2023 Judges

We’re delighted to announce the judges for the 2023 Nan Shepherd Prize, the third time the prize has run. They are...

Jason Allen-Paisant is a writer and academic who works as a senior lecturer in critical theory & creative writing at the University of Manchester. An alumnus of Oxford University and of the École normale supérieure (Ulm), Jason is also an award-winning poet. His poetic memoir Self-Portrait as Othello is a 2023 Poetry Book Society Choice and his début, Thinking with Trees, won the 2023 OCM Bocas Prize for Poetry. His nonfiction book The Possibility of Tenderness: A Black Migrant’s Search for Freedom in Nature will be published in the UK by Hutchinson Heinemann in the spring of 2024.

Caro Clarke is the founder of Portobello Literary and the Chair of the Association of Scottish Literary Agents. They were named Rights Professional of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2021. While working at Canongate Books, they co-founded the Nan Shepherd Prize for underrepresented nature writers.

Helena Gonda is Senior Commissioning Editor at Canongate Books, where she is building an eclectic list of narrative non-fiction. Her authors include Alice Vincent, Marchelle Farrell and Katie Goh. Helena was one of the founders of the FLIP, an online community that offers career advice and support for women in publishing. In 2019 she was named a Bookseller Rising Star and was selected as a Frankfurt Fellow in 2022.

Peggy Hughes has been Executive Director at the National Centre for Writing since January 2022, and was Head of Programmes for four years before that. She comes from Northern Ireland, went to university in Scotland, and stayed to spend her formative years in literature organisations there, including the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust. Peggy’s various trustee roles include being current Chair of StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry, and she interviews writers at festivals and events around the UK and Ireland. Peggy is happiest outdoors - running, walking and looking.

Claire Ratinon is an organic food grower and writer. Claire has shared her growing journey in talks for organisations including Tate Liverpool, Barbican Centre and Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh, as well as contributing to Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time and writing a column for the Guardian’s Saturday Magazine. She co-wrote the pamphlet, ‘Horticultural Appropriation’ for Rough Trade Books with artist Sam Ayre and her first book, How To Grow Your Dinner Without Leaving The House was published in August 2020. Her latest book, Unearthed: On Race and Roots, and How the Soil Taught Me I Belong, is out now.