2022 PANEL OF JUDGES
Journalist and Author
Arifa Akbar has been the chief theatre critic for The Guardian newspaper since 2020. A journalist of 25 years, she was previously the literary editor of The Independent where she also worked as a news reporter and arts correspondent. She has served as head of content at the crowd-funding publisher, Unbound, as well as arts editor for Tortoise Media. She has previously contributed reviews and features to The Observer and the FT. Her first book, Consumed: A Sister’s Story, was published in June 2021. It has been shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards and longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize. Smaller non-fiction work has appeared in several anthologies. She is on the board of trustees at English PEN and the Orwell Foundation.
Author and Journalist
Carla Power is the author of Home, Land, Security, and If The Oceans Were Ink, a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. She was raised in St. Louis, Missouri, with years in Iran, India, Afghanistan, Egypt and Italy. A former foreign correspondent at Newsweek, she has contributed essays and reportage to numerous publications, including Time, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Policy, Vogue, Vanity Fair and The Guardian. She lives with her family in East Sussex, England.
Photo: © Nic Seely-Power
Saeed Shah is a Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent based in Islamabad and covering Pakistan and Afghanistan since 2013. Previously he covered Pakistan for The Economist, The Guardian and McClatchy Newspapers, also making regular reporting trips to Afghanistan. Before moving to Islamabad, he was with The Independent in London, writing about economics. Saeed is also the great-nephew of Zeenat Haroon Rashid.
Wajiha Hyder is a Lahore-based journalist and literary editor at The News on Sunday (TNS). She also writes features for the magazine, focusing mainly on culture, publishing and stories from life. Her debut short story appeared in the anthology The Stained-Glass Window: Stories of the Pandemic from Pakistan (2020). Previously, she worked as Articles Editor at The Missing Slate.
Editor and Granddaughter
Shan Vahidy, some-time escapee from Penguin Books, is a freelance editor based in London. Much to her own surprise, she has accidentally specialised in heavy-weight non-fiction, although she also enjoys working on novels. Authors goaded in a professional capacity include Carla Power, Paul Mason, Moni Mohsin, Ian Morris and Victoria Finlay. She is the granddaughter of Zeenat Haroon Rashid and a permanent co-ordinating judge on the panel.