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Industry Insider – Meet the Judges (Somerset Maugham Awards)

25 May @ 17:00 - 18:00 BST

Virtual Event

What is involved in judging one of the oldest SoA literary prizes? What do the judges look for? And how have things changed for the judges during lockdown?

The Somerset Maugham Awards have been running for over 70 years and are awarded to outstanding young authors of fiction, non-fiction and poetry – part of the Society of Authors’ Awards. Join us to find out more about these awards and learn more about the pros and cons of being a prize judge.

Fred D’Aguiar and Roseanne Watt will be in conversation with Robyn Law, our Prizes and Awards Manager. Read the SoA Awards 2021 shortlist announcement here. This year’s SoA Award winners will be announced online on Wednesday 9 June 2021. Find out more

This event is part of SoA Awards @ Home – ongoing virtual celebrations for this year’s Society of Authors’ Awards. The event will take place online via Zoom Webinar and a link will be sent to registered attendees.


  • Welcome and introductions by Robyn Law

  • Panel discussion with Fred D’Aguiar and Roseanne Watt

  • Readings from Fred D’Aguiar and Roseanne Watt

  • Q&A with the audience

  • Summary and closing comments from Robyn Law

Send us your questions in advance

If you would like to send questions in advance, email Robyn Law with ‘Meet the Judges’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and try to answer as many as we can on the day.

SoA Awards @ Home Fundraising Bookshop

Browse our virtual Bookshop.org and Blackwell’s stores featuring books by authors and speakers taking part in the SoA Awards @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate link a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.

The line-up

Fred D’Aguiar – Poet and judge (Somerset Maugham Awards)

Fred D’Aguiar was born in London and raised in Guyana. His eighth and most recent poetry collection Letters to America (Carcanet, 2020) is a Poetry Book Society Choice for Winter 2020. He is Professor of English at University of California, Los Angeles.

Twitter: @freddaguiar

Roseanne Watt – Poet and judge (Somerset Maugham Awards)

Roseanne Watt is a poet, filmmaker and musician from Shetland. She is currently poetry editor for The Island Review and was the winner of the 2015 Outspoken Poetry Prize (Poetry in Film), runner-up in the 2018 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, and winner of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2018. She lives and works in Edinburgh.

Website: www.roseannewatt.com | Twitter: @shaetlan_rose

Robyn Law – Prizes and Awards Manager

Robyn Law runs the administration of all the SoA prizes and awards, including the Translation Prizes, and the Authors’ Foundation grants. In 2019 she was named a Rising Star by The Bookseller.

Twitter: @robynlaw

Thank you to the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) for supporting the SoA Awards

The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) is a not-for-profit organisation started by writers for the benefit of all types of writers. Owned by its members, ALCS collects money due for secondary uses of writers’ work. It is designed to support authors and their creativity, ensure they receive fair payment and see their rights are respected. It promotes and teaches the principles of copyright and campaigns for a fair deal. It represents over 100,000 members, and since 1977 has paid around £500 million to writers (alcs.co.uk).


Book your place using the registration form below.

All SoA @ Home industry insider events are free but, if you can afford it, we recommend a minimum £5 donation to the Authors’ Contingency Fund to help us support authors facing financial hardship during the health crisis. DONATE HERE


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Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.


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20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
  • Unlimited one-to-one professional advice
  • Membership of our online and real-world professional networks
  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.




25 May
17:00 - 18:00 BST
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Sophia A Jackson