Eddie Price and Kate Wilson (2nd Year Creative Writing Students) report on their visit to London to attend the Edge Hill Short Story Prize award ceremony.

On Friday 25th October 2019, we were part of a group of students from Edge Hill University who travelled down to London to attend the Edge Hill Short Story Prize award ceremony. The event, which was funded by the Students’ Opportunity Fund, was a valuable opportunity for us to network, engage and learn from modern, contemporary writers and other like-minded students. It was also useful to gain real-world experience of networking at a major literary event and socializing with all involved.

The award ceremony was held in Waterstones, Piccadilly, where each shortlisted author read out excerpts of their work to the crowd. Armed with a complementary glass of red wine, we gathered before the podium and listened to the inspirational and engaging stories. With many of us hoping to  perform our own work someday, in a public reading, this was very useful to us. The judges championed the form of short stories and everyone celebrated the fantastic work being done in this area.

After David Szalay was announced as the winner for his collection Turbulence, which also won the Reader’s Choice Award, the ceremony went on to highlight the excellent and upcoming talent of the current Creative Writing MA students who were also in attendance. Seeing other students being recognised for their work was yet another fantastic incentive for everyone on the Creative Writing BA course.

The ceremony came to an end and the students were invited along to the fifth floor for a more social and informal event where they had an opportunity to chat with the authors and judges as well as other figures such as editors and publishing representatives, all of whom are connected to the growing community of short literary fiction. A hive of opportunity for all would be writers. We spoke with the authors and got tips on how to stay calm and appear confident when reading to a live audience as well as having the opportunity to purchase some of the books and have them signed. Having that chance to speak to published authors regarding their written works, their career journeys and receiving advice, was invaluable.

The experience really motivated and encouraged us to keep developing our writing and work towards a career in publishing. The students bonded with each other as well, forming important relationships that will only benefit and nurture our development.