05/06/2024

L to R: Craig Charles, Alycia Pirmohamed, Vanessa Kisuule, Daniel Sluman

(Image credits: Vanessa Kisuule — Jon Aitken)

Craig Charles, Chair of the 2024 Forward Prizes judging panel, is an English actor, presenter and poet, best known for playing Dave Lister in science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf and Lloyd Mullany in soap opera Coronation Street. He presented the gladiator style game show Robot Wars from 1998 – 2004 and narrated the comedy endurance show Takeshi’s Castle. He currently presents Craig Charles House Party and Craig Charles Funk and Soul on BBC Radio 2 and the afternoon show on BBC 6 Music.

Vanessa Kisuule is a writer, performer and facilitator based in Bristol. She has won over ten slam titles and performed nationally and internationally. She has been featured on BBC iPlayer, Radio 1, Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Blue Peter and TEDx in Vienna. She was the Bristol City Poet for 2018 – 2020 and her poem on the toppling of Edward Colston’s statue ‘Hollow’ went viral on Twitter. She wrote and presented ‘The Poetry Detective’ for Radio 4 in 2021 which has been commissioned for a third series. She has two poetry collections with Burning Eye Books and was Highly Commended in the Forward Poetry Prize Anthology 2019. Her work is published in poetry anthologies Everything is Going To Be Alright (Trapeze Books), More Fiya (Canongate) and the essay collection Black Joy (Penguin). She is the co-tutor for the Southbank New Poets Collective alongside Will Harris and is currently working on an essay collection and her debut novel.

Daniel Sluman is a 37-year-old poet and disability rights activist. He co-edited the first major UK Disability poetry anthology Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back, and he has published three poetry collections with Nine Arches Press. His most recent collection, single window was released in September 2021, and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.

Alycia Pirmohamed is the author of the poetry collection Another Way to Split Water. Her other works include Hinge, Faces that Fled the Wind, and Second Memory, and her nonfiction debut A Beautiful and Vital Place won the Nan Shepherd Prize for nature writing and is forthcoming with Canongate. Alycia currently teaches on the Creative Writing master’s at the University of Cambridge. She has held postdoctoral positions at the University Edinburgh and at the University of Liverpool, and she received an MFA from the University of Oregon and a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. Alycia is the co-founder of the Scottish BPOC Writers Network and a co-organiser of the Ledbury Poetry Critics, and she is the recipient of several awards, including a pushcart prize, the CBC Poetry Prize, and the 2020 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award.

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