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CLA’s Copyright Essay Competition – judges announced

It is with great pleasure that CLA announces the judging panel for our first ever Copyright Essay Competition.

With the support of Hodder Education

Our panel is composed of esteemed and expert colleagues from the creative sectors and world of intellectual property.  Each with a wealth of experience in the fields of publishing, illustration, writing and education, the judges are keen to celebrate all the students who have taken time to engage with concepts of copyright, intellectual property and social media.  Above all however, they are looking for well-evidenced arguments with thoughtful conclusions that will be worthy of the three podium places.

The judging panel includes award-winning young adult author Bali Rai; award-winning children’s author and illustrator Ken Max-Wilson; Hodder Education’s marketing manager Victoria Daniels; Bath Spa University’s Dr Joanna Nadin; Robert Gordon University’s Charles Oppenheim; and Joanne Harris (MBE), Chair of the Society of Authors (SOA). Full bios for our incredible judges can be found below.

CLA launched its national competition for 16-19 year olds on 25th February.  No one could have anticipated how events would unfold, but despite lockdown and the unusual circumstances of the Spring and Summer term, our students haven’t let us down.

Phil Hearne, Director of Education at CLA

CLA is delighted that so many students have shown the commitment, hard work and diligence necessary to enter our competition, despite the surreal circumstances.  If anything, being at home threw into sharper focus what it is to create and share digitally, and how important it is to understand our online interactions.  All the students who entered the competition are to be commended and we’re excited to see what the final panel make of their unique and thoughtful arguments.


The judging panel is scheduled to assemble and deliberate over the following weeks, with winners announced in late August.  Winning students will be presented with their prizes from September.

Judges Profiles

Victoria Daniels is Marketing Manager at Hodder Education. She’s been working in publishing for 8 years, starting her career in Bloomsbury’s Academic and Professional division before moving to Hodder Education in 2015.  CLA is delighted that Hodder Education has leant its support to this, the first ever Copyright Essay Competition.
Joanne Harris (MBE) is a passionate advocate for authors’ rights, and is currently the Chair of the Society of Authors (SOA), and member of the Board of the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS).

After University, Joanne taught for fifteen years, during which time her first works were published, including Chocolat (1999), which was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche.  Since then, and several more works later, her books are now published in over 50 countries and have won a number of British and international awards. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, has honorary doctorates in literature from the universities of Sheffield and Huddersfield.

Dr Joanna Nadin is a former broadcast journalist, speechwriter and special adviser to the Prime Minister. Since leaving politics, she’s written more than 80 books for children and adults including Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC drama series. She also lectures in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.
Charles Oppenheim is a Visiting Professor at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland and is an independent consultant. He has been involved in research, talks and publications on, Intellectual Property Rights and related legal issues, data protection, the evaluation of research quality, and scholarly publishing trends for many years. He co-authored the recent Information Law Compliance for Librarians, Knowledge Managers and Information Professionals (Facet, 2020). He is an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, and is a member of the UK’s Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance.
Bali Rai has written over forty novels about teenagers and children. Born in Leicester, his writing is inspired by his working-class, multicultural background. A leading voice in UK teen fiction, Bali is a passionate advocate of libraries, reading for pleasure and promoting literacy. He has nearly twenty years of experience in working with young people across the UK and further afield and is extremely popular with schools. He has been nominated for and won numerous awards since 2001.

Bali has worked closely with The Reading Agency, Booktrust, The National Literacy Trust, Empathy Lab UK and many other organisations, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by De Montfort University in 2014. He also featured on BBC1’s Rebel Writers show and is an ambassador/patron for several high-profile literacy and arts projects. He was a Costa Book Award judge for 2019/20 and is currently working on two new titles. His latest title, Mohinder’s War, published in June 2020.

Ken Wilson-Max is an award-winning author, illustrator and publisher of children’s books. He was born in Zimbabwe and lives in London.
In 2020 his book, Astro Girl won the STEAM award for early years picture books. Of his other books, Where’s Lenny? was listed in 50 Best Culturally Diverse Children’s Books by The Guardian and Max Paints the House is listed in 150 Important Children’s Books by African American Literature Book Club. Several of his books are included in the core books list of CLPE and BookTrust for early years education.Ken is amongst the 100 Breaking New Ground British writers and illustrators of colour and is a mentor for the Pathways into Children’s Publishing program. He has over 70 children’s books in his unique illustration style published by over 15 international publishers in many languages worldwide. The Drum, The Flute, Lenny and Wilbur and Where’s Lenny? are some of his most recent work.  In 2017 he became publisher at Alanna Max Books and hopes to continue refining his inclusive approach alongside talented creators.