Some of the biggest names in the literary world have entered their works in the prestigious Edge Hill University’s Short Story Prize 2011.

The unique accolade, now in its fifth year, is the UK’s only literary award that recognises a published collection of short stories and has attracted entries from a number of distinguished writers and newcomers all competing for the winning title.

This year’s long-list has on it an impressive range of award-winning writers, including well-known short story authors Helen Simpson, Michele Roberts and James Kelman.  They are against newcomers such as Roshi Fernando and Tom Vowler who already have prizes under their belts. Also on the list are several doctors, a librarian, a former bus driver and a former debt advisor.

Jeremy Dyson, the 2010 winner of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize and who is on the judging panel for this year’s awards, said: “The variety of work that has been submitted this year is very impressive, and I am sure it is going to be very difficult to whittle it down to a shortlist, let alone to pick a winner.  Having won the prize last year, I appreciate how much this prize can mean for a writer

“I’d just like to thank Edge Hill for running this award, it is hugely important and highlights that the short story is publishable and it is popular. It is the oldest form of writing and I hope that people recognise and celebrate this.”

Names on the long-list are as follows:

  • Martin Bax – Memoirs of a Gone World (Salt Publishing). The world-renowned Consultant Paediatrician lives in London and, in addition to his medical career, is editor of the long-running literary journal Ambit which he founded.
  • Alan Beard – You Don’t Have to Say (Tindal Street Press). The librarian from Birmingham City University has had the bug for writing from the age of nine and recently had his second collection published to rave reviews.
  • Peter Bromley – Sky Light and Other Stories (Biscuit). Winner of the Biscuit International Short Fiction Prize in 2009, he walks, writes and runs in North Northumberland.
  • Jo Cannon – Insignificant Gestures (Pewter Rose Press). The doctor from Essex initially joined a reflective writing group for medics and has just had her debut collection published.
  • Roshi Fernando – Homesick (Impress Books). The London writer won the 2009 Impress Prize for New Writers. She is also on the long-list for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2011.
  • David Gaffney – The Half-life of Songs (Salt Publishing). The debt advisor turned writer draws upon these experiences in his written work. He has also written a set of short operas, developed with classical composer Ailis Ni Riain.
  • Vanessa Gebbie – Storm Warning, Echoes of Conflict (Salt Publishing). The journalist and award-winning short fiction and flash fiction writer is also the editor of Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story.
  • James Kelman – If it is Your Life (Penguin). Also well known as a cultural and political activist, the Glaswegian won the Booker Prize in 1994 and in 2008 he won Scotland’s most prestigious literary award, the Saltire Society’s Book of the Year.
  • Andre Mangeot – True North (Salt Publishing). Prize-winner in the 2006 Peterloo and Wigtown/Scottish National poetry competitions, the Cambridge writer is also a member of the performance group, The Joy of Six.
  • Jay Merill – God of the Pigeons (Salt Publishing). The freelance editor from London has had her short stories published in a wide number of literary magazines in the UK and USA.
  • Magnus Mills – Screwtop Thompson (Bloomsbury). The former bus driver from Birmingham was also columnist for The Independent newspaper before becoming a novelist. He won the McKitterick Prize in 1999.
  • Graham Mort – Touch (Seren). The Lancashire-born creative writing professor is also acknowledged as one of contemporary verse’s most accomplished practitioners. He has written short fiction and radio drama for BBC Radio and also won the 2007 Bridport Prize.
  • Nik Perring – Not So Perfect (Roast Books). The author who lives Cheshire writes mostly short stories, which have been published widely in the UK and abroad and used in a distance learning creative writing course for US high school students.
  • Susannah Rickards – Hot Kitchen Snow (Salt Publishing). The short fiction writer and creative writing teacher won the Scott Prize in 2010 for her debut collection of short stories
  • Michele Roberts – Mud, Stories and Sex and Love (Virago). Winner of the WHSmith Literary Award, the half-English half-French writer is also Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.
  • Polly Samson – Perfect Lives (Virago). The London-born author and journalist has written lyrics for two number one albums. Married to Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, she has also been asked to judge several prestigious writing competitions.
  • Helen Simpson – (Random House). Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and the Hawthornden Prize, she was also selected as one of Granta’s top 20 novelists under the age of 40 in 1993. Inflight Entertainment is her fifth short story collection.
  • Fiona Thackeray – The Secret’s in the Folding (Pewter Rose Press). The Edinburgh-born writer who runs a national charity has won prizes in the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday ‘Shorts’ competitions. In 2007 she travelled to Poland to give readings at the International Book Festival
  • Tom Vowler – The Method and Other Stories (Salt Publishing). Winner of the Scott Prize 2010 for this début short fiction collection, he is assistant editor of the literary journal Short FICTION.
  • Susie Wild – The Art of Contraception (Parthian). The writer, editor and journalist has written for many national publications including The Guardian. Her debut short film, featuring her poem Dim Smoking Girls, won The Co-op Award for New Directors at Beyond TV Festival 2007.

The short-list will be revealed in May and the winners announced at an award ceremony at the Blackwell Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, in July.

The judging panel this year includes: Scriptwriter and short story author Jeremy Dyson, who is best known as co-creator of the hit West End play Ghost Stories and as a member of the sketch comedy team The League of Gentlemen; Author, presenter and journalist Stuart Maconie, who is currently a columnist for Radio Times, Cumbria Life and Country Walking; and Marcus Gipps, previously of Blackwell books, now an editor at Gollancz.

This year’s prize has three categories:

  • The main literary award of £5,000. Judges will choose the winner from the shortlist of five collections.
  • The £1,000 Readers’ Prize chosen by pupils and community groups. They will announce their winner from the same shortlist as the main panel.
  • The Edge Hill University MA Creative Writing Prize of £500, which will be awarded to the most outstanding short story submission by a current student.