliott Prize 2015. I know that Desmond would have been thrilled to have three such highly regarded judges. It is with great anticipation that we wait to find out which author they select to join our fine list of winners.”

About the judges

Louise Doughty is the author of seven novels, including Apple Tree Yard and Whatever You Love, the latter of which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. She has won awards for radio drama and short stories, and has also published one work of non-fiction, A Novel in a Year, based on her popular Telegraph column of the same name.

Viv Groskop is a journalist and stand-up comedian and the author of critically-acclaimed memoir I Laughed, I Cried. She is also the Artistic Director of the Bath Literature Festival and Literary Editor of Red Magazine, and regularly contributes to the Guardian, Sky News and Radio 4.

Jonathan Ruppin has worked in the book trade for 20 years, and has been the Web Editor for Foyles since 2009. He is a member of the English PEN Writers in Translation Committee and sits on the editorial committee for literary journal New Books in German. He is regularly asked to comment on the publishing industry in the media and has contributed to the Guardian and The Bookseller.