Five diverse writers have been shortlisted for the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize 2010.

The unique accolade, now in its fourth year, is the UK’s only literary award that recognises a published collection of short stories.

This year’s event, which also celebrates Edge Hill University’s 125th anniversary celebrations, attracted entries from a number of distinguished writers and newcomers and the shortlist reflects the sheer variety of talented names in the short story world.

The shortlist is:

  • Jeremy Dyson, The Cranes that Build Cranes, Little Brown
  • Jane Feaver, Love Me Tender, Harvill Secker
  • A.L. Kennedy, What Becomes, Jonathan Cape
  • Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Nude, Salt Publishing
  • Robert Shearman, Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical, Big Finish

Competition co-ordinator Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “We’re delighted by the quality and diversity of the shortlist. Some of these names are already familiar such as Jeremy Dyson, Rob Shearman and A.L Kennedy. A good short story is intense and exciting, sometimes sad and often very comic.  The The five collections all have these vital ingredients – so I predict that judging will be difficult this year.”

The judging panel this year includes: Professor Tanya Byron, writer, psychologist and Edge Hill University’s Chancellor; Katharine Fry, Trade Buying Manager at Blackwell; and 2009 winner Chris Beckett.

Co-sponsored by Blackwell, the 2010 prize has three categories: the main literary award of £5,000; the £1,000 Readers’ Prize; and a new prize which will reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course.

The winners will be announced on 8th July at an awards ceremony in July at Blackwell’s Charing Cross bookstore in London.

Biographies for the five shortlisted writers are as follows:

Jeremy Dyson

Born in Leeds, he is the co-founder of the multiple award-winning TV series, The League of Gentlemen. Jeremy co-wrote and co-created the highly acclaimed comedy drama series Funland with Simon Ashdown which was nominated for a BAFTA.  He received a further BAFTA nomination – with the rest of the creative team – for his work on BBC1’s Armstrong and Miller Show and in 2008 he contributed his version of Three Billy Goats Gruff to BBC1’s Fairy Tales series. Jeremy has also pursued a successful solo career as a writer.  He has produced two works of fiction: an acclaimed collection of short stories Never Trust a Rabbit (2000) which was nominated for the Macmillan Silver Pen award, an equally acclaimed novel What Happens Now (2006) which was nominated for the Goss First Novel award. Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s sell-out, critically acclaimed play, Ghost Stories, is currently on at the Lyric Theatre in London’s Hammersmith and will soon move to the West End.

A.L. Kennedy

The author of five previous novels, two books of non-fiction, and threecollections of short stories, A.L. Kennedy’s most recent book, Day, was theCosta Book of the Year. The writer and comedian has twice been selected as one of Granta’s Bestof Young British Novelists and has won many prizes including the LannanLiterary Award, the Austrian State Prize for European Literature, theSomerset Maugham Award, the Encore Award and the Saltire Scottish Book of theYear Award. She lives in Glasgow and is a part-time lecturer in creativewriting at Warwick University.

Jane Feaver

Born in Durham in 1964, after reading English at universityJaneworked at the Pitt Rivers Museum and then in the Poetry Department atFaber and Faber. In 2001 she moved to Devon with her daughter.

Nuala Ní Chonchúir

The full-time fiction writer and poet lives in Galway county and has published two collections of short fiction and two poetry collections – one in an anthology and her début novel You was published by New Island in April 2010. Nuala holds a BA in Irish from Trinity College Dublin and a Masters in Translation Studies (Irish/English) from Dublin City University. She has worked as an art administrator in theatre and in a writers’ centre, as a translator, as a bookseller and also in a university library. Nuala teaches creative writing on a part-time basis.

Robert Shearman

The award-winning writer for stage, television and radio is probably best known for his work on Doctor Who, bringing the Daleks back to the screen in the BAFTA winning first series of the revival in an episode nominated for a Hugo. He was resident playwright at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter, and regular writer for Alan Ayckbourn at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Easy Laughter won the Sunday Times Playwriting Award, Fool to Yourself the Sophie Winter Memorial Trust Award, and Binary Dreamers the Guinness Award for Ingenuity in association with the Royal National Theatre. For radio he is a regular contributor to the afternoon play slot, produced by Martin Jarvis, and his series The Chain Gang has won two Sony awards. His first collection of short stories, Tiny Deaths, was published by Comma Press in 2007and won the World Fantasy Award for best collection. It was also shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize and nominated for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize.