#MOLP Judges 2016

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Simon Wallace

Simon taught English in a comprehensive school in north-east England for seven years.

He later formed Wallace Walker, a flourishing management consultancy.

He has run management seminars across the Middle East and in Malaysia, although his focus is now the chairmanship of Soul Purpose Limited, the developers of Pilgrim and sponsors of this literary competition, and the building from scratch of a dive resort in Indonesia.

Simon has just finished David Peace's 'Red Riding' quartet and, brilliant as it is, it has not quite supplanted 'Vanity Fair' as his desert island novel.

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Christina Gabbitas

Christina Gabbitas is a children’s author, poet and voiceover artist, who has always been influenced by Spike Milligan, one of her favourite authors. As well as writing her children’s books Felicity Fly series, that encourage reading and learning about the world around them with fun, Christina runs a national UK initiative to encourage children of all abilities to ‘have a go’ at writing. This initiative gained support from the Education Secretary, in 2013 and is proving very successful.

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Simon West

Simon polished his passion for geekism and immersed himself in extreme coding on a major scale this year. He designed a bespoke remote judging solution for MOLP and consumed Olympic record amounts of organic tea whilst doing so. He has progressed - but not completed - his debut novel, Anvarin, but hopes to embrace that along with more frontline eco-activism and wild swimming. He eagerly awaits this summer’s World Naked Bike Rides. Simon makes noise about green politics and body positivity, founded International Be Naked Day, has taken up life modelling, co-founded Frack Free Lyme Regis and don’t you know it, he’s also a poet.

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Andrew Welch

Andrew Welch runs his own marketing consultancy in Buckinghamshire, working principally for clients in the nicher-than-niche naturist sector and has (rather too easily) become the acknowledged expert and often quoted, interviewed and/or filmed by the media.

He travels a great deal, usually at someone else’s expense, and with a small suitcase. Often found writing or editing at work, he seeks refuge in a variety of reading material in his limited spare time with a particular passion for murder mysteries. He would probably choose Agatha Christie’s novels as his specialist subject on Mastermind.

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Sarah Barnard

Sarah Barnard adores fantasy and science fiction, soaking up alternate realities, fantastic creatures, magic, and spaceships. Sarah has written the Portal Series of urban fantasy, and the short eco-sci-fi tale, Earthlink, and has been writing since she worked out that those marks you can make with a pencil can create words, and from words come stories.

Her eco friendly company, Osier Publishing actively encourages new authors, and has a tree planted for every paperback sold. Living in South Wales with 2 children, 2 cats, and intermittent rescue hedgehogs, half way up a mountain, and under half an hour from the coast, Sarah finds inspiration and peace from the stunning landscape in which she lives and works.

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Jason Cridland

Jason Cridland is co-founder and facilitator at Dorset Eye, a citizen news site for Dorset and beyond. He is also a part time lecturer in politics and sociology.

Married with four children, Jason is a Dorset lad who loves literature and music. He says he is "honoured to have been asked to read and judge the wonderful submissions submitted to Magic Oxygen. Christopher Hitchens' words, ‘Literature sustains the mind and also the soul' say it all."

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Andy Wright

This Toronto based internationally acclaimed photographer - a specialist of live gigs - is originally from London. When he’s not crawling around on the floor of events and red carpets looking for that amazing shot, he is typically crawling around on the floor of a venue shooting a band, touring with the likes of Marillion, Spock’s Beard, and Sound of Contact. He is also published and there are limited edition books packed with his fantastic images all around the globe. These include ‘9.30 to Filmore’ and ‘Marillion’s Heartbeat’ (co-written with Populuxe drummer Mark Pardy). He has also created some amazing book covers for Magic Oxygen.

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Kye West

Kye has been an avid reader since he was big enough to pick up a book. This year he has been an invaluable assistant on the technical side and thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Magic Oxygen family. He is naturally drawn to the world of fantasy fiction (being a Harry-Potter loving Whovian) but his English studies have meant that he never shies away from any genre of writing. He loves many books but one of his favourite authors is MOLP fan Matt Haig, author of The Humans and Reasons to Stay Alive.

He has aspirations of being an author one day and has had great fun penning Fan Fiction.

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Chaz E Arnold

Chaz was Poet in Residence for the Tavistock Garden Festival in 2014. He’s poet and judge for Twitter’s weekly #ArtistHour and rhymes for the Devon Art Pop group. In 2015, he was Poet in Residence for the inaugural Paignton Harbour Day. His fabulously entertaining Tweets can be located @PaigntonPoet

His first of many novels in The Hope Saga, Hope, was published in 2012. His science fiction series, The Straker Chronicles, debuted in 2015. He has also published an illustrated children’s series, The Adventures of Twitch Lop.

He adores spy thrillers, alternate history, sci-fi and favours Robert Harris and Isaac Asimov. As for poetry, it has to be Edward Lear and Benjamin Zephaniah.

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Chris Hill

Chris Hill is an author from Gloucestershire whose first novel Song of the Sea God was published by Skylight Press in 2012. It won the eFestival of Words award for Best Literary Fiction and was short listed for the Daily Telegraph Novel in a Year prize. Chris’s second novel the Pick Up Artist was published by Magic Oxygen publishing in February 2014. As a short story writer Chris has won a number of awards including the prestigious Bridport Prize, one of the UK’s biggest and best established short story prizes. Chris loves all kinds of literary fiction and has a particular fondness for 20th Century American novelists.

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Karen Cannard

Karen Cannard is the creator of the Rubbish Diet challenge, which has grown from her days as an entertaining blogger tackling her family's trash into the UK’s slimming club for bins. A lover of comedy, romance and crime fiction, she has an eclectic taste and the icing on her cake of literary indulgence is the talent of Oscar Wilde. Karen lives in Suffolk, where she also writes for the Bury Free Press and appears regularly as BBC Radio Suffolk’s Bin Doctor and has appeared on Woman’s Hour, The One Show, Dispatches and ITV1’s Tonight. Karen was No 7 in Resource Magazine’s Hot 100 2013 Most Influential People in Waste for “her boundless enthusiasm for slimming bins.”

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Tracey West

Tracey is an author, poet and speaker, predominantly on enrivonmental and women’s issues. This year’s highlights: as Patron of the Women’s Action Network Dorset, Tracey embraced opportunities to make a noise about domestic violence and the critical need for women’s refuges. As Trustee for the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, she gave a voice to COAs alongside MP Liam Byrne in the Houses of Parliament. She joined CND, renewed her membership of British Naturism and also became a trainee vegan. She’s set to turn 50 this year and has realised that she’s never going to find her off switch, but is looking forward to knowing what she wants to do when she grows up.

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Ru Hartwell

Born in South Africa, Ru Hartwell has been planting trees for the last four decades and has run the tropical reforestation project down in Bore, Kenya since 2007. During that time, working in partnership with 300 Giriama subsistence farmers, he has been responsible for the planting of 170,000 trees and is overjoyed to be helping make the Magic Oxygen Word Forest a reality for this community. Every single tree is a like a little victory for nature and this great project adds up to a significant positive result for one typical African primary school, its kids and our shared atmosphere.

He doesn’t have time to read a great many books these days but loves The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz.

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Sandie Roach

Sandie is a waste-hating student of life, being home educated by her three sons in the beautiful city of Whanganui, on the north island of New Zealand.

She is a Trustee for Sustainable Whanganui and an active member of the local Green Party. She loves being involved in her local community and helps facilitate Whanganui’s monthly ‘Really Really Free Market’. Sandie is studying for a Social Sciences degree with Open Polytechnic. Her favorite author of the moment is Rivera Sun who penned the novel ‘The Dandelion Insurrection – Love and Revolution’.

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Izzy Robertson

Izzy Robertson, keen reader for longer than she cares to admit, ate books for breakfast, lunch and dinner as a child and aspired to authordom from the age of eight. It’s taken a while, and gone via a completely different career pathway, but she now has two short stories out as e-books and her novel Dreaming The Moon was published in Feb 2015.

She is also an editor, having worked on several books for Magic Oxygen. She prefers the magical and mystical for reading matter; particular favourite authors include Charles de Lint and Alice Hoffman.

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Rachel Savage

Over the past 20 years Rachel has written for many organisations including The Big Issue, The Environment Agency, Orange, Ecotricity and Transition Free Press. She’s currently editor for an exciting new writer working with tree wisdom and recently launched Small is Beautiful Communications, helping small, eco and community minded businesses to promote what they do to people who will love them.

Rachel devours spiritual and personal growth books and her love of cookbooks has reached a ‘one in one out’ impasse. As mum to two boys, her favourite children’s books include anything and everything by William Bee.

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Erica Miner

Violinist turned author Erica Miner, formerly of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, enjoys a multi-faceted career as an award-winning author, screenwriter, arts writer, lecturer and poet. Her debut novel, Travels With My Lovers, won the Fiction Prize in the Direct from the Author Book Awards. Subsequent published novels include the suspense thriller Murder in The Pit, a novel of assassination and intrigue at the Metropolitan Opera.

Erica’s preferred genres include mystery and drama, and any period piece, fiction or screen. She admires the fiction of Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë, and the poetry of Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson and the two Williams, Wordsworth and Shakespeare.

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Lucy Middleton

Lucy Middleton is a Producer and Creative Director who combines the creative with the commercial with twenty years experience in Publicity, Marketing and Media. As a filmmaker Lucy is passionate about the value of the written word. Every great movie starts with a good script and the most successful films are literary adaptations.

Lucy's favourite novels are those with a social/ historical/ autobiographical story. Always with strong female characters. Among her favourites authors is Jane Austen. Lucy’s developments includes an adaptation of award-winning play "Kinder-transport" with Disney. She also runs workshops for aspiring authors of page and screen.

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Lata Tokhi

Lata Tokhi is the Founder and Chief Editor at the RL Omni Media Network. Apart from the hugely popular women’s website, DotComWomen.com, she also curates a network of Holiday websites, including Celebrating-Chirstmas.com. Her magazine, ‘Celebrating Christmas’ has been rated 5 stars by the editors at CNET’s Download.com. She loves to read romantic poetry, Jane Austen, and truly believes that she was a Jane Austen character in her past life! Lata has been advocating women’s issues for the last 16 years through her media network. Lata is an avid Yoga practitioner and a vegetarian. She lives with her techie husband and two kids in the beautiful country of India.

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Nick Bellorini

Nick Bellorini is a non-fiction publisher based in the South West. He has a PhD in Philosophy from Oxford and a Certificate in Creative Writing from UEA. With catholic tastes in all things (except beer, biscuits and religion) he enjoys literary fiction mostly but few things better than a good ghost story.

A list of favourite writers would include Hermann Hesse, John Steinbeck, Raymond Carver, Alice Walker, Ian McEwan, Haruki Murakami, Alice Monro, Adam Thorpe, Louis de Bernieres and David Mitchell. For reasons best known to himself he is currently reading quite a lot of pre-war Hungarian fiction.

We are enormously proud to unveil our prestigious line up of judges for the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize 2016.

If you’d like to have a thorough read through their bio, move your mouse over their slide.

We have a unique blend of internationally acclaimed authors, poets, editors, producers, performers, publishers, environmental campaigners, a forestry expert and more from the UK, America, Canada, India and New Zealand.

They have all kindly lent their support to help judge our literary competition and are fired up to know each and every entry has resulted in a tree being planted in Bore, Kenya.

Grateful and proud,

The Team