Jessie Greengrass has been named the winner of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2016 with her debut collection An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk According to One Who Saw It (JM Originals) taking home the £10,000 main prize.
An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk According to One Who Saw It includes twelve stories about those who are lonely, estranged, or out of time. There are hauntings, both literal and metaphorical; and acts of cruelty and neglect but also of penance.
Receiving her award from judging panel member Billy Cowan, Jessie said she was grateful and overwhelmed by the announcement.
“I am so excited and very shocked to be named the winner of this years’ Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Just to be shortlisted and recognised alongside this list of incredible writers that also deserve recognition for their works, is by far the greatest achievement of my career.
“Finding the ideas and translating them at my computer can be difficult, but winning the Prize and knowing that there is an audience who enjoy these ideas and words makes this much easier to keep doing every day,” she said.
The Edge Hill Prize remains the only UK based award that recognizes excellence in a published short story collection. This year has seen established names competing alongside relative newcomers for the 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.
This year’s judging panel included winner of the 2015 Prize, Kirsty Gunn; Cathy Galvin, Founder and Director of The Word Factory; and Edge Hill University Creative Writing Lecturer, Billy Cowan. The winner was announced at Waterstones bookshop in Piccadilly.
Ailsa Cox, Edge Hill Prize founder and Professor of Short Fiction at Edge Hill University congratulated Jessie Greengrass on being named the 2016 recipient.
“Amongst these masters of the form, Greengrass stands out as a fresh and wholly original talent. She is a writer of the mind, exploring dangerous territory with spare elegance. She breaks all the rules, writing with great subtlety about the human condition and the fragility of nature.
“The short story is fiction in its purest form. The proof is in this year’s shortlist and in the diversity of writers the prize has celebrated over the last decade.
“Ten years ago we spoke about the short story as an endangered species, not unlike the Great Auk in Greengrass’s collection. But unlike the Great Aulk, the short story has become more visible than ever. Congratulations to Jessie for continuing its great tradition,” she said.
Cathy Galvin, Founder and Director of The Word Factory, the UK’s leading promoter of excellence in short fiction writing and co-host of the Edge Hill Prize celebration event said was proud to support the Prize.
“It’s an honour to support the Edge Hill Prize – the leading award for a single collection of stories. As the Word Factory members and writers understand so well, the short story is flourishing as a form and as a focus for excellence in literature. The quality and range of this year’s shortlist was breath-taking,” she said.
As well as the Main Literary Award of £10,000 won by Jessie Greengrass, a £1,000 Reader’s Choice award was presented to China Mieville whose collection Three Moments of an Explosion (Pan Macmillan), features twenty-eight stories that suggest the world is not just strange, but stranger than we can ever really comprehend.
The winner of an additional category worth £500 acknowledging rising talents on Edge Hill University’s own MA Creative Writing course was announced as Adam Hampton for his story Glass.