Best of young British

Who will be shaping the Britain of the future? We've asked panels of five experts in each of the fie

Aged 25 or under

Our Judges: Keith Blackmore, executive sports editor, the Times. Mark Perryman, author, editor and research fellow in sport and leisure culture at the University of Brighton. Simon O'Hagan, sports writer and former sports editor, the Independent on Sunday.

Jason Cowley, sports correspondent for the Scandinavian magazine Scanorama. Robert Winder, cricket writer and New Statesman sports columnist.

Keith Blackmore nominates:

Jonny Wilkinson Rugby Union for England and Newcastle, b.1979

Some would say he is already the best fly-half in the world (he is certainly the best goal-kicker), but he is getting better all the time. Great talent and a phlegmatic temperament should win over the rest in the years ahead.

Owais Shah cricketer for Middlesex and England, b.1979

First picked for an England A tour when he was 18, he has blossomed for Middlesex this season and made an impressive debut for the full England one-day team in the recent triangular series.

Mark Perryman nominates:

Mark Lewis-Francis athlete, b.1982

When he won the World Junior Athletics Championships 100m last year, Lewis-Francis had already recorded a world best for a 17-year-old. He sensibly turned down the chance to join the 2000 Sydney Olympic squad in order to develop his junior career.

Ashley Cole footballer for Arsenal and England, b.1980

Cole may be battling for his club place as left-back with the Brazilian international Silvinhio, but he has caught the eye of England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, and has been hugely impressive so far in his two starts for the national side.

Simon O'Hagan nominates:

Michael Owen footballer for Liverpool and England, b.1980

Extraordinary to think that Michael Owen is still only 21. The boy seemed to grow into a man in the few seconds it took him to split open the Argentinian defence in the 1998 World Cup and score one of the greatest goals in the competition's history. The two goals with which he gave Liverpool a dramatic victory over Arsenal in this year's FA Cup final showed his sense of occasion was intact.

Elena Baltacha tennis player, b.1984

Still only 17, Elena Baltacha reached the national championship semi-finals last year, and made her Wimbledon debut this week. Her coach, Alan Jones, says that Baltacha has the commitment, and the serve, to "go a very long way".

Robert Winder nominates:

Steven Gerrard footballer, b.1978

Liverpool's hard-driving young star has a dominating look about him. It's almost like having a German in our midfield.

Justin Rose golfer, b.1974

That terrific finish in the British Open might have been beginner's luck, but his subsequent struggle has been a Bunyanesque pilgrimage through the humbling lower regions of golf.

Jason Cowley nominates:

Richard Johnson National Hunt jockey, b.1978

This talented young horseman has emerged as the main contender to the champion jockey Tony McCoy. He was fearless when he rode Looks Like Trouble to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup last year.

Titus Bramble footballer for Ipswich Town, b.1981

Bramble was outstanding in the Ipswich team, which took everyone by surprise in the Premiership last season. He is a defender with pace, strength and superb natural technique.

Aged 35 or under

Our Judges: Andrew Holgate, deputy literary editor, the Sunday Times. Erica Wagner, literary editor, the Times. Jason Cowley, literary editor, the New Statesman. Toby Mundy, publishing director, Grove Atlantic UK, and critic. Robert McCrum, literary editor, the Observer.

Andrew Holgate nominates:

Zadie Smith novelist, b.1975

No one who has read her phenomenal debut novel, White Teeth, can fail to be impressed by the confidence and exuberance of this young author. She writes with an American expansiveness that makes most other British writers seem parochial.

Andrew O'Hagan novelist and journalist, b.1968

The author of a Booker-shortlisted novel, Our Fathers, and a stylised memoir, The Missing, O'Hagan is not only a sensitive prose stylist, but a writer drawn to important and difficult subjects, such as his recent investigation into the plight of British farming.

Erica Wagner nominates:

Andrea Ashworth autobiographer, b.1969

Her first book, Once in a House on Fire, published in 1999, is her memoir of growing up in the Eighties in working-class Manchester, with a series of stepfathers after her own father drowned when she was five. Unusually for such a book, she is able to bring both immediacy and distance to her experience.

Amanda Foreman biographer, b.1968

Took the literary world by storm in 1998 with Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire, her biography of this 18th-century It-girl: beauty, gambler, astute politician. Whitbread Biography of the Year, Georgiana was lively, yet scholarly.

Toby Mundy nominates:

Lucy Moore historian, b.1970

Imagine Amanda Foreman crossed with Simon Schama and you have Lucy Moore. Brilliant and vivacious, she is that rare thing: a scholar with a popular touch.

Brendan Simms historian, b.1967

An Irish historian based at Cambridge, Simms is an expert on British foreign policy and an original, elegant and unpredictable thinker. His first book, an examination of Britain's role in the Bosnian civil war, is set to be a publishing sensation.

Jason Cowley nominates:

Alex Garland novelist and scriptwriter, b.1970

Reported to be suffering from writer's block, which is perhaps understandable after the impact made by his first two books: The Beach, a dystopian thriller about the backpacking circuit in Thailand, which became a Hollywood film starring Leonardo di Caprio, and The Tesseract. Garland's talents could take him anywhere: backwards, into the realm of Hollywood melodrama, or forwards, into a Conradian landscape of genuine invention and darkness. I expect it to be the latter.

Pankaj Mishra novelist and essayist, b.1969

His fine debut novel, The Romantics, about a dreamy young man's journey into disappointed maturity in Benares, was somewhat lost in this country amid the hype generated by more exhibitionistic first novels; but it was exceptionally well received in America, where he has also established himself as a leading essayist in the model of V S Naipaul.

Robert McCrum nominates:

Candida Clark novelist, b.1970

Author of two impressive novels, The Last Look and The Constant Eye. As a writer, she is always high-spirited, imaginative and provocative.

Tobias Hill novelist and poet, b. 1970

One of the most hard-working, versatile and thoughtful writers at work today - the author of numerous poems (his collection Skin won the PEN/Macmillan Prize for Fiction in 1997). He has also written two substantial novels.

Aged 35 or under

Our Judges: Mike Slocombe, founder and editor of, a football, rave, drugs and direct action website. Mick Hume, editor, Spiked Online. Alexander Barley, journalist who writes about the anti-capitalist movement. Zac Goldsmith, editor, the Ecologist. Mark Thomas, comic and journalist.

Mike Slocombe nominates:

Vincent Bethell nudist, b.1972

It's amazing how the mere act of taking off one's clothes can create trouble for the authorities, but that is exactly what Vincent Bethell of the "Freedom to Be Yourself" campaign has been doing for years. He has strutted his stuff outside many a government and judicial office, endured endless arrests and suffered five months in solitary confinement in Brixton prison for refusing to wear prison clothes.

The angry cyclist b. circa 1980

Incensed by the wealthy property-owner Howard De Walden's sudden announcement that his bicycle would be removed if found locked to their street railings, our anonymous hero set upon revenge. Every day, ever more bizarre objects (including fluffy toys, ironing-boards and teapots) are found locked to the railings, with their installation and removal times documented on his hilarious website.

Mick Hume nominates:

Jennie Bristow broadcaster and journalist, b.1978

Former angry young woman and Daily Telegraph yoof columnist, now turning up all over the radio, TV, in print and online to upset her elders and ridicule the petty lifestyle obsessions of the "quarter-life crisis" twenty/thirtysomething brigade. Making waves on my website, Spiked.

Alan Miller maverick, b.1973

Runs the Vibe Bar, Brick Lane, and is a major player in east London's cultural renaissance. Just published his first novel, Seven Days in a Decade, an insider's take on the Acid House generation.

Alexander Barley nominates:

Ian Clarke internet networker, b.1970

The programmer behind Freenet, an internet file-sharing network that allows the free distribution of information. Users are anonymous and there is no central server and no main computer. Clarke's Freenet system is a real pain in the arse for the technology-scared recording industries, on the one hand, and repressive, censorial governments, on the other.

Simon Jones direct action campaigner, died 1998 aged 24

Simon Jones was killed in 1998, aged 24, on his first day as an untrained casual worker unloading cargo at the Shoreham dock of Euromin. The campaign of direct action mixed with political lobbying that followed his death may result in Euromin soon becoming one of the few companies ever to face corporate manslaughter charges.

Zac Goldsmith nominates:

Paul Kingsnorth anti-globalisation protester, b.1975

Earned his spurs taking part in the anti-road protests in the 1990s, and went on to become a journalist and later deputy editor of the Ecologist. Now he is leaving to follow the anti-globalisation movement and write a book about it.

Simon Retallack environmental activist, b.1976

Co-ordinates the work of the Climate Initiative Fund, a grant-making foundation. This involves him working with NGOs around the world to develop strategies to mitigate climate change. He has just completed a book on economic globalisation and its impact on the environment for the International Forum on Globalisation.

Mark Thomas nominates:

Deeder Zaman anti-racism campaigner, b.1980

Zaman used to be a rapper with Asian Dub Foundation, with whom he picked up a taste for campaigning against miscarriages of justice. Now, he is concentrating on combating racism.

SchNEWS newsletter, b. circa 1989

A Brighton-based weekly anarchist information sheet that began as a reaction to the Criminal Justice Bill and has kept the pressure on all efforts at oppressive measures and censorship.

Aged 35 or under

Our Judges: Julia Peyton-Jones, director, Serpentine Gallery. Richard Sennett, sociologist, cellist, professor and chairman of the Cities Programme at LSE. Sir Richard Eyre, former, artistic director, Royal National Theatre; film and TV director. Frances Stonor Saunders, arts editor, New Statesman. Sally Greene, theatre impresario, chief executive, Old Vic Theatre Trust.

Julia Peyton-Jones nominates:

Peter Davies painter, b.1970

A "painter", but he doesn't use paint, or even a brush, but works on a two-dimensional surface which he scores, or cuts, creating the most extraordinary shapes or marks, so that it becomes like a relief.

D J Simpson painter, b.1973

His works are both text-based and abstract. He cites other artists in his work, often ironically. Any young artist today who chooses to take on the huge history of painting has great courage.

Richard Sennett nominates:

Deborah Bull dancer, b.1966

She has done what few dancers do: used her own artistic knowledge to enable younger artists to develop their skills as choreographers. As artistic director of the Clore Studio and the Linbury Studio at Covent Garden, she is running one of the most innovative programmes for artists about making art (and not just selling it).

Eric Parry architect, b.1966

Here is an architect who actually likes beauty. His work is familiar if you live in Cambridge or Kuala Lumpur, but his career is now taking off in London. He has designed studios converted from an old launderette for the artists Anthony Gormley and Tom Phillips, and his Southwark Gateway project near London Bridge - a sort of bridge-cum-sculpture - is fantastic.

Sir Richard Eyre nominates:

"Everyone has talent at 25," said Degas. "The difficulty is to have it at 50." The two most talented people I know under 35 and have worked with are Patrick Marber (playwright, b.1967) and Kate Winslet (actress, b.1973). They have talent, character and stamina, and will still be doing good work when they are 50.

Frances Stonor Saunders nominates:

Katherine Tozer actress, b.1970

Tozer is a young actress I first saw as Rebecca in a private performance of Harold Pinter's Ashes to Ashes. She then went on to appear in Celebration, and most recently played the grown-up Joan in Caryl Churchill's Far Away at the Royal Court. She's got what all great actors have got - transparency.

Nina Raine playwright, b.1975

A young playwright and trainee director at the Royal Court, where she has assisted David Hare, Stephen Daldry, Ian Rickson and Katie Mitchell, Raine's tenure has just been extended for a further six months. Her play, Service, was given a rehearsed reading at the Royal Court: pitch-perfect dialogue and marvellously funny.

Sally Greene nominates:

Damian Lewis actor, b.1974

Started off as a spear-carrier for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and has worked his way through the Almeida and the Donmar Warehouse. Destined for overnight stardom when he plays the lead in the blockbuster mini-series Band of Brothers, directed by Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg.

Kate Pakenham associate producer, b.1973

Kate worked in television, directing and producing for Channel 4, ITV and BBC1. She then moved to the theatre and, in six months at the Old Vic, she has made her mark by launching Old Vic/New Voices, a project to showcase and support new talent across the arts.

Aged 35 or under

Our Judges: Tim Bell, managing director, Bell Pottinger. Sir Alan Sugar, former chairman of Tottenham Hotspur and founder of the Amstrad computer firm. William Sieghart and Neil Mendoza, founders and managing directors of Forward Publishing Company. Adair Turner, former director-general, CBI; vice-chairman, Merryl Lynch. Annoushka Ducas, founder and creative director, Links of London.

Lord Bell nominates:

David Magliani marketing director, Go, b.1967

Crucial in creating and marketing the young, go-getting image of British Airways's fast-growing discount airline.

Charles Dunstone entrepreneur, b.1976

The retailing genius behind Carphone Warehouse has managed to triumph in a viciously competitive market sector.

William Sieghart and Neil Mendoza nominate:

Joel Cadbury entrepreneur, b.1972

He has just bought the Groucho Club and opened the groovy state of the art gym, The Third Space. Spots lifestyle trends before anyone else - and invests in them.

Dom Loehnis entrepreneur, b.1969

Co-founder and managing director of Monkey, a cross-platform entertainment production company.

Annoushka Ducas nominates:

Martha Lane Fox co-founder,, b.1970

She set up and is still running a company that will prove one of the few dotcoms to thrive. She is clearly a survivor.

Philip Tracey milliner, b.1972

He has put style back into hats and really made them essential to the catwalk for the first time since the 1950s.

Adair Turner nominates:

The dotcom rollercoaster has revealed young businessmen who combine entrepreurship with a sound operational management. Sean Corbett (b.1973) and James Twining (b.1974), founders of Group Trade, are two such people.

Sir Alan Sugar nominates:

Stelios Hadji-Ioannou entrepreneur, b.1977

Founder of EasyJet, who has cleverly ensured the growth of the Easy brand, taking in car-hire and internet cafes. I admire his vision and the way the Easy Group has maintained a down-to-earth image.

Charles Dunstone entrepreneur, b. 1976

Charles Dunstone is the founder of the Carphone Warehouse. His advertising in the early days, which positioned the Carphone Warehouse as the honest broker, appealed to the youth market, which was piling into the mobile phone revolution.

Aged 35 or under

Our Judges: Trevor Kavanagh, political editor, the Sun. Donald Macintyre, political commentator, the Independent. Catherine MacLeod, political editor, the Glasgow Herald and chair, Parliamentary Votes. Peter Riddell, political commentator, the Times. Jackie Ashley, political editor, the New Statesman.

Trevor Kavanagh nominates:

David Lammy MP, b.1973Labour, Tottenham.

Stole the show in the debate on the Queen's Speech.

Claire Ward MP, b.1973Labour, Watford.

Donald Macintyre nominates:

Ruth Kelly MP, b.1968

Labour, Bolton West. Appointed to the Treasury. A member of the IPPR's Commission on Public Private Partnerships.

Edward Davey MP, b.1965 Lib Dem, Kingston and Surbiton.

Catherine MacLeod nominates:

Douglas Alexander MP, b.1967 Labour, Paisley South.

Minister for e-commerce and competitiveness.

John Cruddas MP, b.1967Labour, Dagenham.

Downing Street's industrial relations adviser.

Jackie Ashley nominates:

Stephen Twigg MP, b.1968Labour, Enfield Southgate.

Junior Minister, Privy Council Office,

Lorna Fitzsimons MP, b.1967 Labour, Rochdale.

Peter Riddell nominates:

David Miliband MP, b.1970 Labour, South Shields.

Former head of the Downing Street Policy Unit; co-author of the Labour Party election manifesto.

George Osborne MP, b.1971 Conservative, Tatton.

Aged 35 or under

Our Judges: Jon Snow, broadcaster. Samir Shah, managing director, Juniper Television Productions. Rod Allen, head, City University Journalism Studies. Cristina Odone, deputy editor, New Statesman. Rachel Newsome, editor, Dazed and Confused.

Rod Allen nominates:

Brigid Nzekwu TV presenter, b.1972

Was on our broadcast course in 1996-7. A former producer on Big Breakfast, she has joined Channel 4 News as an on-screen presenter in, so far, the minor bulletins. She is energetic and dynamic: sure to take over from Sir Trevor within a few years.

Alastair Bykyn radio broadcaster, b.1972

Bykyn was here in the same year, and left to join Independent Radio News as a junior reporter. Today, he's reached the level of sports editor at IRN and is using his tremendous in-depth knowledge of sport to move up the hierarchy quickly.

Jon Snow nominates:

Jonathan Rugman Channel 4 business affairs correspondent, b.1967

A man to watch, though I say it at my peril. He's the first television correspondent to bring a truly holistic view to bear on the otherwise tedious world of business.

Michael Gove assistant editor, the Times, b.1967He has turned a skilled slow-burn into a high-quality, rip-roaring performance, both in terms of his position at the Times and in his accomplished offerings on television.

Rachel Newsome nominates:

Jon Morgan and Mike Watson managing directors, Bump advertising company. Morgan, b.1972; Watson, b.1968

When Morgan and Watson received the money for their first ad campaign with M&C Saatchi, they bought a pink jaguar and drove round London's Hoxton Square until the car blew up, or so the story goes. And it is precisely this anti-work ethic that informs their output. Nominally a graphic design company, Bump oscillates at the interface between art and advertising.

Debra Richards editor, BBC Music Online, b.1969

As editor of BBC Music Online, Debra Richards is both at the forefront of developing the BBC's multimedia remit and an anti-establishment voice whose unconventional ideas and working methods are crucial to BBC Radio's continued relevance.

Samir Shah nominates:

Dollan Cannell television producer, b.1968

Produced and directed this year's award-winning Exodus and last year's RTS- nominated Tony's New Boy Network. He brings a sharp mind and a modern sensibility to film-making. Cannell's documentaries are that rare combination of invention, revelation and intelligence.

Anil Gupta television producer, b.1968

Award-winning producer of Goodness Gracious Me. Now working with Ricky Gervais and Richard Blackwood, he hopes soon to be making comedy films.

Cristina Odone nominates:

Tristram Hunt journalist, b.1974

Michael Ignatieff, mark 2, this handsome, television-friendly intellectual is writing a series for BBC2 on the English civil war and, simultaneously, a book on Victorian cities.

Noreena Hertz Broadcaster and author, b.1972

With her book, The Silent Takeover, she has proved herself to be Britain's answer to Naomi Klein, and with her accompanying Channel 4 television programme she proved that she is a "personality" as well.

This article first appeared in the 02 July 2001 issue of the New Statesman, Best of young British