London Independent Story Prize Judges

'Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration,

I don’t think you can go wrong.' 

Ella Fitzgerald

James Kirchick, an award-winning author, a brave activist from the USA. 

Please check our Blog for his interview about the competition.

Follow his mind-blowing articles 

Debi Alper is an author and an editor. 

She spent most of her time helping other writers to perfect their novels through critiques, mentoring, Book Doctor sessions and creative writing workshops. She edits in all genres and many authors that she has worked with have been signed up with agents and gone on to see their books published.

Debi also acts as a competition judge and is a reader for the Costa Short Story Awards.

Nick Makoha! His debut collection the Kingdom of Gravity is shortlisted for the 2017 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection and nominated by The Guardian as one of the best books of 2017. He won the 2015 Brunel International Poetry Prize and the 2016 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize for his pamphlet Resurrection. A Goldsmiths, Cave Canem & Complete Works Alumni.  His poems appeared in  The New York Times, Poetry Review, Rialto, Triquarterly Review, Boston Review, Callaloo, and Wasafiri. Find him at 

Mark U Stein, is Professor of English, Postcolonial and Media Studies, a great mind from Germany, and a great person! 

Follow him on

Emine Dursun O'Brien, multi-award-winning writer including Sundance lab, from New York, founder of the great NYISA Awards from the US. 


Follow her on tweeter @amythestranger

Petra Freimund! She is a passionate theatre & film director who graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama (London), one of the finest addresses for advanced theatre practice in the world. 

You can follow her on Facebook

Tice Cin is an interdisciplinary artist from Tottenham, North London. An awardee of the Literary Fiction category for London Writers Awards, she has just completed her first novel. Her work has been published by Skin Deep Magazine and commissioned by venues including Battersea Arts Centre and St Paul's Cathedral. An alumnus of the poetry community Barbican Young Poets, she now creates digital art as part of Design Yourself - a collective based at Barbican Centre - exploring what it means to be human.

Pic Credit Ata Surer.

Beaton Galafa is a Malawian writer of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. He is widely published. He also edits for Nthanda Review, Malawian literary magazine.  

Twitter: @Beaton_Galafa

John Lubbock, a journalist, filmmaker, human rights activist. He writes on British and Turkish politics. Follow him on twitter:


Luis Pizarro, an author, a great historian and an editor at the oldest publishing house in Spain, Planeta Publishing.

Please check our Blog for his interview about the competition.

We're so happy to have him on board!

Meltem Arıkan, an award-winning novelist, playwright, journalist, and a brave activist! Winner of “Freedom of Idea and Statement Prize” She's now based in Cardiff, UK.  


Click to check out her latest play here 'Enough is Enough'

Emily Zinkin, a young writer, and editor from London. She did her MA in Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham. A free spirit!

Aziz Kedi, writer, editor, director and videographer from London. An edgy abstract artist for two decades. Created and produced TV shows, wrote columns for newspapers and magazines, owned a bookstore and co-wrote two feature movies. Instructing writing techniques on contemporary literature and comedy for ten years. Follow him @

HELENA MULKERNS has been internationally anthologised and shortlisted for America’s Pushcart Prize and Ireland’s Hennessy Literary and Francis MacManus awards. She has edited two literary anthologies and is a recipient of a bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland. Her debut short story collection, Ferenji, was published by Doire Press in 2016. In 2018, she features in a new anthology of Irish writing, Reading The Future edited by Alan Hayes, and her second short story collection is out in Fall. She founded and runs the regular live arts event, The Cáca Milis Cabaret

See more at:

Aylin Tekiner is an award-winning visual artist, writer, and activist from New York.

Find Out More:

Onur is a songwriter, pianist, and singer who works mostly in London’s vibrant open mic and
LGBTQ scene by mentoring young musicians alongside organising open mic nights in East
London. He performs in London’s West and East End regularly and also works as a journalist on
music, lifestyle, and fashion. Follow him on Instagram via here @onuruzmusic

Gaynor Jones is a freelance writer from Manchester UK. She specialises in short fiction and was the recipient of the 2018 Mairtín Crawford Short Story Award. Her flash fiction has been published widely and nominated for Best Small Fictions and Best of the Net. She will release a flash fiction collection, Business As Usual, in January 2019 .

Follow her on tweeter @Jonzeywriter 

Feristah Senem Yildirim is an internationally recognised actor, scriptwriter and serving as a jury for several Filmfestivals including New York International Film Festival. 

Ozge Gozturk is the founder of The London Independent Story Prize. She is a published author and a multi-award winning scriptwriter. After travelling from country to country, now she settled down in London. Follow her on social media @OzgeGztrk 

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