We are delighted to announce that Francesca Martinez is joining this year's judging panel for the 2016/17 Shine a Light Awards.

Francesca Martinez

francescamartinez

Francesca is a wobbly* comedian, writer and speaker who has toured internationally with sell-out runs at The Melbourne Comedy Festival, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal. 

She launched her comedy career in 2000 beating a thousand UK comedians, including Mathew Horne, Karl Theobald and Jimmy Carr, to become the first and only woman to win the Open Mic Award.

She has performed in Australia, Ireland, France, South Africa, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, in Hollywood and on Broadway, and at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland alongside actress Emma Thompson.

Since featuring in five series of BBC1's Grange Hill, Francesca has appeared on ITV's The Frank Skinner Show and BBC3's Russell Howard’s Good News, starred opposite Kate Winslet in BBC2's Extras, headlined ITV's The Jonathan Ross Show, and guested on ITV's Lorraine, Loose Women and This Morning, Channel 5's The Wright Stuff and Channel 4's Very British Problems.

Last year, she opened Series 11 of BBC2's Live At The Apollo, guested on BBC1's Celebrity Pointless, and wrote a play commemorating Shakespeare's birth for BBC Radio 3. This year she has commissions to write plays for BBC Radio 4 and the National Theatre.

Francesca Martinez's Wobbly Manifesto

Her best selling first book, also called What The **** Is Normal?!, was published by Random House in 2014, with a paperback release in May 2015. Nominated Best Book in the Chortle Comedy Awards 2015, and runner up in the Bread & Roses Book Award 2015, the book is garnering rave reviews from both critics and the general public:

A regular commentator on TV and radio, Francesca delivers motivational and after dinner speeches across the globe – in 2005 she was nominated for the 'Motivator Of The Year' Award along with Sir Bob Geldof.

She was awarded Public Affairs Achiever Of The Year 2013, and in 2014 was nominated a Top Ten Game Changer in BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour Power List, and Hero Of The Year in the European Diversity Awards.

Francesca has been invited to speak at the Oxford Union, recorded a Tedx talk, and collected 100,000 signatures for the WOW campaign leading to a historic debate on welfare cuts in the House of Commons.

In 2015 she received a standing ovation at the Cambridge Union, an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University 'for making Britain a more compassionate and fairer society', and another in 2016 from Bradford University.

*Oh yeah, she has mild cerebral palsy but she much prefers the word ‘wobbly’.

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Date posted: February 1, 2017

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