Meet the short story competition judges

It’s time to meet our amazing panel of judges who’ll be coming together at the end of July to discuss the final five shortlisted stories.

Our Membership Manager, Sabrina will be joined by a Mind member in addition to a host of literary experts from Penguin, Audible and Sphere Fiction to decide a winner for the Mind membership short story competition.

Below you can find out more about each of our judges and their ‘top tip’ for creative writing.


You can get involved in the competition and submit your short story on the main Mind member short story competition page.

Enter the competition

Candy Ikwuwunna, Digital Marketing Officer, Mind

Candy has been the Digital Marketing Officer at Mind for a year. Before this she worked in Publishing for four years, at Little, Brown then at Penguin. She is an avid reader and may well drown in library fine debt.

Candy's top tip: I think Sir Terry Pratchett said it best – ‘your first draft is just you telling yourself the story.’ Don’t put pressure on yourself to make your story perfect the first time, the most important thing is just to get it down on the page.

Holly Harris, Editorial Director, Penguin

Holly is currently Editorial and Media Development Director at Penguin Random House Children’s. She has been working in publishing for 5 years and worked on a range of fiction and non-fiction titles, from Karen McManus to Scarlett Curtis, specialising in young adult fiction.

Holly's top tip: The work ethic is just as important as the natural talent and remember to always surprise your reader!

Harriet Poland, Business Affairs Manager, Audible

After working as a literary agent, Harriet joined Audible in 2017. She acquires audio rights across all genres, and commissions original fiction and non-fiction. She also develops short story collections, and is currently working on an anthology asking authors to retell regional folk stories, featuring Daisy Johnson and Eimear McBride.

Harriet's top tip: Just write. Make a time, sit down, and write sentences for an hour or two. You can go back and rework them later, but feeling like you’re making progress will change everything.

Lucy Malagoni, Publisher, Sphere Fiction

Lucy Malagoni is Publisher for Sphere Fiction, at Little, Brown UK, where she has worked throughout her career. Lucy was named a Rising Star by The Bookseller in 2016 and shortlisted for Editor of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2017. She works on the J.K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith publications and publishes Sunday Times bestselling authors including Val McDermid, Clare Mackintosh and Laura Marshall.

Lucy's top tip: Carve out time specifically for both reading and writing as the two are completely interlinked – every writer is a reader first so read as much as you can and it will help you become a better writer.


Annette, Mind member

As Development Manager at Gladstone's Library, Annette spends much of her working life surrounded by books and writers. She was instrumental in setting up the Library's Writers-in-Residence programme in 2012 and now helps to run the Library’s literary festivals. An avid reader of many genres of fiction, Annette also volunteers with North-East Wales Mind.

Annette's top tip: For a short story, every sentence counts. Don’t waste words.

We'd like to thank all our judges for taking the time to get involved with the Mind member short story competition.

If you have any queries you can contact the membership team at [email protected].

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