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Prize judges

The judging panel for the 2022 SI Leeds Literary Prize is:


Lianne Dillsworth has MAs in Creative Writing and Victorian Studies and won a place on the London Library Emerging Writers Programme. She was first runner up in the 2020 SI Leeds Literary Prize for Black and Asian women writers in the UK. Lianne lives in London where she works on growing diversity and inclusion. Her debut novel Theatre of Marvels was published in April 2022.

Lianne Dillsworth*

Sharon Duggal writes novels and short stories. Her second novel Should We Fall Behind (2020) was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s 2021 Encore Award, selected for Between the Covers, BBC television’s flagship book show and chosen as a Prima Magazine Book of the Year. Her debut, The Handsworth Times was The Morning Star’s ‘Fiction Book of the Year’ 2016 and selected as the Brighton City Reads choice for 2017.  Sharon is currently working on her third novel.

Sharon Duggal


Dr Kadija George Sesay (chair of judges), whose research is on Black British Publishers and Pan-Africanism. She is the Publications Manager for Inscribe/Peepal Tree, publisher of SABLE LitMag and editor of several anthologies. She has published poetry, short stories and essays in anthologies, the latest in New Daughters of Africa and a poetry collection, Irki (Peepal Tree, 2013). She is a co-founder of Mboka Festival in Gambia and founder of an app, ‘AfriPoeTree’. She has received awards and fellowships for her work in the creative arts, her research and has judged several prizes.  Watch Kadija talk about her work with the Prize since its inception in 2012, and the role it plays in supporting writers.

Kadija George

Kadija George Sesay

Samar Hammam founded Rocking Chair Books Literary Agency in 2013 after six years as a Director at Toby Eady Associates. She works across all adult fiction and non-fiction genres and loves stories that are both original and page-turning.  She represents authors like Warsan Shire, Laura Coleman, Nydia Hetherington, and Kay Megalia amongst others.  You can find out more here

Samar Hammam