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Blogger & Maths Prof Join Weird Fiction Writer as Judges of Warwick's £50,000 Writing Prize

Britain’s first literary blogger will join a mathematician, a weird fiction writer, a poet and a journalist on the judging panel for a new £50,000 writing prize – the Warwick Prize for Writing.

China Miéville, award-winning writer of what he describes as ‘weird fiction’, will chair the panel of five judges, all experts in their chosen field of writing. Joining the panel is poet and novelist Jackie Kay, Guardian journalist Maya Jaggi, Britain’s first book blogger Stephen Mitchelmore and University of Warwick mathematician Professor Ian Stewart.

The international and cross-disciplinary prize, run by the University of Warwick, is set to redefine traditional forms of writing. All members of the university’s staff, Honorary Graduates and Honorary Professors have been invited to make a nomination for a prize entry.

Entries are expected to include all kinds of writing - from science theories and philosophical essays to poetry and electronic novels. The prize will be given biennially for an excellent and substantial piece of writing in the English language, in any genre or form. The theme will change with every prize: the 2009 theme is Complexity.

A longlist of 15 to 20 titles will be announced in November 2008 followed by a shortlist of six titles in January 2009. The winner will be announced by the University of Warwick in February 2009.

To find out more visit

For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager at the University of Warwick
Tel: 02476 523708 or 07767 655860 Email:


Elise Oliver or Ruth Cairns at Colman Getty
Tel: 020 7631 2666 Email: or

Notes for Editors:

China Miéville, Chair of The Warwick Prize for Writing Judging Panel

China Miéville was born in 1972, and is an award-winning writer of fiction and non-fiction. He is twice winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award, and of the British Fantasy Award. His fiction includes 'Perdido Street Station', 'Iron Council', and 'Un Lun Dun', a book for younger readers. His non-fiction includes 'Between Equal Rights', a study of international law.

He has a degree in Social Anthropology from Cambridge, and an MSc and PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck School of Law, and Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Warwick

Jackie Kay, Poet and Novelist

Jackie Kay was an adopted child of Scottish/Nigerian descent brought up by Scottish parents in Glasgow. She is one of Britain’s best-known poets, appearing frequently on radio and TV programmes on poetry and culture. Her four previous books of poetry from Bloodaxe, The Adoption Papers (1991), Other Lovers (1993), Off Colour (1998) and Life Mask (2005) have sold thousands of copies, while her fiction (from Picador) has been massively popular: her novel Trumpet (1998) and two collections of short stories, Why Don’t You Stop Talking? (2002) and Wish I Was Here (2006). She won the Somerset Maugham Award with Other Lovers, the Guardian Fiction Prize for Trumpet, Decibel Writer of the Year for Wish I Was Here and has twice won the Signal Poetry Award for her children’s poetry. The Adoption Papers is a set text on numerous school and university courses. She lives in Manchester, and was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2006.

Maya Jaggi, Journalist

Maya Jaggi is an award-winning critic and arts journalist who writes regularly for the Guardian newspaper as a longstanding profile writer and reviewer for Saturday Review, as well as for other national newspapers including the Sunday Times Culture magazine, the Independent, Financial Times and Daily Telegraph, and periodicals including New Statesman, TLS, Index on Censorship, International PEN and BookForum (New York). An influential voice on world literature in the British media, she is a frequent presenter at arts venues, and contributes to radio and television; she wrote and presented the BBC TV documentary Isabel Allende: The Art of Reinvention (2003). Some of her interviews appear in the books Lives and Works (2002), and Writing Across Worlds (2004).

On the jury of the 2009 David Cohen prize for literature, she has been a judge of other awards including the 2007 Orange prize for fiction, Guardian fiction prize, Commonwealth writers prize, Arts Council England writers' awards, Caine prize, Saif-Ghobash Banipal prize and Amnesty International media awards. Educated at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, she is now an Associate Fellow of Warwick University in the History department, a former executive member of English PEN, and current member of its Writers in Prison committee.

Stephen Mitchelmore, Literary Blogger

Stephen Mitchelmore became Britain's first book blogger eight years ago and has been called "the finest writer in the literary blogosphere". He has had reviews published in the Times Literary Supplement, the Jewish Quarterly, PN Review, the Washington Post and online at Ready Steady Book. He lives in Brighton

Professor Ian Stewart, Professor of Mathematics

Ian Stewart was born in 1945 and educated at Cambridge and Warwick. He is an active research mathematician working on pattern formation and chaos theory, and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He has written over 60 books including 'Does God Play Dice?', 'Life's Other Secret', 'What Shape is a Snowflake?', and 'Why Beauty is Truth'. With Terry Pratchett and Jack Cohen he wrote the bestselling series 'The Science of Discworld'.

His books 'Nature's Numbers' and 'Why Beauty is Truth' were shortlisted for the Science Book Prize. His awards include the Royal Society's Faraday Medal for furthering the public understanding of science, the Gold Medal of the Institute for Mathematics and It's Applications, and the Public Understanding of Science and Technology Award of the AAAS. He appears frequently on radio and television, and presented the 1997 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures for the BBC.