The shortlist for the Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story 2015 has been confirmed ahead of a ceremony naming the overall winner on 2 July.
This year’s shortlist features six titles, from authors Toby Litt, Anneliese Mackintosh, Carys Davies, Madeleine D’Arcy, Rose Tremain and Kirsty Gunn, including two debut collections.
Toby Litt has been shortlisted for his collection Life-Like (Seagull Books). The novelist and short story writer from Bedfordshire’s novels include Beatniks, Corpsing, Deadkidsongs, Finding Myself, Journey into Space, and King Death. Short story collections include Adventures in Capitalism, Exhibitionism and I Play the Drums in a Band Called Okay. In 2001, Litt edited The Outcry, Henry James’ last completed novel, for Penguin in the UK. Litt’s Life-Like is a collection of 26 short stories that explore our globalizing and atomizing world, with stories set in India, Sweden, Australia, and Iran.
Anneliese Mackintosh’s Any Other Mouth (Freight) is her first book, and a semi-autobiographical collection. Her writing explores sexuality, grief, women, relationships, mental health, addiction, and recovery. Any Other Mouth won the Green Carnation Prize and has been featured in The Herald’s Books of the Year 2014, The Scotsman’s Favourite Books of 2014, The List’s Top Scottish Books of 2014, Civilian’s The Best Books of 2014, and has been voted Top 10 in The Guardian’s The Readers’ 10 Best Books of the Year.
Lancashire-based Welsh writer Carys Davies’ The Redemption of Galen Pike (Salt) is a collection of 17 stories which centre on how little we know of other people and the unpredictable bonds that spring between us when our worlds collide. Before becoming a fiction writer, Davies worked as a journalist in New York and Chicago. Her short stories have been widely published in magazines and anthologies, as well as having been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Davies’ publications have won the Society of Authors’ Olive Cook Award, the Royal Society of Literature’s V S Pritchett Prize, and a Northern Writers’ Award, in addition to being shortlisted and longlisted for many other prizes.
Irish writer Madeleine D’Arcy’s debut collection Waiting for the Bullet (Doire Press), featuring stories set in Cork, London, and New York, is also shortlisted. Her works have appeared in Sunday Tribune, Made in Heaven and Other Short Stories, Sharp Sticks, Irish Examiner, Necessary Fiction, and Irish Independent, among many others. D’Arcy’s short story Dog Pound has been made into a short film featuring the distinguished Irish actor Frank Kelly. Her work has been short-listed and commended in many competitions, and in 2012 she received a Hennessy X.O Literary Award for First Fiction, as well as the overall Hennessy X.O Literary Award for New Irish Writer.
Rose Tremain’s shortlisted collection The American Lover (Chatto & Windus) contains stories that transport readers to Imperial Russia, Georgian Norfolk, Cornwall in the mid-Thirties, and Normandy in the wake of D-Day. She is also the author of a number of radio and television plays, including Temporary Shelter, which won a Giles Cooper Award, and One Night in Winter, first broadcast by BBC Radio 4 in 2001. Her novels include The Swimming Pool Season, Restoration, Sacred Country, and Music and Silence, among others. These novels won the Angel Literary Award, the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award, the Black Memorial Prize, the Whitbread Novel Award respectively. Tremain has published several collections of short stories. She was chosen as one of the 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists’ by literary magazine Granta in 1983, and was a judge for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1988 and 2000. Tremain was awarded a CBE in 2007.
Kirsty Gunn’s shortlisted collection Infidelities (Faber & Faber) includes stories about love, marriage, and beyond. Originally from New Zealand but now settled in London and Scotland, Kirsty has written five works of fiction, including short stories and a collection of fragments and meditations. Furthermore, her stories have been broadcast, turned into film and dance theatre, and have been the recipients of various prizes and awards, including Scottish Book of the Year 1997. Gunn is also Professor of Writing Practice and Study at the University of Dundee and regularly contributes to a range of international newspapers and magazines.
Now in its ninth year, the Edge Hill Short Story Prize it is the only UK award that recognises excellence in a published collection of short stories and has attracted established names competing alongside relative newcomers for the £5,000 main prize, a £1,000 Readers’ Prize and an additional category worth £500 acknowledging rising talents on Edge Hill University’s own MA Creative Writing course. The winners will be announced at a ceremony at London’s Free Word Centre on Thursday 2 July.
Dr Ailsa Cox, organiser of the Prize and Reader in English & Writing at Edge Hill University said: “There’s an astounding variety of styles and subject matter. Some collections link the stories in new, inventive ways; all take daring imaginative leaps. The decision to shortlist 6 instead of 5 reflects the diversity of short story writing today.”
The judges are The Guardian’s Chris Power, 2014 Readers’ Choice winner Rachel Trezise and Edge Hill’s Dr Ailsa Cox.
The 2014 winner was John Burnside with his collection Something Like Happy (Jonathan Cape). Judge Kevin Barry described the work as “A tremendous collection from a writer working at the full tilt of his gifts.” Other previous winners and shortlisted authors include Kevin Barry, David Rose, Bernie McGill, Sarah Hall, Jeremy Dyson, Graham Mort, Robert Shearman and Helen Simpson.