The sought-after prize, which comes with a £10,000 award, is in its 17th year and is the only national literary award to recognise excellence in a published, single-authored short-story collection.
Bernie who hails from Derry, Northern Ireland, was previously shortlisted for the Edge Hill prize in 2014 for her first collection, Sleepwalkers. She had also penned two novels, The Butterfly Cabinet in 2010 and The Watch House in 2017.
This year she has gone one better, impressing the judging panel, made up of agent Lucy Luck, last year’s winner Saba Sams, and Edge Hill University lecturer and short story writer Andrea Ashworth.
Bernie, who received her award at a ceremony at Bloomsbury-based London Review Bookshop, said: “It’s such an honour to have won the Edge Hill Prize. I’ve been reading the winning collections for years.
“I’m a huge fan of the short story, as both a reader and as a writer. When working on the longer form gets challenging, I sneak off for a philander with the short form. I love the intensity of it, and I love the buzz of finishing one.”
Will Clark, 23, an Edge Hill MA Creative Writing student, won the prize for best short story submitted by a student and was delighted to receive the honour after entering a writing competition for the first time.
Will, from Retford, said: “It means a lot to win the prize. It’s really nice to know that my work resonates with people.
“I like the short story because of the mystery about it. I like to leave my readers with questions once the story is over. There is also something about a story being short and sweet. Sometimes, that’s all you need.”
Inspired by the win, Will is now working on more short stories and a novel.
Naomi Booth, a writer and academic who lives in York, scooped the £1,000 Readers’ Choice Award for her story, Sour Hall, from her collection Animals at Night.
She said: “I’m chuffed to bits. It’s always hard to know whether your work has connected with readers – so much of writing is working alone, trying to create a little spark, never knowing if it will catch – so it’s especially meaningful for me to know that my work connected with readers.”
Founded in 2006, the Edge Hill Short Story Prize attracts entries from the best new and established writers.
Ailsa Cox, the world’s first Professor of Short Fiction, founded the award to highlight the artisanship of short story writing and acknowledge the wealth of published collections available.
Edge Hill has a long-established history in Creative Writing at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and the degrees on offer promise a challenging and innovative programme to stretch abilities and encourage independence.
For more information about studying Creative Writing at Edge Hill, visit our subject page.
To discover more about our courses, please visit ehu.ac.uk/study.
January 26, 2024