Professor Ailsa Cox with Edge Hill Prize winner Daisy Johnson

Daisy Johnson was this evening named as the winner of the £10,000 Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story at an exclusive event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Johnson’s collection Fen (Cape), whose stories are set in an uncanny and weirdly magical East Anglian landscape, was chosen from a shortlist of five, which also included collections from Lucy Caldwell (Multitudes – Faber), Irenosen Okjie (Speak Gigantular – Jacaranda), K. J. Orr (Light Box – Daunt) and Joanna Walsh (Vertigo – And Other Stories).

Daisy Johnson said: “This is the first prize I’ve won for the collection and it is such a privilege. I am honoured to be among so many amazing female short story writers, and I hope to be involved with Edge Hill again in the future.” 

Edge Hill Short Story Prize is the only UK-based award that recognizes excellence in published short story collections and also includes a £1,000 Reader’s Choice Award to an author from the shortlist, which went to Lucy Caldwell for Multitudes (Faber).

Prize organiser Ailsa Cox, the world’s first Professor of Short Fiction at Edge Hill University, said: “Every one of the finalists is a fresh and exciting new voice, proving that the best and most innovative fiction-writing happening today is in the short story form. This has been a bumper year for the prize. The standard of entries has been astonishing, and there are many other voices, who didn’t quite make the shortlist, that we’ll be hearing plenty more from. This year’s winner, Daisy Johnson, fuses fantasy and reality in a contemporary English landscape, working the language like clay. The love of language and the emotional drive of all the finalists gives their stories a special potency that stays with you long after you have reached the end.”

This year’s judges were Thomas Morris (finalist, Edge Hill Prize 2016), Cathy Galvin (Director and Founder, The Word Factory) and Dr Rodge Glass (Reader in Literary Fiction, Edge Hill University).

The 2016 award was bestowed on Jessie Greengrass for The Decline of the Great Auk According to One Who Saw It. The other shortlisted authors were Kate Clanchy, Stuart Evers, China Miéville, Thomas Morris and Angela Readman.