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Jeffrey Boakye

Meet the IBC Awards 2024 Judges

Jeffrey Boakye is an ex-teacher turned writer, speaker, broadcaster and educator, with a particular interest in issues surrounding race, masculinity, education and popular culture. Jeffrey was an English teacher for 15 years and now provides training for schools, universities and businesses on race, identity, masculinity and education.

He is also Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Manchester’s Institute for Education. Jeffrey’s published books are: Hold Tight: Black Masculinity, Millennials and the Meaning of Grime; Black Listed: Black British Culture Explored; What Is Masculinity? Why Does It Matter? And Other Big Questions (co-authored); Musical Truth: A Musical Journey Through Modern Black Britain (winner of the Quiz Writers’ Choice Award for Secondary Non-Fiction and the UKLA Book Awards for Information Books 3–14+); I Heard What You Said; Kofi and the Rap Battle Summer and Musical World: Modern World History as You’ve Never Heard It Before. Jeffrey publishes a very popular Substack newsletter, Are You Sitting Comfortably? and co-hosts BBC Radio 4’s double-award-winning Add to Playlist.

Jeffrey received the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Leicester in January 2023.

Jeffrey, a fortysomething black man, is standing in front of a a colourful grafittied wall. He is wearing glasses and a pink top. His hair is in locs.

A.M. Dassu

A. M. Dassu is the internationally acclaimed author of Boy, Everywhere and Fight Back, which have collectively been listed for 46 awards, including the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Carnegie Medal, the Little Rebels Award, the American Library Association Children's Notable List and Jane Addams Children's Book Award.

She is a director at Inclusive Minds, an organisation for people passionate about inclusion, diversity, equality and accessibility in children’s literature; a patron of The Other Side of Hope, a magazine edited by immigrants and refugees, and an author for National Literacy Trust’s Connecting Stories campaign.

A. M. Dassu grew up in the Midlands dreaming of becoming a writer but studied economics instead, and worked in marketing and project management before realising her dream. Her work has been published by The Huffington Post, Times Educational Supplement, SCOOP Magazine, Lee & Low Books, Scholastic, Old Barn Books, DK, Harper Collins, Hachette and Oxford University Press. She writes books that challenge stereotypes, humanise the ‘other’ and are full of empathy, hope and heart. Her most recent book, Boot It!, was a bestselling World Book Day novel.

A. M. Dassu used her advances for Boy, Everywhere to assist Syrian refugees and set up a grant to support a recently immigrated, unpublished refugee writer. She has donated a part of her advances for Kicked Out to Baca, a UK charity that supports young people seeking asylum.

A. M. Dassu, a mixed South Asian woman, is standing in front of a blue banner of her book \nBoy, Everywhere\n, smiling. She is wearing a black pinstripe, high neck top and a black, cream and red patterned satin scarf worn as a head wrap.

Aoife Dooley

Aoife Dooley is an award-winning illustrator, author and comedian. She is also a graphic designer and public speaker.

She is best known for Your One Nikita, with two books and an RTE Player animated TV series based on the character. Aoife published her first children’s book in 2019, 123 Ireland!, followed by ABC Ireland! in 2022.

Aoife has spoken at a number of events and has experience with both live TV and radio. She was a regular panellist on The Elaine Show. Aoife has also performed at festivals such as Vodafone Comedy Festival, Body & Soul, Electric Picnic, and more. In 2017 she won U Magazine's 30 Under 30 Award for Best Comedian.

Aoife was diagnosed as autistic at the age of 27. Since then, she has spoken about her own experiences at many events which have resonated deeply with audiences.

In 2022 Frankie's World was published, a graphic novel based on Aoife’s real-life experiences of autism. Frankie’s World has been hugely successful. The sequel, Finding My Voice was published in April 2023. Her graphic novels are told with humour, heart and a unique perspective on autism.

Aoife, a thirysomething white woman stands between a red car and a blue car. She has bright blue hair and is wearing a red, white and black sports jacket.\n\n

Jessica Kellgren-Fozard

Jessica Kellgren-Fozard is a vintage icon and leading advocate for LGBTQ+ and disability rights. Jessica’s unique sense of personal style, coupled with her blend of creativity and intellect, has amassed her a legion of fans. 

Since Jessica and her wife Claudia had baby Rupert in summer 2021, Jessica expanded her ever-growing roster of educational videos, and began talking about her experience as a Deaf and Disabled parent — bringing tips and tricks and educating her viewership on things like sign language for babies and Montessori parenting. 

If you want to watch series like ‘Things People Say to LGBTQ+ Parents’ and ‘Queer History 101’, check her out on YouTubeInstagram or TikTok

Jessica, a thirtysomething white woman stands in front of a white background. She is wearing a vintage-inspired outfit with gloves and has red hair. She is holding a vintage camera.

Farrah Serroukh

Farrah is an experienced teacher who has taught across the primary school age range. She held several leadership posts in areas including Literacy, EAL, EMA and Inclusion. She has always been a passionate advocate of every child’s right to access high-quality literature and experience the best education possible. Her interests in this regard led to her study of an MA in Bilingualism in Education. She coordinates CLPE’s partnership and regional work and is the author of CLPE’s Reflecting Realities Survey of Ethnic Representation within UK Children’s Literature, which is the first of its kind in the history of UK children’s publishing. Farrah was awarded the Brenda Eastwood Award in recognition of her pioneering work on ethnic representation in children’s literature at the UKLA's 55th International Conference 2019 and also received the prestigious NATE Diversity and Inclusion Award in 2021.

Farrah has also been a judge for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2019, the Branford Boase Award 2022, the British Book Awards and the Little Rebels Awards. She sits on the REIYL and the PoP Up Pathways Programme advisory boards, and is a Letterbox Library book reviewer and Empathy Lab judge.

Farrah, a brunette with glasses, wearing a grey shirt and cardigan, standing in front of a bookshelf.

Sonali Shah

Sonali released her first children's book The Best Diwali Ever, based on the religious festival, in 2021.

She is currently a host for BBC1's Escape to the Country and is the Sunday Morning Breakfast presenter on Magic Radio. She often hosts episodes of ITV's Tonight and regularly appears on Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch.

Sonali has hosted Saturday Live for BBC Radio 4, various BBC London shows and Outlook on the BBC World Service. She is well-known for being one of the faces on BBC Sport and before that, a long-serving presenter of Newsround. She has also hosted BBC Asian Network's phone-in.

Sonali was part of the presentation teams for Delhi 2010, London 2012 and Glasgow 2014, joined the BBC Crimewatch team in 2015, and was a regular host on the National Lottery Live on BBC1. Over recent years, she has become known for roles in the BBC's coverage of many marquee live events, including the Queen's 90th birthday, the Lord Mayor's Show and the London Marathon. 

Away from the camera, Sonali is an ambassador for the Prince's Trust and the British Asian Trust, and regularly supports Barnardo's.