Dr. Amanda Foreman
(Chair of 2016 judges): Award-winning historian, and columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Times and The Smithsonian Magazine. Her first book, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, was an international bestseller, and won the 1998 Whitbread Prize for Biography. It has been developed into a television documentary, a radio play starring Dame Judi Dench and the Oscar-winning film, The Duchess. Her second book, A World on Fire, was also a bestseller and won the Fletcher Pratt Award for Civil War History. It was a runner-up for five further awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was chosen by The New York Times as one of the ten best books of 2011. In 2015 Foreman wrote and presented The Ascent of Woman, a critically acclaimed documentary series for BBC2. Foreman divides her time between London and New York, where she founded House of SpeakEasy, a non-profit organisation that works with local communities to bring writers and audiences together in innovative ways.