Judges: 2017

Heather McDaid and Laura Jones – Publishers for 404 Ink

Heather McDaid and Laura Jones are the founders of 404 Ink, the alternative independent publisher of books and magazines. They’ve published books including Nasty Women, the essay collection on being a woman in the 21st century that Margaret Atwood described as ‘an essential window into many of the hazard-strewn worlds younger women are living in right now’.

Heather is a freelance writer and publishing person, working with music magazines, including Upset, The List, DIY and Rock Sound. She also works across the book world handling marketing and coding, and is coordinator of virtual book festival #ScotLitFest.

Laura is a freelancer in book production and promotion. She’s currently working as Bloody Scotland’s social media manager and coordinator of virtual book festival #ScotLitFest, with numerous clients across publishing, and previously worked as Editorial and Marketing Assistant for Saraband.

Kainde Manji – Co-chair for Zero Tolerance

Kainde is the co-chair for Zero Tolerance, alongside Natalie Masterson. She is an academic and activist based in Stirling. She recently completed her PhD on the impacts of the Coalition Government’s (2010-2015) welfare reform program on disabled people living in Scotland. She now works at the University of Stirling as a research fellow on a participatory research project looking at the relationship between people living with dementia and their neighborhoods. She has previously worked as Women’s Officer for NUS Scotland, and for Close the Gap.

Lesley McDowell – Author and critic

Lesley McDowell is an author and critic living in Scotland. She earned a PhD for work on James Joyce and feminist theory before turning to literary journalism. She reviews regularly for The Herald and is the author of Between the Sheets: The Literary Liaisons of Nine 20th Century Women Writers (Overlook, 2010), The Picnic (Black and White, 2007) and Unfashioned Creatures (Saraband, 2013).

Mariem Omari – Activist, playwright and performer

Mariem is an activist, playwright and performer. She worked across the Middle East for five years with some of the most vulnerable women in the region – refugees and survivors of violence. She has since committed to promoting the stories of women to strengthen the voice for women’s rights and equality. Continuing her journey in the ‘healing power of story’, Mariem delivered storytelling and self-care workshops in her role as End Violence Against Women Coordinator for Amina – MWRC. Her first play, If I Had a Girl… opened in Glasgow in April 2016 to sell-out audiences, and toured Scotland in March 2017. She was one of the National Theatre of Scotland’s Starter for 10 Artists, selected to develop her new play, One Mississippi, which was part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival in 2017. She is Co-Artistic Director of Bijli, Company in Residence at the National Theatre of Scotland.

Marsha Scott – CEO for Scottish Women’s Aid

Dr. Marsha Scott is a feminist activist, researcher and practitioner and has advocated, volunteered, researched, and worked in the violence against women sector in the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe for 30 years. She has been CEO at Scottish Women’s Aid since 2015.

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