Saboteur Awards 2018: Spotlight on the Best Reviewer Shortlist

Voting continues apace! Nearly 3000 people have already voted! To help you make your choice and discover new voices, we are putting the spotlight on each category until voting closes on 9th May! Vote here.

Charlie Baylis

Photo by Estefania Cabello

Hi, I am Charlie (nice to meet you!) I write about poetry for Sabotage Reviews, Stride and some other magazines. I’ve been reviewing poetry for a few years. I am quite confused as to why I am on this shortlist. The first review I wrote contained a world record breaking number of typos and drew riotous condemnation from many wise men and women on facebook. I like to think I’ve improved as a reviewer since then (though I may well be worse!).

As a reviewer I like all kinds of poetry but my favourite is good poetry, which is not always easy to find. However more and more I coming to understand that we are living in a great moment for poetry and it is a wonderful feeling to be a, very tiny, part of it. Thank you for reading ! Thank you for voting !

Why voters think he should win:

Always informative and interesting

Opinionated but witty.

Follow Charlie on Twitter or on his website

Dave Coates

Dave is a poetry critic and research assistant at the University of Liverpool. His critical writing can mostly be found at

Why voters think he should win:

Always objective and honest – no sense that he has a poetic axe to grind, as regards favouring one ‘school’ of poetry over another

Dave’s reviewing is consistently excellent, and reading his reviews has frequently led to my purchasing a book I never would have found out about otherwise.

Follow Dave on Twitter here or on his website.

Joey Connolly

Photo by Nicci Cloke

Joey Connolly grew up in Sheffield and now lives in London. He has been a writing fellow at the University of Manchester, the manager of the Poetry Book Fair and the Digital Editor of Poetry London. His first book of poems, Long Pass, was published by Carcanet in 2017. His criticism has appeared in many places, including The Poetry Review, PN Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The Warwick Review and numerous other reviews.

Why voters think he should win:


Elucidates and translates complex works

Follow Joey on Twitter and his website.

Jade Cuttle

Jade Cuttle read Modern & Medieval Literature at University of Cambridge, graduating with 1st Class Honours. She‘s performed her poetry on Radio 3 in association with BBC Proms and been commissioned for other BBC podcasts like celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary. A double recipient of the Foyle Young Poet Award, 1st place winner in BBC Proms’ Poetry Competition, and placed in competitions run by Ledbury Poetry Festival & Poetry Book Society, she was Poet-in-Residence for Ilkley Literature Festival 2017 with Daljit Nagra and was selected by Ledbury Poetry Festival as an Emerging Poetry Critic.

Why voters think she should win:

Jade can only ever provide a depth of analysis that makes the reader not only understand but feel all the faucets of a piece of writing. Superb work and well worthy of this honour

Sensitivity, originality, great and creative critical thinking

You can follow her on Twitter or her website.

Sandeep Parmar

Photo: University of Liverpool

Sandeep Parmar is Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool. She holds a PhD from University College London and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Her research interests are primarily modernist women’s writing and contemporary poetry and race. Her books include: Reading Mina Loy’s Autobiographies: Myth of the Modern Woman, scholarly editions for Carcanet Press of the Collected Poems of Hope Mirrlees and The Collected Poems of Nancy Cunard as well as two books of her own poetry: The Marble Orchard and Eidolon, winner of the Ledbury Forte Prize for Best Second Collection. Her essays and reviews have appeared in the Guardian, The Los Angeles Review of Books, the Financial Times and the Times Literary Supplement. She is a BBC New Generation Thinker and Co-Director of Liverpool’s Centre for New and International Writing. In 2017, she founded the Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics Scheme for BAME reviewers and the Citizens of Everywhere project which focuses on broadening ideas of citizenship and belonging.

Why voters think she should win:

Sandeep’s work is incisive and thoughtful. She has done so much to open up the critical arena.

Sandeep is leading the way for positive representational change in the critical community, and all while writing extraordinarily insightful, knowledgeable and accessible crit. One of the finest in the business.

You can follow her on Twitter!