Published authors are being urged to enter the prestigious 2011 Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story.

The award, now in its fifth year, is organised by Edge Hill University and recognises excellence in a published single author short story collection.

It is unique in the UK as it is the only such award for a published short story collection from a British/Irish author.

Famous screenwriter and co-creator of The League of Gentlemen Jeremy Dyson was the 2010 winner, with his collection of macabre short stories, The Cranes that Build the Cranes.

There is also a Readers’ Prize category, which last year went to Robert Shearman who writes for the popular Dr Who TV series. This prize is judged by north-west readers’ groups and sixth formers.

Other previous winners and shortlisted authors include Neil Gaiman, Chris Beckett, Colm Toibin and Claire Keegan.

Prize co-ordinator Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “Each year the competition grows stronger and stronger as more writers recognise the significance of this unique award for the short story. I’m sure this year will be no exception and I’m confident that in our fifth year we will attract entries from a diverse range of writers, including familiar household names through to virtually unheard of new talent.”

Sponsored by Blackwell, the 2011 prize will have three categories:

  • The main literary award of £5,000, plus an original piece of artwork specially commissioned by Blackwell. A panel of judges will choose the winner from a shortlist of five collections.
  • The £1,000 Readers’ Prize, chosen from the same shortlist.
  • A £500 student prize which will reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course.

Publishers are invited to submit collections for consideration up to the closing date of 1st March 2011. Collections must be published during 2010. For more information, please contact Carys Bray on 01695 584121 or email carys.bray@edgehill.ac.uk.