Last year's winner Sarah Hall picks up her award at the ceremony in London.

Last year’s winner Sarah Hall picks up her award at the ceremony in London.

A number of literary heavyweights feature on this year’s shortlist for the prestigious Edge Hill Short Story Prize.

Among the finalists for the £5,000 prize are Irish writer Kevin Barry, last year’s Sunday Times Short Story Prize winner, Jon McGregor, winner of the 2012 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Even The Dogs, Emma Donoghue, who was Booker Prize shortlisted for Room and award-winning novelist Jane Rogers.

To reflect the strong showing of talented writers, this year’s shortlist has been extended to six names and also includes Adam Marek, winner of the 2011 Arts Foundation Short Story Fellowship, and Lucy Wood with her debut collection Diving Belles.

The final list of nominated authors and short story collections competing for the prize are:

  • Kevin Barry – Dark Lies The Island (Jonathan Cape)
  • Emma Donoghue – Astray (Pan Macmillan)
  • Adam Marek – The Stone Thrower (Comma Press)
  • Jon McGregor – This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You (Bloomsbury)
  • Jane Rogers – Hitting Trees With Sticks (Comma Press)
  • Lucy Wood – Diving Belles (Bloomsbury)

Prize co-ordinator Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “Writers and their publishers are recognising the significance of this prize, unique in the British book world. This year we saw the biggest and the most impressive long-list we’ve ever had and it was so difficult to whittle the finalists down to our usual five that we decided to extend the nominees to six. It’s been an extraordinary year for short story publishing, with strong showings from both established writers and debut collections. Picking an overall winner from such a diverse list is going to be harder than ever for the three judges.”

Now in its seventh year, the Edge Hill Prize is the only UK award that recognises excellence in a published collection of short stories.

The judging panel includes the 2012 award-winning writer Sarah Hall, alongside Scottish author and literary critic Lesley McDowell and Jim Lee, Regional Buyer at Waterstones.

The prize has three categories:

  • The main literary award of £5,000.
  • 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.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 4th July at Waterstones Piccadilly, London.

Short biographies for the five writers are as follows:

  • Kevin Barry. The Limerick native got his start as a journalist for a local paper. He went on to do freelance work, columns and sketches for Glasgow’s Sunday Herald, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Times and The Guardian. After leaving journalism to write fiction, Barry published his first collection of short stories, There Are Little Kingdoms, which won the 2007 Rooney Prize for Literature. His novel, City of Bohane, is shortlisted for the 2013 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
  • Emma Donoghue. Born in Dublin in 1969, the award-winning writer is now living in Canada with her family. She is best known for her Booker short-listed novel, Room (2010) which an international best-seller, and her work has been translated into over forty languages. Astray is her fourth short story collection.  From the age of 23, she has earned her living as a writer, and in her own words has been “lucky enough to never have an honest job since I was sacked after a single summer month as a chambermaid”.
  • Adam Marek. The award-winning short story writer won the 2011 Arts Foundation Short Story Fellowship, and was shortlisted for the inaugural Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. His first story collection Instruction Manual for Swallowing was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Prize. His stories have appeared in many magazines, including Prospect and The Sunday Times Magazine.
  • Jon McGregor. Based in Nottingham, McGregor was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Prize in 2010 and 2011. His first novel, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, was longlisted for the Booker Prize, making him its youngest contender. In 2012, his third novel, Even the Dogs, was awarded the International Dublin Literary Award. The New York Times has labelled him a “wicked British writer”.
  • Jane Rogers. The Manchester-based novelist and scriptwriter has published seven novels, including Mr Wroe’s Virgins, Island and The Testament of Jessie Lamb. She also writes original television and radio drama, and has adapted work for radio and TV. The title story of her shortlisted collection was a finalist in the BBC National Short Story Competition 2009. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Professor of Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, and a mentor for Gold Dust.
  • Lucy Wood. Lucy Wood’s Diving Belles is a debut collection. Lucy grew up in Cornwall and has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Exeter University. Many of the stories in the collection are based on her fascination with ancient folklore.