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We are delighted to announce the Final Panel Judges for The Queen's Commonwealth Society Competition 2022!

The Senior and Junior Panels chaired by Dr Paul Edmondson and Imtiaz Dharker respectively met in September 2022 to determine the winners and runners-up of this year's competition. Find out more about this year's judges: 


Dr Paul Edmondson

Chair, QCEC Senior Panel 2022

Dr Paul Edmondson is Head of Research for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. He has published books and articles on Shakespeare’s works, life, and times. He is a Trustee of the British Shakespeare Association, The Rose Theatre, and The Friends of Shakespeare’s Church. He is an Honorary Fellow of The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, a Visiting Professor in Human Rights at Birmingham City University, and a Visiting Fellow for the Warwick Institute of Engagement. In August 2022 he received a Platinum Award from the SUFI Trust for his work with Pakistani communities. He is also a priest in the Church of England.


Imtiaz Dharker

Chair, QCEC Junior Panel 2022

Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and video film maker, awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in  2014. Her six collections, all published by Bloodaxe Books, include Over the Moon and the latest, Luck is the Hook. Her poems have featured widely on BBC radio, television, the London Underground, Glasgow billboards and Mumbai buses. She has had eleven solo exhibitions of drawings and also scripts and directs video films, many of them for non-government organisations working in the area of shelter, education and health for women and children in India.


Hiya Chowdhury 

Judge, QCEC Senior Panel 2022

Hiya Chowdhury is a young writer and student from India, as well as the recipient of the Senior Runner-Up Award at the Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition 2017 for her short story based on India's Partition. She was the only Asian writer shortlisted for the Margaret and Reg Turnhill Prize in 2019, and in 2022 she was long-listed for the prestigious Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Hiya's work has been featured in numerous national and international publications, including The Hindu and BBC 500 Words. Her debut children's fiction novel, Braybucks Goes To Sniffer Academy, was published in 2018.


Ntsika Kota

Judge, QCEC Senior Panel 2022

Ntsika Kota is a chemist by training, although he has not been in the lab for several years. As a child, he loved reading—especially science fiction. He cites Asimov’s Foundation and Clarke’s Rama as examples of works that left a lasting impression on him. Ntsika believes that his love of sci-fi and his choice to pursue education in a technical field were closely linked. His journey as a writer began in earnest while he was still a postgraduate, studying chemistry. Since then, he has written several short stories, two novellas and numerous pieces of very short ‘flash’ fiction.


Jaspreet Kaur

Judge, QCEC Senior Panel 2022

Jaspreet Kaur, also known by her online handle ‘Behind the Netra’ is an award-winning spoken word artist, history teacher and writer from London. She is passionate about gender issues, taboo subjects and encouraging positive social change in both the Asian community and wider society. Her work tackles issues related to gender discrimination, mental health stigma, the postcolonial immigrant experience, and more. Jaspreet is a regular on the BBC, Sunday Morning Live, Radio 4 and worked with the UN on the HeforShe campaign. She is currently a Research Fellow at Birkbeck University’s Centre for British Political Life. Jaspreet is the author of the bestselling narrative non-fiction Brown Girl Like Me, one of the first books to speak directly to the experiences of South Asian women in Britain since 1978.

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Dame Susan Hill 

Judge, QCEC Junior Panel 2022

Dame Susan Hill has been a professional writer since she was 19, and published 60 books, including fiction, autobiography and children's books. The play based on her ghost story The Woman in Black has been running in London's West End for 33 years. Most recently she has written a series of crime novels, the 11th of which is just published. She is a Fellow of King's College, London, from which she also has her degree in English. Susan was born in Yorkshire and lives in North Norfolk. She was appointed a Dame of the British Empire in 2021

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Sam Reese

Judge, QCEC Junior Panel 2022

Hailing from Aotearoa New Zealand, Sam Reese is an award-winning short story writer and critic of jazz and literature. A senior lecturer at York St John University, he is the author of the short story collections Come the Tide and on a distant ridgeline, and non-fiction books on jazz, literature, and loneliness, mid-twentieth century American short fiction, and Cold War politics. He is currently editing the notebooks of jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins.

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Sharma Taylor

Judge, QCEC Junior Panel 2022

Sharma Taylor is an award-winning Jamaican writer and lawyer. Sharma has won the  Wasafiri Queen Mary New Writing Prize (2020), the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Award (2020) and the Bocas Lit Fest’s Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize (2019). She’s been shortlisted four times for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and was a finalist for the Elizabeth Nunez Award for Writers in the Caribbean in the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival’s Caribbean Fiction Writers Competition (2020). Her critically acclaimed debut novel What A Mother's Love Don't Teach You was published in the UK and Commonwealth in July 2022 by Virago.


Shehan Karunatilaka

Judge, QCEC Senior Panel 2022

Shehan Karunatilaka emerged on the world literary stage in 2011, when he won the Commonwealth Prize, the DSL and Gratiaen Prize for his debut novel, Chinaman. His songs, scripts and stories have been published in Rolling Stone, GQ and National Geographic. Born in Galle, Sri Lanka, Karunatilaka grew up in Colombo, studied in New Zealand and has lived and worked in London, Amsterdam and Singapore. He currently lives in Sri Lanka. The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida is his long-awaited second novel. Shehan Karinatilaka’s novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2022.


Louise Umutoni

Judge, QCEC Junior Panel 2022

Louise Umutoni is the founder of Huza Press, a Rwandan-based publishing press devoted to supporting African literary craftsmanship. She is passionate about knowledge creation and dissemination in Africa and has written academically on National Liberation Movements in Africa and women’s political inclusion.

The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition is supported by the Lagos State Government. 

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