David Szalay with a copy of his short story collection Turbulence and the Edge Hill Short Story Prize.
David Szalay won the 2019 Edge Hill Short Story Prize and scooped the Reader’s Choice prize chosen by students. © Peter Stevens

The hotly anticipated winner of the prestigious Edge Hill Short Story Prize has been announced as David Szalay. 

David received the £10,000 prize for his collection of short stories entitled Turbulence at a special ceremony in Waterstones’ flagship store in Piccadilly, London on Friday (25 October). 

The Man Booker-shortlisted author of All That Man Is (2016) also won the £1,000 Reader’s Choice Award, chosen by a group of Edge Hill University students and alumni. 

Speaking at the event, David said: “It feels fantastic to win the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, and I’m just as happy to win the Reader’s Choice category voted for by students. It’s really special to win an award which is judged by aspiring writers themselves; that was wonderful.” 

David Szalay was born in 1974 in Quebec but his family later relocated to the UK where he studied at Oxford University. 

Szalay was awarded the Betty Trask and Geoffrey Faber prizes for his debut, London and the Southeast (2008), and won critical acclaim for The Innocent (2009) and Spring (2011). 

In 2013 Granta literary magazine named him as one of Britain’s 20 best young novelists. 

Turbulence (2018), originally commissioned as a series for BBC Radio 4 and edited by Justine Willett, follows the lives of 12 individual people on the move around the globe; they are each in turmoil and each life in some way touches the next. 

The Edge Hill Prize panel – which included acclaimed author and 2018 prize winner Tessa Hadley, co-founder of Galley Beggar Press Sam Jordison, and author and playwright Elizabeth Baines – commended David’s bravery and ability to inspire empathy in the reader. 

Sam Jordison said: “We all just really liked it, we loved it. Emotionally it worked, I found lots of the stories really quite moving. Once you’ve read one of the stories in the collection you feel like you’ve been through a whole life, a whole world, and then realise actually it’s only a few pages. 

“I was really impressed by the way David inhabited so many different lives and voices, which felt to me like a really brave thing to do. One of the magic things about this collection is that as a reader you feel like you’re really connecting with these people; that’s a really wonderful thing.” 

Edge Hill University student Tamsin James with her £500 MA prize award
Edge Hill University student Tamsin James won the MA Prize at this year’s Edge Hill Short Story Prize award ceremony

Also announced on the night was the winner of the Masters Prize which is given to a student studying Edge Hill University’s Masters in Creative Writing; Tamsin James was awarded £500 in recognition of her as a rising talent in the literary world. 

The Edge Hill Short Story Prize was founded in 2006 by Ailsa Cox, who was the world’s first Professor of Short Fiction; it remains the only UK-based award for a single-authored collection of short stories. 

Within the Department of English, History and Creative Writing, Edge Hill offers a three-year BA in Creative Writing and a full or part-time Masters in Creative Writing, both of which are open to international students.