The contenders for this year’s Edge Hill Short Story Prize have been revealed with an all-female shortlist and a focus on works from small publishers. 

Five collections have been selected for the prestigious award, which will see the winner scoop £10,000: 

  • Paris Syndrome by Lucy Sweeney Byrne (Banshee Press) 
  • This Paradise by Ruby Cowling (Boiler House Press) 
  • What Are You Like by Shelley Day (Postbox Press) 
  • Sudden Traveller by Sarah Hall (Faber) 
  • This Way to Departures by Linda Mannheim (Influx Press) 

A £1,000 Reader’s Choice Award will also be presented to one of the shortlisted authors, as well as a £500 prize for the best short story submitted by an Edge Hill MA Creative Writing student.  

Now in its 14th year, it is the only annual UK-based award to recognise excellence in a single-author short story collection. 

Prize organiser Billy Cowan, senior lecturer in Creative Writing, said: “It was a challenge this year to get the all-female longlist down to five books. But we did it! 

“We’re thrilled that the shortlist contains four books from small publishers; our first flash fiction collection (Day); two debuts (Byrne and Cowling); and the return of Sarah Hall who won the Short Story Prize in 2012 and the Reader’s Prize in 2018.”    

The winners of this year’s awards will be announced in November. 

Judges include last year’s winner David Szalay, Sara Hunt (managing director of Saraband Publishing) and creative writing lecturer Dr Zayneb Allak.  

The Edge Hill Short Story Prize was founded in 2006 by the world’s first Professor of Short Fiction, Ailsa Cox, to highlight the intricate artisanship of short story writing and acknowledge the wealth of published collections available. 

For more information about studying Creative Writing at Edge Hill, visit our subject page.