Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2020 shortlist

The winner of the prestigious Edge Hill Short Story Prize has been revealed as award-winning writer Shelley Day, who scooped the top prize with her debut collection of mostly flash fiction. 

Shelley was awarded the £10,000 prize for her book What Are You Like, during a virtual awards ceremony on 7th December. 

Her debut collection, What Are You Like is the first book of mainly flash fiction to have won the prize. Shelley was named of one of Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature’s emerging writers in 2013. 

She said: “I was shocked and surprised to find out that I’d won the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. I really thought that I knew who’d win the prize, and it wasn’t me! I’m very, very grateful.” 

Author Ruby Cowling was awarded the £1,000 Reader’s Choice Award for her story Flamingo Land from her debut collection This ParadiseThe award was chosen by Edge Hill University Creative Writing Students and alumni. 

The Masters Prize was awarded to student Jacqueline Farrell, who is studying an MA in Creative Writing at Edge Hill. Jacqueline was awarded £500 in recognition of her story Robert’s Hands, which the judges said showed real promise and potential.       

This year’s awards comprised an all-female shortlist, four of which were published by small presses. 

Prize organiser Billy Cowan, senior lecturer in Creative Writing, said: “We were delighted to announce Shelley’s wonderful debut collection as the winner of this year’s Edge Hill Short Story Prize, and to see a collection of flash fiction in the shortlist for the first time ever. 

“All of the contenders in our all-female shortlist provided us with some fantastic reading. Despite not being able to host the awards with a physical ceremony, we were so pleased to still be able to bring our shortlisted writers together virtually to celebrate their work, as we continue to champion the short story and those who write and publish them.” 

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

The Edge Hill Short Story Prize was founded in 2006 by Ailsa Cox, who is 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.