Published authors are being urged to enter the prestigious 2012 Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story.

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

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

The 2011 winner was Graham Mort, also known as one of contemporary poetry’s finest practitioners. His collection Touch, which was praised for its deep sensitivity to both the natural world and to human relationships.  Graham will serve as a judge in 2012, alongside writer and critic Suzi Feay.

There is also a Readers’ Choice category, which last year went to Tom Vowler, assistant editor of the literary journal Short FICTION, for his first short story collection The Method and Other Stories. This year, for the first time, the Reader’s Choice prize will be judged by creative writing students at the university.

Other previous winners and shortlisted authors include Jeremy Dyson, Robert Shearman, Helen Simpson, 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: “In the six years since it was founded, the Edge Hill Prize has become an important accolade for short story writers in the UK.  I’m looking forward, once more, to a range of entries from new names and established figures, all of them exploring the diversity and accessibility of this great literary form.”

The prize has three categories:

  • The main literary award of £5,000. A panel of judges will choose the winner from a shortlist of five collections to be announced in May.
  • The £1,000 Readers’ Choice, 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. Collections must be published during 2011. For more information, please contact Ailsa Cox on 01695 584121 or email carys.bray@edgehill.ac.uk.