Last year's winner Sarah Hall picks up her award at the ceremony in London.

Now in its ninth year, the Edge Hill Prize is the only UK award that recognises excellence in a single author, published short story collection.

The unique accolade is proving increasingly popular with the prize attracting established authors who compete alongside relative newcomers for the prize. Previous winners have been John Burnside, Kevin Barry, Colm Tóibín, Claire Keegan, Chris Beckett, Jeremy Dyson, Graham Mort and Sarah Hall.

The prize has three categories, the main literary award of £5,000 as well as a £1,000 Reader’s Prize judged by BA Creative Writing students, and a £500 award for rising talents on the MA Creative Writing course.

The Edge Hill Prize is based on critical and practice-based research carried out by Dr Ailsa Cox, a Reader in Creative Writing and English Literature. Ailsa’s fiction has been published in various magazines and anthologies, she has been shortlisted for the Stand International Short Story competition, the V.S. Pritchett award and the Bridport prize and she is the editor of the peer-reviewed journal, Short Fiction in Theory and Practice. Her research and commitment to the short story as a distinct genre in its own right has led to a nationwide revival of interest in a genre that has traditionally been overshadowed.

Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2017 winner announced

Professor Ailsa Cox with Edge Hill Prize winner Daisy Johnson

Daisy Johnson was this evening named as the winner of the £10,000 Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story at an exclusive event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Johnson’s collection Fen (Cape), whose stories are set in an uncanny and weirdly magical East Anglian landscape, was chosen from a shortlist of five, which also included collections from Lucy Caldwell (Multitudes – Faber), Irenosen Okjie (Speak Gigantular – Jacaranda), K. J. Orr (Light Box – Daunt) and Joanna Walsh (Vertigo – And Other Stories).

Daisy Johnson said: “This is the first prize I’ve won for the collection and it is such a privilege. I am honoured to be among so many amazing female short story writers, and I hope to be involved with Edge Hill again in the future.” 

Edge Hill Short Story Prize is the only UK-based award that recognizes excellence in published short story collections and also includes a £1,000 Reader’s Choice Award to an author from the shortlist, which went to Lucy Caldwell for Multitudes (Faber).

Prize organiser Ailsa Cox, the world’s first Professor of Short Fiction at Edge Hill University, said: “Every one of the finalists is a fresh and exciting new voice, proving that the best and most innovative fiction-writing happening today is in the short story form. This has been a bumper year for the prize. The standard of entries has been astonishing, and there are many other voices, who didn’t quite make the shortlist, that we’ll be hearing plenty more from. This year’s winner, Daisy Johnson, fuses fantasy and reality in a contemporary English landscape, working the language like clay. The love of language and the emotional drive of all the finalists gives their stories a special potency that stays with you long after you have reached the end.”

This year’s judges were Thomas Morris (finalist, Edge Hill Prize 2016), Cathy Galvin (Director and Founder, The Word Factory) and Dr Rodge Glass (Reader in Literary Fiction, Edge Hill University).

The 2016 award was bestowed on Jessie Greengrass for The Decline of the Great Auk According to One Who Saw It. The other shortlisted authors were Kate Clanchy, Stuart Evers, China Miéville, Thomas Morris and Angela Readman.

 

Shortlist for this year’s Edge Hill Short Story Prize announced

The hotly anticipated shortlist for this year’s Edge Hill Short Story Prize has been announced today (Tuesday 13 June).

Five collections have made the shortlist from a longlist of forty-one, four of them debut collections.

Multitudes (Faber), from Belfast’s prize-winning novelist and playwright Lucy Caldwell charts the threats facing women as they grow up.

The stories in Daisy Johnson’s Fen (Cape) are set in an uncanny and weirdly magical East Anglian landscape while Irenosen Okjie’s Speak Gigantular (Jacaranda) explores the surreal and sometimes comic aspects of contemporary experience.

Winner of the 2016 BBC National Short Story Award, K. J. Orr focuses on connections and disconnections between characters across the world, in Light Box (Daunt). Joanna Walsh’s second collection, Vertigo  (And Other Stories), follows one character’s life through a series of fragments.

The winner of the £10,000 prize will be announced at an exclusive Short Story Prize event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on the 26th August, to be hosted by the university in the famous Spiegeltent. The event will be attended by the shortlisted authors and judges

Ailsa Cox

 

Prize organiser Ailsa Cox, the world’s first Professor of Short Fiction at Edge Hill University, said: “What an amazing line-up this is. All five writers are rising stars, and you’re going to hear a lot more of them in the future. In each of these collections, you’ll find passion, wit and intelligence, and above all a way of working with language that is unique to the short story form.”

 

 

Edge Hill Short Story Prize is the only UK-based award that recognizes excellence in published short story collections and will also include a £1,000 Reader’s Choice Award to an author from the shortlist.

This year’s judges are Thomas Morris (finalist, Edge Hill Prize 2016), Cathy Galvin (Director and Founder, The Word Factory) and Dr Rodge Glass (Reader in Literary Fiction, Edge Hill University).

The 2016 award was bestowed on Jessie Greengrass for The Decline of the Great Auk According to One Who Saw It. The other shortlisted authors were Kate Clanchy, Stuart Evers, China Miéville, Thomas Morris and Angela Readman.

The University is also organising a VIP launch event at the festival for Edge Hill University Press and the publication of their second book Atlantic Drift poetry anthology.

Held at 9.30pm on 19th August in the Party Pavilion, the launch event follows the University’s sponsorship of Merseyside poet Roger McGough’s event at 8.15pm.

To book a ticket for the Short Story Prize event click here

To secure a free ticket to the VIP launch of Atlantic Drift click here

Short Story Prize organisers announce diverse longlist for 2017 competition

Organisers of Edge Hill University’s 11th annual Short Story Prize are delighted to announce the longlist for 2017.

The list includes well established authors such as Mark Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), Susan Hill (The Woman in Black, The Mist in the Mirror and I’m the King of the Castle) and Helen Oyeyemi (Mr Fox and Boy, Snow, Bird) as well as up-and-coming writers.

Dr Ailsa Cox

Prize organiser and Professor of Short Fiction Ailsa Cox said: “As ever, the 2017 longlist features a varied and exciting selection of authors. We have entries from both well-known names and debut authors, including Claire Dean (an Edge Hill MA alumna). There is also a great age range, from twentysomething Daisy Johnson to two distinguished authors in their 80s, both Booker shortlisted (Penelope Lively, David Lodge). As ever, we have a strong contingent of Irish authors – including Daniel Boyle, David Park, Lucy Caldwell – alongside editor of the magisterial Penguin Book of the British Short Story, Philip Hensher.” 

The winner, to be announced at Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, will receive a £10,000 prize.

The Prize is the only UK-based award that recognizes excellence in a published short story collection and will also include a £1,000 Reader’s Choice award to a writer from the shortlist, and a further category for stories by Edge Hill University MA Creative Writing students.

This year’s judges are Thomas Morris (finalist, Edge Hill Prize 2016), Cathy Galvin (Director and Founder, The Word Factory) and Dr Rodge Glass (Reader in Literary Fiction, Edge Hill University).

The shortlist will be announced by 30th June with awards to be presented at a special event as part of Edinburgh International Book Festival in August.

The 2016 award was bestowed on Jessie Greengrass for The Decline of the Great Auk According to One Who Saw It. The other shortlisted authors were Kate Clanchy, Stuart Evers, China Miéville, Thomas Morris and Angela Readman.

The longlist in full:                  

Light Box K J Orr (Daunt Books)

The Travelling Bag Susan Hill (Profile Books)

Raw Material Sue Wilsea (Valley Press)

A Primer for Cadavers Ed Atkins (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

The Glue Ponys Chris Wilson (Tangerine Press)

Vertigo  Joanna Walsh (And Other Stories)

Hearing Voices Seeing Things William Wall (Doire Press)

All That Lies Be-neath/What I Know I Cannot Say Dai Smith (Parthian)

Ferenji and other stories Helena Mulkerns (Doire Press)

He Runs the Moon Wendy Brandmark (Holland Park Press)

Treats Lara Williams (Freight Books)

Mr Jolly Michael Stewart (Valley Press)

Stations Nick Mulgrew (David Philip Publishers)

When Planets Slip Their Tracks  Joanna Campbell (Ink Tears)

Speak Gigantular Irenosen Okojie (Jacaranda Books)

Sandlands Rosy Thornton (Sandstone Press)

The Other World, It Whispers Stephanie Victoire (Salt)

The Parts We Play Stephen Volk (PS Publishing)

Damage Rosalie Parker  (PS Publishing)

Quieter Paths Alison Littlewood (PS Publishing)

Ritual, 1969 Jo Mazelis (Seren)

This is the Ritual Rob Doyle (Lilliput Press/Bloomsbury)

Gods and Angels David Park (Bloomsbury)

Shore to Shore Tamsin Hopkins (Cinnamon Press)

Dinosaurs on Other Planets Danielle McLaughlin (John Murray Press)

Blind Water Pass Anna Metcalfe (John Murray Press)

The Museum of Shadows and Reflections Claire Dean (Papaveria Press)

Aphrodite’s Kiss Rosemary Jenkinson (Whittrick Press)

Llama Sutra Melanie Whipman (Ink tears)

The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories Penelope Lively (Penguin)

Tales of Persuasion Philip Hensher (Fourth Estate)

The Man Who Wouldn’t Get Up and Other Stories David Lodge (Vintage)

Fen Daisy Johnson (Jonathan Cape)

Multitudes Lucy Caldwell (Faber)

Legoland Gerard Woodward (Pan Macmillan)

What is Not Yours is Not Yours  Helen Oyeyemi  (Pan Macmillan)

Hostages Oisin Fagan (New Island Books)

Wild Quiet Roisin O’Donnell (New Island Books)

Sunrise Sunset Tina Pisco (Fish Publishing)

The Pier Falls Mark Haddon (Vintage)

When Black Dogs Sing Tanya Farrelly (Arlen House)

Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2017 now open for entries

Submissions for Edge Hill University’s 11th annual Short Story Prize are now open.

The winner, to be announced at Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, will receive a £10,000 prize.

The Prize is the only UK-based award that recognizes excellence in a published short story collection and will also include a £1,000 Reader’s Choice award to a writer from the shortlist, and a further category for stories by Edge Hill University MA Creative Writing students.

This year’s judges are Thomas Morris (finalist, Edge Hill Prize 2016), Cathy Galvin (Director, The Word Factory) and Dr Rodge Glass (Reader in Literary Fiction, Edge Hill University).

Dr Rodge Glass said: “The world of the short story is always evolving in myriad, fascinating ways, and each year of the Edge Hill Prize sees authors from all over the UK and Ireland bringing exciting new shapes to the form. I can’t wait to get stuck into what the Class of 2016 have produced.”

 

Publishers must submit collections for consideration by 3rd March, 2017. The shortlist will be announced by 30th June with awards to be presented at a special event as part of Edinburgh International Book Festival in August. In order to be eligible, collections must be published during 2016. Authors must be born or normally reside in the British Isles (including Ireland).

The 2016 award was bestowed on Jessie Greengrass for The Decline of the Great Auk According to One Who Saw It. The other shortlisted authors were Kate Clanchy, Stuart Evers, China Miéville, Thomas Morris and Angela Readman.

Click here for more information on submitting an entry

Dr Who writer stars at literary event

A trio of exciting authors celebrated the launch of Head Land, the first book from Edge Hill University’s new publishing house, at an event at the Arts Centre, Ormskirk.

Dr Who writer Rob Shearman, local rising star and Edge Hill alumna Carys Bray and renowned short story author Adam Marek read from their contributions to Head Land, a collection of award-winning short stories marking ten years of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize.

Head Land: 10 Years of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize brings together some of the most acclaimed short story writers working today, including previous Edge Hill prize-winners Kevin Barry, Colm Tóibín Jeremy Dyson and Kirsty Gunn. It also features some of the best shortlisted authors and past winners of the student-judged Reader’s Prize.

It is published by Edge Hill University Press (EHUP), a student-led literary imprint designed to equip students with industry knowledge and highly marketable skills. Staffed by a mixture of undergraduate and postgraduate students, EHUP has worked in close partnership with Glasgow-based Freight Books, giving the interns an authentic industry experience and helping them to build the skills and contacts they will need to secure a job in the competitive world of publishing.

Edge Hill Short Story Prize longlist announced

EHU478_ShortStory2015_Ailsa coxOrganisers of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, who are marking the tenth anniversary of the award this year, have revealed an exciting and eclectic longlist for 2016.

The Edge Hill Short Story  Prize it is the only UK award that recognises excellence in a published collection of short stories and has attracted established names competing alongside relative newcomers for the £10,000 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.

The 2016 longlist includes a strong showing from Irish and Scottish authors, and a number of prize-winning writers, including Kate Clanchy, winner of the 2009 BBC Short Story Prize, China Mieville, three-time winner of the Arthur C. Clarke award and winner of the British Fantasy Award twice and Donal Ryan whose novel was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2013 and won the Guardian First Book Award in the same year.

Ailsa Cox, Professor of Short Fiction and organiser of the Short Story Prize said: “We are excited to be able to mark the tenth anniversary of our prize with such a strong longlist of authors from across the UK and Ireland. It is fitting that in our anniversary year a previous winner features in the list – Graham Mort (Winner 2011) – as well as two previously shortlisted authors – Helen Simpson and Ali Smith. We face a tough task in the judging stages, but our tenth anniversary prize will truly showcase some of the best talent in the genre.

kirsty gunnThe Edge Hill Prize is awarded annually by Edge Hill University for excellence in a published single author short story collection. A shortlist of six will be announced in May, and the winner announced on 5th July at a special celebration co-hosted with The Word Factory in London.  Judges are last year’s winner, Kirsty Gunn; Cathy Galvin, Director of The Word Factory; and Edge Hill Creative Writing Lecturer, Billy Cowan.

Ailsa Cox - English - 200offThe Edge Hill Prize 2016 Longlist

Angela ReadmanDon’t Try This at Home

Angela Readman’s stories have been published in a number of anthologies and magazines, and have won awards such as the Inkspill Magazine short story competition and the National Flash Fiction competition. The title story in this collection was shortlisted for the Costa Short Story Prize in 2012, and she went on to win the same competition with ‘the Keeper of the Jackelopes’ in 2013, also in this collection.

Aidan MathewsCharlie Chaplin’s Wishbone

Aidan Matthews has written two previous short story collections, Adventures in Bathyscope and Lipstick on the Host, as well as novels and award winning poetry. He currently works as a drama producer for RTĔ

Ali SmithPublic Library

Ali Smith is the multi-awarding author of the novel How to be Both. She has published four previous collections of short stories, as well as numerous successful novels. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was appointed CBE in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to literature. She was previously shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize.

Andrew FoxOver Our Heads

Andrew Fox was born in Dublin in 1985. He now lives in New York. This is his first book.

China MiévilleThree Moments of an Explosion

China Miéville lives and works in London. He is three-time winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award and has also won the British Fantasy Award twice. The City & The City, an existential thriller, was received critical acclaim and drew comparison with the works of Kafka and Orwell and Philip K. Dick. This is his third collection of short stories.

Chrissie GittinsBetween Here and Knitwear

Christie Gittins is a poet, playwright and short story writer. Her work has been shortlisted for a variety of prizes, including the Manchester Children’s Literature Prize and the CLPE Poetry Award. Her poetry for children has been animated for CBeebies and her stories and poems broadcast on BBC Radio Four, with all four radio plays highlighted as Radio Choice by the Radio Times.

Claire-Louise Bennett – Pond

Claire-Louise Bennett’s short fiction and essays have been published in The Stinging Fly, The Penny Dreadful, The Moth and The Irish Times, to name but a few. She was awarded the inaugural White Review Short Story Prize in 2013. This is her first collection.

Colum McCannThirteen Ways of Looking

Colum McCann is originally from Dublin, Ireland, but now lives in New York. He is the author of six novels, the most recent of which, Let the Great World Spin, won the National Book Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was a New York Times, bestseller.

Donal Ryan A Slanting of the Sun

Donal Ryan lives in County Limerick and is now a full time writer. His novel The Spinning Heart was long listed for the Booker Prize in 2013 and won the Guardian First Book Award in the same year. This is his first collection of short stories.

Elizabeth BainesUsed to Be

Elizabeth Baines was born in South Wales and Lives in Manchester. She has been a teacher, an actor and the prize winning author of plays for both radio and the stage. Her short stories have been published in a variety of literary magazines. And her first collection, Balancing on the Edge of the World was published by Salt in 2007. Her novels include The Birth Machine, Body Cuts and Too Many Magpies.

Eliza RobertsonWallflowers

Eliza Robertson was born in Vancouver and came to England to study. During her MA she won the Curtis Brown Prize for best writer and received the Man Booker Scholarship. In 2013 she won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She now lives in Norwich where she is working on her first novel.

Emma TimpanyThe Lost of Syros

Emma Timpany’s stories have won awards such as The Sara Park Memorial Short Story Award 2013 and The Society of Women Writers and Journalists’ Short Story Award 2011. Originally from New Zealand, she now lives in Cornwall.

Gabrielle BarnbyThe House With the Lilac Shutters

Gabrielle Barnby works in a variety of genres including poetry and children’s fiction. Her short story Hostel was published in Northwords Now and her poetry by the George Mackay Brown Fellowship in Waiting For theTide. She lives in Orkney, Scotland.

Ger Reidy – Jobs For a Wet Day

Ger Reidy has won several Irish poetry competitions and since 2012 has been the judge of the Westport Arts Festival Poetry competition. He is the author of three poetry collections, the third of which, Before Rain, was shortlisted for the Pigott Poetry Prize at Listowel Writers’ Week. This is his first short story collection.

Graham MortTerroir

Graham Mort’s first collection of short stories, Touch, was published in 2010 and contained the Bridport prize winning story ‘The Prince’. Touch went on to win the Edge Hill Prize in 2011. This collection was written over five years, partly during a writing fellowship at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. He is currently Professor of Creative Writing and Transcultural Literature at Lancaster University.

Helen SimpsonCockfosters

Helen Simpson has received the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Hawthornden Prize and the E.M. Forster Award. This is her sixth collection of short stories. She was previously shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize.

Jane TalbotThe Faerie Thorn

Jane Talbot was born in Wiltshire and has lived in County Antrim since 2011. She is a champion of the oral storytelling tradition and a fan of both Faerie Tales and medieval literature. This is her first book.

Janice GallowayJellyfish

Janice Galloway studied at Glasgow University and worked as a teacher before becoming one of Scotland’s best-known writers. Her awards include the MIND/Allan Lane Award for The Trick is to Keep Breathing, the McVities Prize for Foreign Parts and the EM Forster Award (amongst others) for Clara. She has written and presented for BBC Scotland and works extensively with musicians and visual artists.

Jessie GreengrassAn Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to the One Who Saw It

Jessie Greengrass was born in 1982. She studied philosophy in Cambridge and London, where she now lives with her partner and child.

John BoyneBeneath the Earth

John Boyne is the author of nine novels for adults and four for younger readers, including the international bestseller, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. This is his first short story collection, and includes the story ‘Rest Day’, which won the 2015 Writing.IE Short Story of the Year Award in Ireland.

Kate ClanchyThe Not-Dead and the Saved

Kate Clanchy was born and grew up in Scotland and now lives in Oxford. Her poetry collections Slattern, Samarkand and Newborn have brought her many literary awards and an unusually wide audience. She is the author of the much acclaimed Antigona and Me, and was the 2009 winner of the BBC Short Story Award. She has also written extensively for Radio 4.

Kirsty LoganA Portable Shelter

Glasgow-based Kirsty Logan is a writer, performer, editor and reviewer. Her first short story collection, The Rental Heart and other Fairytales, won the Scott Prize. Her debut novel, The Gracekeepers, was published in 2015.

Lawrence ScottLeaving by Plane, Swimming Back Underwater

Lawrence Scott’s first novel, Witchbroom, was shortlisted for a Commonwealth Writer’s prize and was read as a BBC Book at Bedtime. Since then he has continued to receive prizes and awards for his novels and short stories. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago he now lives in London.

Maggie HarrisIn Margate by Lunchtime

Maggie Harris was born in Guyana and moved to the UK the early seventies. Her fiction,  short stories, essays and poems have been published by Virago, Little Brown, Wasafiri, Agenda, Equinox, , Poetry Wales and Poetry News. She was the Caribbean winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2014.

Marina WarnerFly Away Home

Mariner Warner is a novelist, short story writer, historian and mythographer. She is known for her non-fiction books relating to feminism and myth and has contributed to literary and art criticism to publications such as the London Review of Books, The Guardian and The New York Review of Books. In 2015 she chaired the panel of the Man Booker International Prize and in the same year was awarded both the Holberg Prize and a DBE. This is her third short story collection.

Meaghan DelahuntGreat Garbo’s Feet and Other Stories

Meaghan Delahunt’s work has won The Flamingo/HQ National Short Story Prize, a regional Commonwealth Prize, a Saltire first Book Award and a nomination for the Orange Prize. As well as publishing three novels her short fiction have been widely translated, anthologised and broadcast on BBC Radio Four.

Michelle GreenJebel Marra

Michelle Green is a British-Canadian writer and spoken word artist working in Manchester. Her short stories have appeared in Short Fiction Journal and the interactive story app LitNav. Her poetry collection Knee High Affair was published by Crocus Books. In 2005 she worked for a humanitarian aid agency and the stories in this book, although fictional, are informed by that experience.

Nicholas ShakespeareStories From Other Places

Nicholas Shakespeare is the author of a number of novels including the Somerset Maugham Award winning The Vision of Elena Silves and The Dancer Upstairs, which was chosen by the American Libraries Association in 1997 as the year’s best novel and in 2001 was made into a film of the same name by John Malkovich.

Padrika Tarrant – Fates of the Animals

Padrika Tarrant is the author of two previous books, Broken Things and The Knife Drawer, both published by Salt. She live in Norwich with her daughter.

Paul O’Reilly  – The Girl Missing From the Window

Paul O’Reilly is a multi-award winning writer, dramatist, documentary maker and musician. His work has been published in The Stinging Fly, The Scaldy Detail, The Irish Times and the Bristol Prize Anthology amongst other places. He lives in Country Wexford, Ireland.

Phyl Herbert – After Desire

Phyl Herbert’s first book, Literacy, Language, Role-Play, written with Celia de Freine, was grant aided by CDETB. Her creative work is published in the anthology Sixteen after Ten and her essays have been broadcast on the radio. This is her first short story collection.

Pippa GoldschmidtThe Need for Better Regulation of Outer Space

Pippa Goldschmidt grew up in London and now lives in Edinburgh. Her novel, Falling Sky was a runner-up in the Dundee International Book Prize in 2012 and her short stories, poetry and non-fiction have been broadcast and published in a wide variety of publications including Gutter, New Writing Scotland and The New York Times. She has a PhD in astronomy and was an astronomer for several years at Imperial College.

Rachel JoyceA Snow Garden

Rachel Joyce’s debut novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, was on the longlist for the 2012 Man Booker Prize. Since then she has frequently been shortlisted for, or won, a number of literary awards. This is her first short story collection.

Susan KnightOut of Order

Susan Knight is the author of three novels, as well as a previous short story collection, Letting Rip, in 2012. She has compiled and edited non-fiction, written a number of plays, the most recent of which, A Simple Twist of Fate was performed at the Viking theatre in London. Her short fiction and stage and radio plays have won her a number of prizes, including the James Plunkett Memorial Award and the Bryan McMahon Award.

Stuart EversYour Father Sends his Love

Stuart Evers in the author of Ten Stories About Smoking (London Book Award) and the much acclaimed novel If This is Home. He lives in London with his family.

Thomas MorrisWe Don’t Know What We’re Doing

Thomas Morris is from Caerphilly, South Wales. He was educated solely through the Welsh language until the age of eighteen. He now lives in Dublin where he is the editor of The Stinging Fly magazine.

Vanessa J HornEclectic Moments

Vanessa J Horn lives in Havant, Hampshire and has been writing since 2012. Her work has been published in literary magazines such as Bella Mused and she has won short story competitions including those run by Word Hut, Cazart and Thynks Publications. She plays piano and flute and has a degree from the Royal College of Music in London

Vicki JarrettThe Way Out

Vicki Jarret lives and works in Edinburgh. Her short fiction has been widely published and broadcast and her first novel, Nothing is Heavy, was shortlisted for the Saltire Society First Book of the Year in 2013

 

Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2015 winner announced

Kirsty Gunn has been announced as the winner of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2015 with her collection Infidelities (Faber & Faber).

Infidelities includes stories about love, marriage, and beyond and the collection was praised by judges for its haunting imagery and the beauty of its style.

Kirsty Gunn said:  “It is a tremendous honour and surprise to be awarded the Edge Hill Prize. I would like to thank Ailsa Cox and her colleagues for running such an important prize celebrating the short story. It creates community and a sense of fellowship for short story writers.

Now in its ninth year, the Edge Hill Prize is the only UK award that recognises excellence in a published collection of short stories.

This year the judging panel included The Guardian’s Chris Power, 2014 Readers’ Choice winner Rachel Trezise and Edge Hill’s Dr Ailsa Cox. The winner was announced at London’s Free Word Centre on the evening of Thursday 2 July.

Prize co-ordinator Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “This shortlist shows the huge range and diversity of short story writing today, and how many risks writers are taking with the form, with stories based on, amongst other things, twitter fiction, autobiographical memories, oral history and role-playing games. All of these collections are winners. All contain powerful personal versions and test the language to its limits. In the end we chose Kirsty Gunn’s Infidelities for its haunting imagery and the beauty of its style. Sentence by sentence, Infidelities shows us the short story’s ability to take us straight to the heart of the mystery.”

As well as the Main Literary Award of £5,000 won by Kirsty Gunn, a £1,000 Reader’s Choice award was presented to Madeleine D’Arcy whose debut collection Waiting for the Bullet (Doire Press), features stories set in Cork, London, and New York.

The £250 Jo Powell Award which commemorates and celebrates the life of crime writer Jo Powell, whose first novel, The Drop Room, was written as part of her doctoral study at Edge Hill, is judged by Edge Hill Creative Writing MA students. This year’s winner is Shannon Eden, for The Glass Passenger.

The winner of an additional category worth £500 acknowledging rising talents on Edge Hill University’s own MA Creative Writing course was also announced as Trevor Fevin for his story Reckitt’s Blue.

Edge Hill Short Story Prize reveals bumper shortlist for 2015

short story image pen

The shortlist for the Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story 2015 has been confirmed ahead of a ceremony naming the overall winner on 2 July.

This year’s shortlist features six titles, from authors Toby Litt, Anneliese Mackintosh, Carys Davies, Madeleine D’Arcy, Rose Tremain and Kirsty Gunn, including two debut collections.

 

Toby Litt has been shortlisted for his collection Life-Like (Seagull Books). The novelist and short story writer from Bedfordshire’s novels include Beatniks, Corpsing, Deadkidsongs, Finding Myself, Journey into Space, and King Death. Short story collections include Adventures in Capitalism, Exhibitionism and I Play the Drums in a Band Called Okay. In 2001, Litt edited The Outcry, Henry James’ last completed novel, for Penguin in the UK. Litt’s Life-Like is a collection of 26 short stories that explore our globalizing and atomizing world, with stories set in India, Sweden, Australia, and Iran.

Anneliese Mackintosh’s Any Other Mouth (Freight) is her first book, and a semi-autobiographical collection. Her writing explores sexuality, grief, women, relationships, mental health, addiction, and recovery. Any Other Mouth won the Green Carnation Prize and has been featured in The Herald’s Books of the Year 2014, The Scotsman’s Favourite Books of 2014, The List’s Top Scottish Books of 2014, Civilian’s The Best Books of 2014, and has been voted Top 10 in The Guardian’s The Readers’ 10 Best Books of the Year.

Lancashire-based Welsh writer Carys Davies’ The Redemption of Galen Pike (Salt) is a collection of 17 stories which centre on how little we know of other people and the unpredictable bonds that spring between us when our worlds collide. Before becoming a fiction writer, Davies worked as a journalist in New York and Chicago. Her short stories have been widely published in magazines and anthologies, as well as having been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Davies’ publications have won the Society of Authors’ Olive Cook Award, the Royal Society of Literature’s V S Pritchett Prize, and a Northern Writers’ Award, in addition to being shortlisted and longlisted for many other prizes.

Irish writer Madeleine D’Arcy’s debut collection Waiting for the Bullet (Doire Press), featuring stories set in Cork, London, and New York, is also shortlisted. Her works have appeared in Sunday Tribune, Made in Heaven and Other Short Stories, Sharp Sticks, Irish Examiner, Necessary Fiction, and Irish Independent, among many others. D’Arcy’s short story Dog Pound has been made into a short film featuring the distinguished Irish actor Frank Kelly. Her work has been short-listed and commended in many competitions, and in 2012 she received a Hennessy X.O Literary Award for First Fiction, as well as the overall Hennessy X.O Literary Award for New Irish Writer.

Rose Tremain’s shortlisted collection The American Lover (Chatto & Windus) contains stories that transport readers to Imperial Russia, Georgian Norfolk, Cornwall in the mid-Thirties, and Normandy in the wake of D-Day. She is also the author of a number of radio and television plays, including Temporary Shelter, which won a Giles Cooper Award, and One Night in Winter, first broadcast by BBC Radio 4 in 2001. Her novels include The Swimming Pool Season, Restoration, Sacred Country, and Music and Silence, among others. These novels won the Angel Literary Award, the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award, the Black Memorial Prize, the Whitbread Novel Award respectively. Tremain has published several collections of short stories. She was chosen as one of the 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists’ by literary magazine Granta in 1983, and was a judge for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1988 and 2000. Tremain was awarded a CBE in 2007.

Kirsty Gunn’s shortlisted collection Infidelities (Faber & Faber) includes stories about love, marriage, and beyond. Originally from New Zealand but now settled in London and Scotland, Kirsty has written five works of fiction, including short stories and a collection of fragments and meditations. Furthermore, her stories have been broadcast, turned into film and dance theatre, and have been the recipients of various prizes and awards, including Scottish Book of the Year 1997. Gunn is also Professor of Writing Practice and Study at the University of Dundee and regularly contributes to a range of international newspapers and magazines.

Now in its ninth year, the Edge Hill Short Story Prize it is the only UK award that recognises excellence in a published collection of short stories and has attracted established names competing alongside relative newcomers for the £5,000 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. The winners will be announced at a ceremony at London’s Free Word Centre on Thursday 2 July.

Dr Ailsa Cox

Dr Ailsa Cox

Dr Ailsa Cox, organiser of the Prize and Reader in English & Writing at Edge Hill University said: “There’s an astounding variety of styles and subject matter. Some collections link the stories in new, inventive ways; all take daring imaginative leaps. The decision to shortlist 6 instead of 5 reflects the diversity of short story writing today.”

 

The judges are The Guardian’s Chris Power, 2014 Readers’ Choice winner Rachel Trezise and Edge Hill’s Dr Ailsa Cox.

The 2014 winner was John Burnside with his collection Something Like Happy (Jonathan Cape). Judge Kevin Barry described the work as “A tremendous collection from a writer working at the full tilt of his gifts.” Other previous winners and shortlisted authors include Kevin Barry, David Rose, Bernie McGill, Sarah Hall, Jeremy Dyson, Graham Mort, Robert Shearman and Helen Simpson.

English Language and Literature research rated as rated as world-leading in the REF 2014

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Research Edge Hill University’s Department of English Language and Literature has been rated as rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in the national Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

The REF assesses the quality of research at universities across the UK and informs research funding allocations from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, HEFCE. Research conducted by Professor Robert Sheppard into linguistically innovative poetry and Dr Ailsa Cox’s creative and critical work on the short story genre, acted as case studies to demonstrate the impact of research conducted by the unit.

Read more about the department’s impact case studies here.

Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story announced

The 2015 Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story is now open for entries.

The search is on to find the winning author of a published short story collection, the only such award for a whole collection from a British or Irish author in the UK.

The 2014 winner was John Burnside with his collection Something Like Happy (Jonathan Cape). Judge Kevin Barry described the work as “A tremendous collection from a writer working at the full tilt of his gifts.”

As well as the Main Literary Award, a 2014 Reader’s Choice award was presented to Rachel Trezise for her collection Cosmic Latte (Parthian). Rachel has previously featured in the Orange Future List and won the inaugural Dylan Thomas Prize. She will join the 2015 judging panel with novelist, short story writer and Edge Hill Senior Lecturer Rodge Glass. Writer and critic Chris Power rounds off the judging panel who will together decide on a shortlist of five authors.

Other previous winners and shortlisted authors include Kevin Barry, David Rose, Bernie McGill, Sarah Hall, Jeremy Dyson, Graham Mort, Robert Shearman and Helen Simpson.

All awards will be presented at a prize-giving ceremony at the Free Word Centre in London in July.
Prize co-ordinator Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said:

Ailsa Cox

Ailsa Cox

“Each year the competition grows stronger and more intense as more publishers recognise the significance of this unique award for the short story.
“The award is now in its ninth year and I’m sure we’ll continue to attract a wide range of high quality writing from across the British Isles including Ireland.”

 

The prize has three categories:
• The main literary award of £5,000. A panel of judges will choose the winner from a shortlist of five collections to be announced in May.
• The £1,000 Readers’ Choice, chosen from the same shortlist.
• A student prize, which will reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course.

Publishers are invited to submit collections for consideration up to the closing date of 2nd March 2015. Collections must be published during 2014 and self-published collections are not eligible. For more information about the prize, click here or please contact Dr Ailsa Cox on 01695 584121.

Three copies of each published collection must be submitted to Christine Riaz, English & History Department, Edge Hill University, St Helens Rd., Ormskirk, L39 4QP. Please include email, phone number and postal address for the publisher’s representative.

Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2014 winner announced

John BurnsideJohn Burnside has been announced as the winner of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2014 with his collection Something Like Happy (Jonathan Cape).

Burnside is a multi award-winning poet who has a regular column in The New Statesman and contributes to newspapers and periodicals in the UK, Germany and Switzerland.

John Burnside said: “I’m really grateful for this prize and also grateful that the prize exists to celebrate the short story. Short stories are my equivalent of football – the beautiful form as opposed to the beautiful game. As a writer, the short story demands the most and to me is the most satisfying.”

Now in its eight year, the Edge Hill Prize is the only UK award that recognises excellence in a published collection of short stories.

This year the judging panel included Kevin Barry, author and winner of the 2013 Edge Hill Prize, Carys Bray, author and winner of the inaugural Edge Hill MA Prize in 2010 and Katie Allen, journalist and editor of welovethisbook.com. The winner was announced at London’s Free Word Centre on the evening of Thursday 3 July.

Speaking about John Burnside’s writing, 2013 prize winner Kevin Barry said: “This is a tremendous collection from a writer working at the full tilt of his gifts, and John Burnside is a hugely deserving recipient of the prize.”

As well as the Main Literary Award of £5000 won by John Burnside, a Reader’s Choice award was presented to Rachel Trezise for her collection Cosmic Latte (Parthian). Rachel has previously featured in the Orange Future List and won the inaugural Dylan Thomas Prize,

Other prizes awarded on the night included a £500 student prize to reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course and the £1000 Jo Powell Award which commemorates and celebrates the life of crime writer Jo Powell, whose first novel, The Drop Room, was written as part of her doctoral study at Edge Hill. The £500 student prize was presented to Tracey Tyrell for Alice, whilst Christine Riaz’s story Dead Man’s Shoes was chosen as the winner of the Jo Powell Prize by by fellow Creative Writing MA students.

Finalists announced for Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2014

Writers published by small presses dominate the shortlist for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, which has been announced today.

Among the finalists for the £5,000 prize are Jaki McCarrick whose story The Visit won the Wasafari prize for new fiction, Rachel Trezise who has previously featured in the Orange Future List and won the inaugural Dylan Thomas Prize for her story collection Fresh Apples, and Bernie McGill who won the Zoetrope: All Story Short Fiction contest in the US in 2008.

Also featuring in the list is multi-award winning poet John Burnside who also has a regular column in The New Statesman and contributes to newspapers and periodicals in the UK, Germany and Switzerland and David Rose whose story Flora appeared in The Best British Short Stories 2011.

The final list of nominated authors and short story collections competing for the prize are:

  • David Rose, Posthumous Stories (Salt)
  • Rachel Trezise, Cosmic Latte (Parthian)
  • Bernie McGill, Sleepwalkers (Whittrick Press)
  • Jaki McCarrick, The Scattering (Seren Books)
  • John Burnside, Something Like Happy (Jonathan Cape)

AilsaCox001Prize co-ordinator Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said:

“It has been an incredibly difficult decision for all our judges to draw up year’s shortlist and it’s going to be even trickier to decide on the winner, which we’ll announce at our award ceremony in London on July 3. It is interesting that this year all but John Burnside are authors published by small presses, and both Seren and Parthian are Welsh publishers, with Seren already winning the award with Graham Mort for his collection Touch in 2011.”

Now in its eight year, the Edge Hill Prize is the only UK award that recognises excellence in a published collection of short stories.

This year the judging panel includes Kevin Barry, author and winner of the 2013 Edge Hill Prize, Carys Bray,  Author and winner of the inaugural Edge Hill MA Prize in 2010 and Katie Allen, Journalist and editor of welovethisbook.com.

The prize has three categories:

  • The main literary award of £5,000.
  • The £1,000 Readers’ Choice, chosen from the same shortlist.
  • A £500 student prize, which will reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 3th July at Free Word Centre on Farringdon Road, London.

Short biographies for the five writers are as follows:

  • John Burnside. Born in Dunfermline in 1955, Burnside had several occupations before becoming a full-time writer in 1994. A prolific writer of poetry and prose, he has been shortlisted for and has won many awards; he writes for radio and television, is a regular contributor to a number of periodicals and newspapers in the UK, Germany and Switzerland and has a regular ‘Nature’ column in The New Statesman. Something Like Happy is Burnside’s first short story collection since Burning Elvis (2000).
  • Jaki McCarrick. London-born, McCarrick has written for the stage and television and received much acclaim. She is the first winner of the Liverpool Lennon Paper Poetry Competition. Now living in Dundalk, many of the stories from The Scattering, her debut short story collection, are set on the Irish border. One of the stories, ‘The Visit’ won the Wasfari Prize for new fiction, and many have been published in literary magazines. McCarrick is currently editing her first novel.
  • Bernie McGill. Born in Northern Ireland and living in Portstewart, McGill has pursued a diverse career in the arts, writing for theatre before winning the Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Contest in the US in 2008. Her first novel, The Butterfly Cabinet, was published in 2010. Her short fiction has been broadcast by BBC Radio Ulster and published in magazines and anthologies. ‘No Angel’, one of the stories in Sleepwalkers, won second prize in the Sean O Faolain Short Story Competition and the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award.
  • David Rose. Born in 1949, Rose lives outside west London and all his working life has been in the Post Office. He is the joint founder and Fiction Editor of literary magazine, Main Street Journal. His debut story, ‘Private View’, was published in The Literary Review and since then has been widely published in small presses in the UK and Canada. ‘Flora’ appeared in The Best British Short Stories 2011 and the same year Salt published Rose’s debut novel, Vault. Posthumous Stories is Rose’s long-awaited first short story collection.
  • Rachel Trezise. Born in Rhondda, South Wales, in 1978, Trezise graduated in 2000 and her first novel In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl, published the same year, attracted much critical acclaim and won a place on the Orange Future List. In 2006 her short story collection Fresh Apples won the inaugural Dylan Thomas Prize. Trezise has also written for BBC Radio 4. She is currently working on her third novel and a third short story collection. The Times describes her as ‘An outstanding young writer’.

International recognition for short story expert

AilsaCox001Edge Hill lecturer and short story expert, Dr Ailsa Cox, has presented at a prestigious international conference on the life and work of Canadian author, Alice Munro – the only British academic to take part.

The Alice Munro Symposium, which took place at the University of Ottowa in May, featured keynote presentations from Munro’s biographer, Robert Thacker, her agent, Virginia Barber, and Professor Charles E May, one of the foremost authorities on the short story genre, as well as contributions from a host of renowned international academics.

As a member of the conference panel, Ailsa’s presentation explored the role of the infant in Munro’s work, drawing on stories from two of her acclaimed collections, The Love of a Good Woman and Dear Life.

I’m interested in the way Munro plays with notions of reality in her storytelling. How do we know what’s true? Both of the stories I’m looking at, My Mother’s Dream and Dear Life, recount incidents that happened during early childhood, told later from the perspective of the child or the mother. The narrators in both reconstruct events, blurring the lines between real life, memories and speculation.”

“The figure of the baby is also interesting as it represents a meeting point between the past and the future; the inheritance of previous generations and the hopes and expectations of the parents. Although both stories appear at the end of Munro’s collections they are about beginnings rather than endings. The baby represents the continuum of life.”

Ailsa, whose 2003 book, Alice Munro, is one of the only critiques of her work to be written by a UK author, is a long-time admirer of Munro’s craft as a short story writer.

She says:

Alice Munro is thought of as a writer’s writer. When I started studying her for my PhD in the early 90s, no-one had really heard of her, except other writers. Although she published her first collection in 1968, she’s had a very slow burn of public recognition – maybe because she only writes short stories, possibly because she is a very modest person who doesn’t court publicity.

In the 21st century she is deservedly recognised by readers and academics alike as one of our greatest living short story writers. Munro has been a huge influence on my own writing so I was delighted to be invited to share my thoughts on her work with other Munro scholars. As a result of appearing at the Symposium, I have now been asked to contribute to a Chinese language journal about Alice Munro, which will raise her profile further around the world.”

Alice Munro’s work has been described as “having revolutionised the architecture of short stories”. She has published 14 original short story collections and is cited as a major influence on generations of authors from AS Byatt to Anne Enwright. In 2013 she won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Dr Ailsa Cox is a fiction writer and critic, with a special interest in the short story genre, whose stories have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. As well as teaching on Edge Hill’s Creative Writing programmes, she is editor of peer-reviewed journal, Short Fiction in Theory and Practice, coordinator of the annual Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story, and co-director of the newly formed European Network for Short Story Research.

 

Edge Hill Short Story Prize long-list announced

Short Story 2012A record number of writers have been long-listed for this year’s prestigious Edge Hill Short Story Prize.

A total of 44 entries were received this year with a notable number of small press and independent publishers submitting short stories for the unique award.

Now in its eighth year, the Edge Hill Short Story Prize it is the only UK award that recognises excellence in a published collection of short stories and has attracted established names competing alongside relative newcomers for the £5,000 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.

The long-list includes a number of well-established, award-winning writers including Man Booker shortlisted writers Alison Moore and Bernard MacLaverty; John Burnside, winner of the 2011 TS Eliot Prize; Sarah Maitland, previously shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Prize and acclaimed flash fiction writers Dan Rhodes, and Dave Gaffney.

Prize co-ordinator Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “This is a really impressive collection of writers and our largest ever long-list.  It’s especially interesting to see such a strong showing from Irish and Welsh publishers such as Parthian, Seren, Arlen House and New Island Books.

The short story really is flourishing all across the UK thanks to wonderful writers such as those on our list.”

The short-list of five will be revealed in May and the winners announced at an awards ceremony on 3 July at the Free Word Centre, London.  The judges are Kevin Barry (2013 prize winner); journalist and blogger Katie Allen; and Carys Bray (winner of the inaugural MA Prize).

The long-list is as follows:

  • End of Days
Aileen Armstrong Doire Press
  • Miranda’s Shadow
Kitty Fitzgerald Iron Press
  • A Snow Goose
Jim Perrin Cinnamon Press
  • Dream On
Dai Smith Parthian
  • Cosmic Latte
Rachel Trezise Parthian
  • The Answer and Other Love Stories
Rebecca Ray Parthian
  • The Witch Doctor of Umm Seqeim
Craig Hawes Parthian
  • Ship of Fools
Rod Madocks Five Leaves Publications
  • The House on Parkgate Street                                                                                                              
Christine Dwyer Hickey New Island Books
  • The Things We Lose, The Things We Leave Behind
Billy O’Callaghan New Island Books
  • The God Tattoo
Tom Lloyd Gollancz (Imprint of the Orion Publishing Group)
  • Adam Robots
Adam Roberts Gollancz
  • Goodnight Nobody
Ethel Rohan Queen’s Ferry Press
  • Above the Parapet
Alison Lock Indigo Dreams Publishing
  • Something Vital Fell Through
Char March Indigo Dreams Publishing
  • Posthumous Stories
David Rose Salt
  • The Manet Girl
Charles Boyle Salt
  • More Sawn-Off Tales
David Gaffney Salt
  • The Pre-War House and Other Stories
Alison Moore Salt
  • Centurionman – A Collection of Short Stories
Andrew Campbell-Kearsey Spinetinglers Elite Publishing
  • Kontakte and Other Stories
Jonathan Taylor Roman Books
  • Stardust: The Ruby Castle Stories
Nina Allan PS Publishing
  • Sleepwalkers
Bernie McGill Whittrick Press
  • The Man Who Understood Women
Rosemary Friedman Arcadia Books
  • Jewels in the Dust
Peter Crowther Subterranean
  • The Syllabus of Errors
Ashley Stokes Unthank Books
  • The Scattering
Jaki McCarrick Seren Books
  • All the Souls
Mary-Ann Constantine Seren Books
  • Lost Property
Calum Kerr Cinder House
  • Once Upon a Timepiece
Starr Wood Bo Tree Books
  • Down With Beauty
Ken Edwards Reality Street
  • Moss Witch
Sara Maitland Comma Press
  • Strobe Lighting
Sian Hughes Biscuit Press
  • Young Skins
Colin Barrett The Stinging Fly
  • Hugging Thistles
Aideen Henry Arlen House
  • Psychotic Episodes
Alan McMonagle Arlen House
  • Hellkite
Geraldine Mills Arlen House
  • Short Shockers 1
Peter James Pan Macmillan
  • Short Shockers 2
Peter James Pan Macmillan
  • Remember Me To The Bees
Judy Darley Scopophilia Publising
  • Marry Me
Dan Rhodes Canongate
  • Something Like Happy
John Burnside Jonathan Cape
  • Finally My Ambulance
Joseph Smith Jonathan Cape
  • Collected Stories
Bernard MacLaverty Jonathan Cape

 

 

 

 

Contributing to the revitalisation of the short story genre

Short Story Prize 2014 call for entries

ShortStory2013_038

Last year’s winner, Irish writer Kevin Barry.

The search is on to find a winning author for the prestigious 2014 Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story.

Now in its eighth year, the award is organised by Edge Hill University and recognises excellence in a published single author short story collection. It is unique as it is the only such award for a whole collection from a British/Irish author in the UK.

The 2013 winner was Irish writer, former journalist and literary supernova Kevin Barry, who judge Sarah Hall described as a “master of the form.” Barry has a string of awards under his belt for writing. He was praised for his “outstanding power and range” in his winning collection Dark Lies The Island.

He will serve as a judge in the 2014 competition, alongside star Edge Hill University alumnus Carys Bray, author and winner of the inaugural Edge Hill MA Prize in 2010, and Katie Allen, editor of welovethisbook.com and former editor at thebookseller.com.

Other previous winners and shortlisted authors include Sarah Hall, Jeremy Dyson, Graham Mort, Robert Shearman, Helen Simpson, Neil Gaiman, Chris Beckett, Colm Toibin and Claire Keegan.

Prize co-ordinator Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “Each year the competition grows stronger and stronger as more publishers recognise the significance of this unique award for the short story. I’m sure this year will be no exception and I’m confident that in our eighth year we will attract entries from a diverse range of writers, from well-established names to burgeoning new talent.”

The prize has three categories:

•           The main literary award of £5,000. A panel of judges will choose the winner from a shortlist of five collections to be announced in May.

•           The £1,000 Readers’ Choice, chosen from the same shortlist.

•           A £500 student prize, which will reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course.

Publishers are invited to submit collections for consideration up to the closing date of 3rd March. Collections must be published during 2013. For more information about the prize, visit the website www.edgehill.ac.uk/shortstory/homepage/entry/ or please contact Dr Ailsa Cox on 01695 584121.

To email entries, three copies of each published collection must be submitted to Christine Riaz, English & History Department, Edge Hill University, St Helens Rd., Ormskirk, L39 4QP.  Please include email, phone number and postal address for the publisher’s representative.

Why Nobel Prize win is a triumph for the short story

1920px EH349 DSC_0065 Ailsa

Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize award for literature is a much-awaited triumph for the short story, according to a leading expert at Edge Hill University.

Dr Ailsa Cox, fiction writer and author of Alice Munro (Northcote House) believes that the Canadian author’s win will ensure that publishers pay more attention to this form of writing.

“The short story has always been seen as the poor relation,” explained Dr Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English, “We are constantly fighting battles because publishers take less interest in this form. They are seen to be harder to market and short story writers are generally expected to write novels too.  Often a collection will only be considered once they’ve proved themselves with the novel. When I heard that Alice Munro had won the Nobel Prize, I felt that the time had come to stop apologising and celebrate short fiction in its own right.

“Last year Bloomsbury called 2012 the year of the short story, bringing out collections by, amongst others, Lucy Wood and Jon McGregor. That’s a sign that more publishers are seeing the benefits of the form, where you’ll find so much of the most innovative and exciting fiction. So let’s make every year short story year from this point on.”

Dr Cox co-ordinates the Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story, which is awarded annually to the author of a published short story collection, and is also the editor of the peer-reviewed journal, Short Fiction in Theory and Practice.

As one of the first UK specialists to research Munro, she continues to publish articles and book chapters on Canada’s greatest short story writer, concentrating on her most recent collections.

She has been invited to speak about the author to Italian specialists in Canadian literature at the Università degli Studi Roma next month where she will discuss her playful use of autobiography.

“What I like about her writing is that she has such a beautiful style and uses language so that not one word is wasted,” said Dr Cox. “She loves reading, and has learnt her craft from other writers. One of the reasons I admire her so much is because she has always stuck to her guns and carried on writing short stories rather than conforming to expectations. She has slowly built up a global reputation and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of a Nobel Prize.

“The influence she has had on other writers – including myself – has been enormous. As the American Cynthia Ozick said some time ago, ‘She is our Chekhov, and is going to outlast most of her contemporaries.’”

Dr Cox is preparing to speak at a symposium in Ottawa in 2014 alongside Munro’s biographer, her agent and other champions of her work. She said: “I’m delighted that the Canadians think so highly of my work on Munro. She is an inspiration to our future short story writers.”

Six-figure deal for Carys’ debut novel

UK - London - Short Story Competition Winner

Literary star and Edge Hill University alumnus Carys Bray has struck a six-figure deal for her début novel about a tragedy-stricken Mormon family.

Hutchinson publishing director Jocasta Hamilton has signed world rights to Here We Are Together, the ‘devastatingly emotional and sharply observed’ novel of a Lancashire Mormon family whose world is shattered when the youngest daughter, Issy, dies. The father believes the family will see her again in heaven, while seven-year-old Jacob thinks he’ll be able to perform a resurrection miracle if he prays hard enough.

Carys completed the novel as part of a PhD in Creative Writing at Edge Hill and couldn’t believe it when she got the call. “Forty-eight hours after she sent my novel out on submission, my agent telephoned me at home and said, ‘You need to sit down’. No one has ever said that to me before. When I heard the news, I reached for my mobile to text my husband but I couldn’t form the words because my thumb was shaking so much. My children appeared and as soon as they realised what was happening they ran around the house cheering.”

She added: “I’m delighted that my novel has been selected by a publisher with such an impressive list. Hutchinson and Windmill publish some wonderful writers and their books are objects of beauty. It was a real pleasure to meet Jocasta and hear her talk so enthusiastically about the novel and I can’t wait to work with her.

Told by each member of the Bradley family during a time of particular sadness, Carys’ novel is a story of doubt, faith and absent miracles amid the enduring and sometimes chafing bonds of family.

Publisher Jocasta said: “I loved Carys’ writing from the first page but by the time I was weeping with the different members of the Bradley family, I knew this was an incredibly special novel that I would be so proud to publish. Emotionally true, morally interesting, structurally inventive, Here We Are Together takes you to the heart of what being part of a family means.”

Carys herself grew up in a strict Mormon family but in her early thirties she replaced religion with writing.

“I began creative writing in earnest when I started my MA at Edge Hill. I was very shy about my writing when I started the course, but I’d hit my thirties and saw this as a last chance to find out if this was something I could do.”

Carys’ tutors soon spotted her talent and urged her to send her stories to literary magazines. Her first story to be published was The Ice Baby, which appeared in New Fairy Tales.

The Southport mother-of-four then won the MA category of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize in 2010 before going on to scoop the Scott Prize for Short Stories, an international award for a first collection of short stories by a single author.

Her first novel will be published in hardback in June 2014.

Winning Short Story Highlights Honour Killings

ShortStory2013_046

Writing about harrowing honour killings in the Middle-East has scooped Edge Hill University student Saffron Palmer a prestigious literary award.

The 20-year-old from Norfolk has been named the first ever Jo Powell BA Prize winner, a new category introduced in this year’s Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2013.

It was set up to commemorate and celebrate the life of crime writer Jo Powell, a well-loved and highly regarded lecturer who was a creative writing tutor at Edge Hill when she died of a brain haemorrhage in May 2011.

“I was completely shocked when I was told I had won – I couldn’t speak,” said Saffron, a 2nd Year BA (Hons) student in Creative Writing and English Literature at Edge Hill. “It’s an amazing feeling to know that my writing is liked by people. It was also a very humbling experience to know that I had been given the award in memory of someone who was so highly-respected. Meeting her family on the night of the awards in London was a massive honour. Also having the opportunity to meet literary experts was very exciting for me and I got lots of tips and advice on how to progress my writing career.”

Her winning piece, Laila, focuses on honour killings, a subject that Saffron feels very strongly about.

“I was inspired to write about the topic after reading a book about it. We see stories in the media and it’s so extreme, so cruel, but it happens and I think it’s something that needs to be addressed more widely.

Laila is just a mild example of what actually goes on and it happens in England too. It’s so scary to know that a member of a family or social group can be murdered due to the belief that the victim has brought dishonour or shame upon the family or community. It needs to be stopped.”

Saffron had not thought about writing short stories until she started studying at Edge Hill University. “It’s the perfect style for me though because I’m far too impatient and lack the attention span to actually write a novel.”

She added: “I have always got my nose in a book and since coming to Edge Hill I’ve loved being able to explore different genres and trying out new ideas. I’d recommend the University to anybody because the course is one of the best in the country and the level of support from tutors is amazing, it’s a great place to study and I’m loving my time here.”

Academic turns student for literary award

ShortStory2013_047

A film academic has been named this year’s MA Creative Writing winner in the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize 2013.

Jenny Barrett, Programme Leader for Film Studies at Edge Hill University, scooped the £500 prize for her story The Last Day at Woolworths during a special ceremony in London.

Her tale – about an elderly lady who loves crosswords and decides to go shoplifting on the day that the iconic British store closes down – was praised by judges for being very believable, moving and for its strong characterisation.

“It was such an honour to win,” said Jenny. “On the night it was a tremendous experience to meet lots of talented writers, publishers, journalists and other influential people who all have different perspectives within the literary industry. Everyone seemed so interested in what I was writing about and it was fantastic to meet so many like-minded people.”

Despite her day job in academia discussing films, Jenny has always loved reading and writing so decided to study an MA in Creative Writing at her place of work.

“Although I’m surrounded by films every day I’m very passionate about the written word,” said Jenny. “Fiction on the page is very different to the big screen. I’m not a filmmaker but I can write, which is why I started penning my own stories a few years ago. However, it can be quite isolating so I wanted to spend time with people who also write. I kept getting this tap on my shoulder saying, write, write, write and decided that I wanted to study the subject.

“At first I thought it would be weird to be a student as well as an academic at Edge Hill but I genuinely believe in life-long learning and I love the idea of doing something new. The MA has been fantastic for me because it is motivating me to write more and enter competitions. It is such a fulfilling process and it has made me be a lot more disciplined.”

The 45-year-old, originally from Berkshire, had never tried writing short stories until she started her MA but it is a genre she has adapted to quickly.

“It’s tough to be able to write within such a small, succinct place, and is very different to writing novels, but I really like it and want to branch out more into this style. That’s the beauty of the MA though because it allows you to explore so many genres,” said Jenny.

“I’d recommend the MA Creating Writing course to anybody interested in expanding their knowledge and skills because it’s suitable for so many types of writers. You need to be committed to reading and writing and be prepared to read books you’re not normally exposed to. Most of all, grasp the opportunity to experiment.”

Irish author Kevin Barry wins Edge Hill Prize

Winner Kevin Barry

Winner Kevin Barry

Literary supernova Kevin Barry has been named the winner of the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize 2013.

The Irish writer, who has recently won a string of major literary awards, also picked up the Readers’ Prize, judged by Edge Hill Creative Writing students, at an awards ceremony tonight (4th July) at Waterstones Piccadilly, London for his collection Dark Lies The Island, published by Jonathan Cape.

Receiving both the first prize of £5,000 and the £1,000 Readers’ Choice Prize, Kevin said: “I feel bad that I’ve actually won two prizes. Maybe I’m not always the most humble child in the room but with such talent on the shortlist I feel very close to humble tonight. My thanks to Edge Hill University for keeping this important prize going. The short story should be kept to the fore as it’s such an important genre of writing – we need stories in our lives”.

“For me the short story is my first love. When I started out in journalism I always felt that there was a murky part in my brain that I wasn’t using, and that’s when I started to write short stories. I think that the genre has become more popular in recent years, particularly as more people are reading online, so they want more intense reads and the short story fits this perfectly – long may it continue.”

Born in Limerick, Kevin spent much of his youth travelling, living in 17 addresses by the time he was 36. He lived variously in Cork, Santa Barbara, Barcelona, and Liverpool before settling in Sligo, purchasing and renovating a run-down Royal Irish Constabulary barracks. His decision to settle down was driven primarily by the increasing difficulty in moving large quantities of books from house to house.

He started out as a journalist for a local paper, going on to do freelance work, columns and sketches for Glasgow’s Sunday Herald, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Times and The Guardian.

After leaving journalism to write fiction, Kevin published his first collection of short stories, There Are Little Kingdoms, which won the 2007 Rooney Prize for Literature. Most recently, his genre-busting novel, City of Bohane, scooped the 2013 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and he was also last year’s Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award winner.

He says it has been a “long hard road” but his own self-belief, self-discipline and determination are finally paying off.

Offering words of advice to other writers he said: “Work hard, always make sure you finish everything you start, I think that’s critical. And try to write when you’re still half asleep in the morning as writing comes from the same place as dreaming.”

Judge Sarah Hall described Kevin as a “master of all” and congratulated him for his “outstanding power and range” and for creating “convincing worlds of the natural and unnatural”.

The other writers on this year’s shortlist were: Dublin-born Emma Donoghue, best known for her Booker short-listed novel, Room (2010); Adam Marek, who won the 2011 Arts Foundation Short Story Fellowship and was shortlisted for the inaugural Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award; Jon McGregor, who was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Prize in 2010 and 2011 and is also an IMPAC prize-winner; Jane Rogers, the award-winning author of The Testament of Jessie Lamb, who was a finalist in the BBC National Short Story Competition 2009; and Lucy Wood with her debut collection Diving Belles.

Dr Ailsa Cox, Co-ordinator of the Prize and Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “Ours is the only UK award that recognises excellence in a published collection of short stories and each year the number and quality of the submissions is growing. 38 books were entered this year, both debut collections and work from some of our most highly acclaimed fiction-writers.  Extending the shortlist from five to six titles has not made the judges’ job any easier, but Kevin Barry is a deserving winner, joining Colm Tóibín and Claire Keegan as the third Irish winner of the Edge Hill Prize.”

The judging panel included Sarah Hall, 2012 prize-winner for The Beautiful Indifference, alongside Scottish author and literary critic Lesley McDowell and Jim Lee, Regional Buyer at Waterstones.

 

This year’s winner of the Edge Hill University MA Creative Writing category went to Jenny Barrett, who received a prize of £500. The new Jo Powell BA Prize of £500 went to Saffron Palmer.

 

Twitter reaction to shortlist announcement

There was lots of positive feedback on Twitter yesterday after revealing the exciting shortlist for this year’s Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2013. Here’s a few comments.

Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2013 Shortlist

Last year's winner Sarah Hall picks up her award at the ceremony in London.

Last year’s winner Sarah Hall picks up her award at the ceremony in London.

A number of literary heavyweights feature on this year’s shortlist for the prestigious Edge Hill Short Story Prize.

Among the finalists for the £5,000 prize are Irish writer Kevin Barry, last year’s Sunday Times Short Story Prize winner, Jon McGregor, winner of the 2012 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Even The Dogs, Emma Donoghue, who was Booker Prize shortlisted for Room and award-winning novelist Jane Rogers.

To reflect the strong showing of talented writers, this year’s shortlist has been extended to six names and also includes Adam Marek, winner of the 2011 Arts Foundation Short Story Fellowship, and Lucy Wood with her debut collection Diving Belles.

The final list of nominated authors and short story collections competing for the prize are:

  • Kevin Barry – Dark Lies The Island (Jonathan Cape)
  • Emma Donoghue – Astray (Pan Macmillan)
  • Adam Marek – The Stone Thrower (Comma Press)
  • Jon McGregor – This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You (Bloomsbury)
  • Jane Rogers – Hitting Trees With Sticks (Comma Press)
  • Lucy Wood – Diving Belles (Bloomsbury)

Prize co-ordinator Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “Writers and their publishers are recognising the significance of this prize, unique in the British book world. This year we saw the biggest and the most impressive long-list we’ve ever had and it was so difficult to whittle the finalists down to our usual five that we decided to extend the nominees to six. It’s been an extraordinary year for short story publishing, with strong showings from both established writers and debut collections. Picking an overall winner from such a diverse list is going to be harder than ever for the three judges.”

Now in its seventh year, the Edge Hill Prize is the only UK award that recognises excellence in a published collection of short stories.

The judging panel includes the 2012 award-winning writer Sarah Hall, alongside Scottish author and literary critic Lesley McDowell and Jim Lee, Regional Buyer at Waterstones.

The prize has three categories:

  • The main literary award of £5,000.
  • The £1,000 Readers’ Choice, chosen from the same shortlist.
  • A £500 student prize, which will reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 4th July at Waterstones Piccadilly, London.

Short biographies for the five writers are as follows:

  • Kevin Barry. The Limerick native got his start as a journalist for a local paper. He went on to do freelance work, columns and sketches for Glasgow’s Sunday Herald, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Times and The Guardian. After leaving journalism to write fiction, Barry published his first collection of short stories, There Are Little Kingdoms, which won the 2007 Rooney Prize for Literature. His novel, City of Bohane, is shortlisted for the 2013 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
  • Emma Donoghue. Born in Dublin in 1969, the award-winning writer is now living in Canada with her family. She is best known for her Booker short-listed novel, Room (2010) which an international best-seller, and her work has been translated into over forty languages. Astray is her fourth short story collection.  From the age of 23, she has earned her living as a writer, and in her own words has been “lucky enough to never have an honest job since I was sacked after a single summer month as a chambermaid”.
  • Adam Marek. The award-winning short story writer won the 2011 Arts Foundation Short Story Fellowship, and was shortlisted for the inaugural Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. His first story collection Instruction Manual for Swallowing was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Prize. His stories have appeared in many magazines, including Prospect and The Sunday Times Magazine.
  • Jon McGregor. Based in Nottingham, McGregor was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Prize in 2010 and 2011. His first novel, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, was longlisted for the Booker Prize, making him its youngest contender. In 2012, his third novel, Even the Dogs, was awarded the International Dublin Literary Award. The New York Times has labelled him a “wicked British writer”.
  • Jane Rogers. The Manchester-based novelist and scriptwriter has published seven novels, including Mr Wroe’s Virgins, Island and The Testament of Jessie Lamb. She also writes original television and radio drama, and has adapted work for radio and TV. The title story of her shortlisted collection was a finalist in the BBC National Short Story Competition 2009. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Professor of Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, and a mentor for Gold Dust.
  • Lucy Wood. Lucy Wood’s Diving Belles is a debut collection. Lucy grew up in Cornwall and has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Exeter University. Many of the stories in the collection are based on her fascination with ancient folklore. 

An evening with prizewinning novelist Sarah Hall

Award-winning author Sarah Hall will make a rare public appearance to read her work at Edge Hill University.

Sarah was named the winner of the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize 2012, along with the Edge Hill Readers’ Prize category, for her first collection of short stories, The Beautiful Indifference.

Despite being the author of four prizewinning novels, including The Carhullan Army and The Electric Michelangelo, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2004, last year was the first time Sarah had been recognised for her debut short story collection.

Speaking about this genre, she said: “I really love writing short stories; it’s my ideal form because it can be unsettling, allows you to go into dark corners and allows you to challenge the ordinary, which is what I enjoy. It’s taken me a while to have the confidence to write this way though because I never felt I was very good at structure or shape. But winning this award shows I can do it.”

She will take to the stage at the Arts Centre on 27th February to enthral the audience with her work.

The Cumbrian writer is the author of Haweswater, which won the 2003 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel, a Society of Authors Betty Trask Award, and a Lakeland Book of the Year prize. Sarah’s four novels have already shown her to be a writer of extraordinary talents, whether in the rough magic of The Carhullan Army, about female resistance in a near-future police state, which was listed as one of The Times 100 Best Books of the Decade, or the passionate intertwined narratives of art and identity that make up the Booker-longlisted How to Paint a Dead Man, which also won the Portico Prize for Fiction 2010.

Born in 1974, Sarah received a BA from Aberystwyth University, Wales, and an MLitt in Creative Writing from St Andrews, Scotland. She is an honorary fellow of Aberystwyth University and a fellow of the Civitella Ranieri Foundation (2007). She regularly tutors for the Faber Academy and the Arvon Foundation, and has taught creative writing in a variety of institutions in the UK and abroad.

Bookings are now being taken for the event on Wednesday 27th February, which is being hosted by Edge Hill’s Creative Writing Department. Tickets are priced at £4.50, please contact the Box Office on 01695 584480 or online at www.edgehill.ac.uk/artscentre.

If you would like to know more about courses in Creative Writing or English Literature, please contact the Course Information, Advice and Guidance Team on 01695 657000 or by email study@edgehill.ac.uk.

Short Story Prize 2013 call for entries

Published authors are being encouraged to enter the prestigious 2013 Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story.

The award, now in its seventh year, is organised by Edge Hill University and recognises excellence in a published single author short story collection.

It is unique as it is the only such award for a whole collection from a British/Irish author in the UK.

The 2012 winner was award-winning writer Sarah Hall for her first short story collection The Beautiful Indifference, a dark, fierce and sensual piece of fiction that gets to the heart of matters. Sarah, who also scooped the Readers’ Choice category, is also the author of four novels, including The Electric Michelangelo and How to Paint a Dead Man. She will serve as a judge in 2013, alongside Scottish author and literary critic Lesley McDowell and Jim Lee, Regional Buyer at Waterstones.

Other previous winners and shortlisted authors include Jeremy Dyson, Graham Mort, Robert Shearman, Helen Simpson, Neil Gaiman, Chris Beckett, Colm Toibin and Claire Keegan.

Prize co-ordinator Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “Each year the competition grows stronger and stronger as more publishers recognise the significance of this unique award for the short story. I’m sure this year will be no exception and I’m confident that in our seventh year we will attract entries from a diverse range of writers, from well-established names to burgeoning new talent.”

The prize has three categories:

  • The main literary award of £5,000. A panel of judges will choose the winner from a shortlist of five collections to be announced in May.
  • The £1,000 Readers’ Choice, chosen from the same shortlist.
  • A £500 student prize, which will reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course.

Publishers are invited to submit collections for consideration up to the closing date of 4th March. Collections must be published during 2012. For more information, please contact Ailsa Cox on 01695 584121 or email wendy.gillett@go.edgehill.ac.uk.

Sarah Hall named this year’s Edge Hill University Short Story Prize winner

Award-winning writer Sarah Hall has been named the winner of the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize 2012.

The writer also picked up the Readers’ Prize, judged by Edge Hill students, at an awards ceremony tonight (5th July) at the Free Word Centre, London, for her first short story collection The Beautiful Indifference.

Receiving both the first prize of £5,000 and the £1,000 Readers’ Prize, Sarah said: “It’s so lovely to win both prizes, especially when you know there has been a big debate about all of the shortlisted collections. To have such a diverse audience enjoy my work is amazing; it’s a mix of people in the literary world and students. In fact, I don’t know of any other prize where students get to read and choose the winner – I think it’s brilliant.”

Although Sarah is no stranger to winning awards for her writing, this is the first time she has won for a short story collection.

Speaking about this genre, she said: “I really love writing short stories; it’s my ideal form because it can be unsettling, allows you to go into dark corners and allows you to challenge the ordinary, which is what I enjoy. It’s taken me a while to have the confidence to write this way though because I never felt I was very good at structure or shape. But winning this award shows I can do it.”

Student Martin Palmer, who is graduating this month with a BA (Hons) in English and Creative Writing, was one of the students who judged the Readers’ category. He said: “It was a great privilege to read all the collections but the winner, Sarah, demonstrated a deep passion for language.”

Judges described a dark, fierce and sensual piece of fiction that gets to the heart of things. Judge Suzi Feay said: “It was an incredibly tough decision, we all spent a good deal of time talking about what we loved about each of the collections, and then we savaged them all to bits, and built them back up again. There were such high standards, but one had to win, which was Sarah’s for the beautiful way in which the collection was written.”

The Cumbrian writer is the author of Haweswater, which won the 2003 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel, a Society of Authors Betty Trask Award, and a Lakeland Book of the Year prize. Sarah’s four novels have already shown her to be a writer of extraordinary talents, whether in the rough magic of The Carhullan Army, about female resistance in a near-future police state, which was listed as one of The Times 100 Best Books of the Decade, or the passionate intertwined narratives of art and identity that make up the Booker-longlisted How to Paint a Dead Man, which also won the Portico Prize for Fiction 2010.

Born in 1974, she received a BA from Aberystwyth University, Wales, and an MLitt in Creative Writing from St Andrews, Scotland. She is an honorary fellow of Aberystwyth University and a fellow of the Civitella Ranieri Foundation (2007). She regularly tutors for the Faber Academy and the Arvon Foundation, and has taught creative writing in a variety of institutions in the UK and abroad.

Dr Ailsa Cox, Co-ordinator of the Prize and Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “Ours is the only UK award that recognises excellence in a published collection of short stories and each year it just gets bigger and better, attracting established names and newcomers, from a wide range of mainstream publishers and independent presses. This year’s judging was extremely difficult but Sarah’s unique flair and love of language made her a deserving winner.”

The other authors included on this year’s all-female shortlist were: A.J Ashworth, a former journalist, whose debut collection of short stories, Somewhere Else, Or Even Here, won Salt Publishing’s Scott Prize 2011; Tessa Hadley, who teaches Literature and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and was shortlisted for The Story Award in the US; Zoe Lambert, a Manchester-based writer who was the founder of cult Manchester literature night, Verberate; and Rowena Macdonald, who works at the House of Commons and has won two Asham Awards.

The judging panel included the 2011 winner Graham Mort, also known as one of contemporary poetry’s finest practitioners, alongside writer and critic Suzi Feay, and Professor Rhiannon Evans, former Pro Vice-Chancellor at Edge Hill University.

This year’s winner of the Edge Hill University MA Creative Writing category went to Dawn Wild, who received a prize of £500.

 

What makes a great short story?

Short story judges have been on campus to decide who should be this year’s winner of the Edge Hill Prize and talk about what makes this genre of writing special to both readers and writers.

Now in its sixth year, this is the only UK only award that recognises excellence in a published collection of stories. It plays a vital role in bringing much-needed attention to this neglected form.

The judging panel this year includes writer and critic Suzi Feay, alongside the 2011 winner Graham Mort, who is also Professor of Creative Writing and Transcultural Literature at Lancaster University; and Professor Rhiannon Evans, former Pro Vice-Chancellor at Edge Hill University.

Suzi has been writing about books for 20 years at Time Out, the Independent on Sunday and the Financial Times, and is an influential literary blogger.

Talking about the Prize, she said: “Up until a few years ago I actually disliked short stories until somebody accused me of being prejudiced at a competition I was judging. Since then I have started to read them more and when I was asked to be a judge for the Edge Hill Prize I was really keen to get involved. After reading the shortlisted collection I’m converted. It’s great to read such a variety of work and it’s also a good way of discovering new writers too.”

So what makes a good short story? According to the judges it should be written well, have structure, surprise, tension, a sense of voice, an edge and it should take you on a journey.

Graham is very much a fan of the short story and knows how important it is to have this type of prize being a previous winner. He said: “Edge Hill University has done a fantastic job in raising the profile of the short story and has been very influential in bringing this genre of writing very much in the public eye. Its democratic nature is what is so impressive about it because of the sheer ranges of writers and publishers involved. It’s such a strong shortlist this year, which is testimony to the reputation of the prize itself and it’s important to realise the energy and complexity that goes into the process of judging.”

Although the judges all have their own ideas and different tastes, all agreed that they enjoyed the discussions in choosing a final winner.

Rhiannon said: “We all have certain criteria in our own minds, which has made for lively debates, but it has been great to be involved. During my time at Edge Hill the award was still only an idea but it had my full backing and it is now well-established, which is great to see. I’m thrilled that the students also have a direct input in judging this year’s readers’ category, which is a great opportunity for them.”

Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University and co-ordinator of the Prize, said: “It’s been a pleasure to listen to such an in-depth discussion of the five collections, each one of them an outstanding achievement for the writer concerned.”

The authors nominated are:

  • A.J Ashworth – Somewhere Else, Or Even Here (Salt Publishing).
  • Tessa Hadley – Married Love (Cape).
  • Sarah Hall – The Beautiful Indifference (Faber).
  • Zoe Lambert – The War Tour (Comma).
  • Rowena Macdonald – Smoked Meat (Flambard).

The recipient of the 2012 award will be drawn from the shortlist of five and will be announced at the awards ceremony on 5th July at the Free Word Centre in London. The winner will receive a cheque for £5,000. An additional Readers’ Choice award of £1,000 is awarded to a writer from the shortlist. A £500 student prize will also be given to one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course.

All-female shortlist for Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2012

Only woman writers have been shortlisted for the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize 2012.

Now in its sixth year, it is the only UK only award that recognises excellence in a published collection of short stories and has attracted established names competing alongside relative newcomers.

This year’s event attracted a record number of entries from a diverse range of writers, with interest from a wide range of mainstream publishers and independent presses.

It’s the first time that the shortlisting has resulted in an all-female finale. The authors nominated are:

  • A.J Ashworth – Somewhere Else, Or Even Here (Salt Publishing).
  • Tessa Hadley – Married Love (Cape).
  • Sarah Hall – The Beautiful Indifference (Faber).
  • Zoe Lambert – The War Tour (Comma).
  • Rowena Macdonald – Smoked Meat (Flambard).

Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University and co-ordinator of the Prize, said: “Women writers have always featured strongly on the shortlist, but it is quite unusual to have all female finalists for a literary prize.

“We’re delighted by the sheer quality and diversity of the shortlist. A good short story is intense and exciting, sometimes sad and often very comic. The five collections all have these vital ingredients – so I predict that judging will be difficult this year.”

The judging panel includes the 2011 winner Graham Mort, also known as one of contemporary poetry’s finest practitioners, alongside writer and critic Suzi Feay, and Professor Rhiannon Evans, former Pro Vice-Chancellor at Edge Hill University.

The prize has three categories:

  • The main literary award of £5,000. A panel of judges will choose the winner from a shortlist of five collections to be announced in May.
  • The £1,000 Readers’ Choice, chosen from the same shortlist.
  • A £500 student prize, which will reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 5th July at the Free Word Centre in London.

Short biographies for the five writers are as follows.

  • A.J Ashworth. This is the Lancashire-born former journalist’s debut collection of short stories, which also won Salt Publishing’s Scott Prize 2011. She has previously had stories published in magazines such as Tears in the Fence, The Warwick Review, and The View From Here. She has also been longlisted/shortlisted in competitions including the Willesden Herald International Short Story Competition, the Short Fiction Competition and Fish Short Story Prize.
  • Tessa Hadley. Based in Cardiff, Tessa teaches Literature and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. She reviews regularly for the London Review of Books and the Guardian and was shortlisted for The Story Award in the US. She has also been a judge for the IMPAC literary prize 2011 and for the BBC Short Story Award 2011.
  • Sarah Hall. The multi award-winning writer from Cumbria is the author of Haweswater, which won the 2003 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel, a Society of Authors Betty Trask Award, and a Lakeland Book of the Year prize. She has been featured in The Times 100 Best Books of the Decade. This is her first collection of short stories.
  • Zoe Lambert. The Manchester-based writer lectures on creative writing at universities across the north-west. She was the founder of cult Manchester literature night, Verberate. The War Tour, her first collection, reflects her work as an active campaigner for asylum seekers by engaging with the experiences of the casualties of war.
  • Rowena Macdonald. Smoked Meat is based on the author’s time in Montreal working as a waitress, bartender, life-model and cleaner. She now lives in London and works at the House of Commons. Her stories have appeared in anthologies published by Serpent’s Tail, Roast Books and The Do-Not Press. She has won two Asham Awards, the 2010 Exeter Writers competition and the 2008 Writers Inc competition.

Record numbers for Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2012

The prestigious Edge Hill Short Story Prize has attracted a record number of entries, with interest from a wide range of mainstream publishers and independent presses.

A diverse range of writers from the literary world have entered their work in the 2012 awards.

Now in its sixth year, it is the only UK only award that recognises excellence in a published collection of short stories and has attracted established names competing alongside relative newcomers for the £5,000 main prize and £1,000 Readers’ Prize.

The long-list of 31 writers includes: Edna O’Brien, doyenne of Irish writers and winner of last year’s Frank O’Connor prize; Robert Shearman, a previous Readers’ Prize winner, who also writes for Dr Who; London-based Hanan Al-Shaykh, one of the leading contemporary women writers from the Arab world; and Welsh author Robert Minhinnick, shortlisted for this year’s Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award.

Prize co-ordinator Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “This is the biggest and most eclectic long-list we’ve ever had, with a fantastic mix of voices and styles. Clearly, writers and their publishers are recognising the significance of this prize, unique in the British book world.

“The variety is matched by the very high standard of so many of these collections.  It is going to be very hard to winnow out a short-list of only five. I’m delighted that our own students at Edge Hill will be judging the Readers’ Prize this year because they are the prize-winning writers of the future.”

The shortlist will be revealed in May and the winners announced at an awards ceremony on 5th July at the Free Word Centre in London.

The judging panel this year includes the 2011 winner Graham Mort, also known as one of contemporary poetry’s finest practitioners, alongside writer and critic Suzi Feay, and Professor Rhiannon Evans, former Pro Vice-Chancellor at Edge Hill University.

The prize has three categories:

  • The main literary award of £5,000. A panel of judges will choose the winner from a short-list of five collections to be announced in May.
  • The £1,000 Readers’ Choice, chosen from the same shortlist.
  • A £500 student prize, which will reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course.

Names on the long-list are as follows:

  • Nina Allan – The Silver Wind (Eibonvale). A regular contributor to Interzone and Black Static, and was short-listed for the 2010 British Fantasy Award in the Short Fiction category.
  • Hanan Al-Shaykh – One Thousand and One Nights (Bloomsbury). The Lebanese novelist, short-story writer and playwright, is one of the leading contemporary women writers in the Arab world. Some of her wok has been banned in parts of the Middle East.
  • Gaynor Arnold – Lying Together (Tindal Street Press). The former social worker was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2008 and the Orange Prize for Fiction 2009.
  • A.J Ashworth – Somewhere Else, Or Even Here (Salt Publishing). A prize-winning writer and this debut collection of short stories also won Salt Publishing’s Scott Prize 2011.
  • Neil Campbell – Pictures from Hopper (Salt Publishing). He has had numerous short stories and poems published in magazines.
  • Charles Christian – This is the Quickest Way Down (PROXIMA Publishing). He is the founding editor of Ink Sweat & Tears.
  • Stanley Donwood – Household Worms (Tangent Books). He is known for his close association with the British rock group Radiohead, having created all their album and poster art.
  • Catherine Eisner – Listen Close To Me (Salt Publishing). Her fictions have appeared regularly in a number of UK literary journals and she is an Associate of the Royal College of Art.
  • Stuart Evers – Ten Stories about Smoking (Picador). A former bookseller and editor, he now writes about books for the Guardian, Independent, New Statesman, Time Out and many other publications.
  • Orfhlaith Foyle – Somewhere in Minnesota (Arlen House). The writer and poet was born in Nigeria to Irish missionary parents. Living there as well as Kenya and Malawi has had a profound effect upon her writing.
  • Sue Gee – Last Fling (Salt Publishing). An acclaimed novelist and controversial winner of the 1997 Romantic Novel of the Year Award.
  • Tessa Hadley – Married Love (Cape). She reviews regularly for the London Review of Books and the Guardian and was short-listed for The Story Award in the US. She has also been a judge for the IMPAC literary prize 2011 and for the BBC Short Story Award 2011.
  • Sarah Hall – The Beautiful Indifference (Faber). The multi award-winning writer has been featured in The Times 100 Best Books of the Decade.
  • Beda Higgins – Chameleon (Iron Press). The part-time nurse won first prize in the Mslexia Short Story Competition in 2009 and her work has been included in various anthologies and collections.
  • Nigel Jarrett – Funderland (Parthian). The Welsh freelance writer and former newspaper reporter is a winner of the Rhys Davies Prize for short fiction.
  • Dave Jeffery – Campfire Chillers (Dark Continents Publishing). He is best known for his zombie novel Necropolis Rising, which has gone on to be a UK number one Bestseller.
  • Fred Johnston – Dancing in the Asylum (Parthian). The writer, journalist and musician from Galway is also the founder of the Western Writers Centre.
  • Zoe Lambert – The War Tour (Comma). The Creative Writing lecturer at the University of Bolton is finishing her first novel and is an active campaigner for the rights of asylum seekers.
  • Stuart MacBride – Twelve Days of Winter: Crime at Christmas (Harper Collins). The Scottish writer is most famous for his crime thrillers.
  • Rowena Macdonald – Smoked Meat (Flambard). This first collection is based on her experiences waitressing while travelling in Montreal.
  • Felicity McCall – A Pitying of Doves (Guidhall Press). This is the first short-story collection from the Irish journalist and award-winning playwright, screenplay writer and novelist.
  • Alan McCormick – Dogsbodies and Scumsters (Roast Books). A Writer in Residence with InterAct, a charity providing fiction readings for stroke patients, his stories have been widely published.
  • Erinna Mettler – Starlings (Revenge Ink). After working at the British Film Institute for 13 years she decided to start writing in between raising a family and is now studying for her MA.
  • Robert Minhinnick – The Keys of Babylon (Seren). The Welsh poet, essayist, novelist and translator has also been short-listed for the Sunday Times Short Story Award 2012.
  • Jim Mullarkey – And (DoirePress). The runner-up in the 2003 Galway Cúirt Poetry Festival has recently facilitated creative writing workshops for adults with learning difficulties.
  • Courttia Newland – A Book of Blues (Flambard Publishing). The rapper and music producer is a British writer of Jamaican and Bajan heritage who was short-listed for the 2010 Alfred Fagon Award and long-listed for the 2011 Frank O’ Connor Award.
  • Edna O’Brien – Saints and Sinners (Faber). Once banned in Ireland, the Irish author now has a string of awards under her belt and won the country’s 2011 Frank O’Connor prize for this short story collection.
  • Cassandra Parkin – New World Fairy Tales (Salt Publishing). An up-and-coming writer and winner of Salt Publishing’s 2011 Scott Prize.
  • David Rix – Feather (Eibonvale). A British writer in the areas of ‘Horror’ and modern Magic Realism/Speculative Fiction.
  • Robert Shearman – Everyone’s Just So, So Special (Big Finish). He is best known as a writer for Doctor Who and has been previously short-listed for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize.
  • Simon Kurt Unsworth – Quiet Houses (Dark Continents Publishing). The British writer of supernatural fiction was nominated for a 2008 World Fantasy Award and his work has been published in a number of anthologies.

Edge Hill talent shortlisted for Scott Prize for Short Stories

A new literary talent from Edge Hill University has been shortlisted for a prestigious international writing award.

Mother-of-four and PhD student Carys Bray has been nominated for the Scott Prize for Short Stories, an annual prize for a first collection of short stories by a single author.

Carys, who won the MA category of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize in 2010 and has had stories published in various journals and magazines, said: “It’s so exciting for me to be shortlisted for this international prize. It’s a great honour and I’m keeping everything crossed.”

Her collection, Sweet Home, took about 18 months to write the stories though it took several attempts to start.

“It began when I was about nine and I spent hours writing Famous Five inspired adventures starring myself and other members of Mr Gibb’s Year 5 class,” said Carys. “It almost began when my older children were toddlers and I bought a notepad which I optimistically took it with me when I worked night shifts in a children’s home. But it began in earnest when I started my MA in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University. Some of the stories began as coursework assignments, some as competition entries and I wrote others purely because it gave me pleasure to write them. After my MA I continued writing until I had enough material to edit and organise into a collection.

“The driving element of the book is a preoccupation with family, and with the things that go wrong, and right, when people live together. I remember during my childhood there was a sign in the hallway of my parents’ house which said, ‘No Other Success Can Compensate for Failure in the Home.’ It took me a long time to realise that every home is full of failures and successes, and that failure is not always bad; it’s just a side-effect of trying. While my collection explores a variety of dark familial ‘failures,’ I hope it is also funny and ultimately optimistic.”

Carys, from Southport, had to deal with a number of challenges in her life when she was writing the collection. One of her four children was struggling with late development issues, she was trying to renovate their decrepit house and, having recently left the strict Mormon faith of her childhood, she was coming to terms with the loss of the community and friends she had grown up with.

She said: “But wonderful things were also happening. I was finally managing to organise my life to include time to write, I was beginning to feel happy with what I was writing, and it was incredibly exciting to be part of a writing community and to make new friends with shared interests. I started blogging about writing and at the end of 2010 I began to help co-ordinate the Edge Hill Short Story Prize.

“My tutors, Ailsa Cox, Robert Sheppard and Daniele Pantano, encouraged me to submit stories to journals and magazines, something I’d never done before; and people seemed to like them. And now I’ve been nominated for this prize, which is wonderful.”

Carys, who praises her husband and family for their support throughout her writing is now working on a PhD and a novel, which is about family, doubt, faith, grief and an absent miracle.

She said: “Writing is a part of my daily routine. I write standing up in the kitchen, at the dining room table, sitting on the sofa and occasionally at my new desk which still seems almost too nice to clutter.”

The Scott Prize winners will be announced in April and will receive synchronous publication in paperback in the UK and Australia and in paperback in the USA by Salt and will be issued with a standard publishing contract from Salt.

Short Story Prize 2012 is launched

Published authors are being urged to enter the prestigious 2012 Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story.

The award, now in its sixth year, is organised by Edge Hill University and recognises excellence in a published single author short story collection.

It is unique as it is the only such award for a whole collection from a British/Irish author in the UK.

The 2011 winner was Graham Mort, also known as one of contemporary poetry’s finest practitioners. His collection Touch, which was praised for its deep sensitivity to both the natural world and to human relationships.  Graham will serve as a judge in 2012, alongside writer and critic Suzi Feay.

There is also a Readers’ Choice category, which last year went to Tom Vowler, assistant editor of the literary journal Short FICTION, for his first short story collection The Method and Other Stories. This year, for the first time, the Reader’s Choice prize will be judged by creative writing students at the university.

Other previous winners and shortlisted authors include Jeremy Dyson, Robert Shearman, Helen Simpson, Neil Gaiman, Chris Beckett, Colm Toibin and Claire Keegan.

Prize co-ordinator Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “In the six years since it was founded, the Edge Hill Prize has become an important accolade for short story writers in the UK.  I’m looking forward, once more, to a range of entries from new names and established figures, all of them exploring the diversity and accessibility of this great literary form.”

The prize has three categories:

  • The main literary award of £5,000. A panel of judges will choose the winner from a shortlist of five collections to be announced in May.
  • The £1,000 Readers’ Choice, chosen from the same shortlist.
  • A £500 student prize, which will reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course.

Publishers are invited to submit collections for consideration up to the closing date of 1st March. Collections must be published during 2011. For more information, please contact Ailsa Cox on 01695 584121 or email carys.bray@edgehill.ac.uk.

Prizewinning authors celebrate with Chapter & Verse reading

Following the London ceremony in
July this year, the Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story returned to the
north-west last week with a reading at The Bluecoat in Liverpool to celebrate
the winning authors’ work.

The event, which was also held as part of the annual Chapter & Verse Literature Festival, saw main prize recipient Graham Mort read from his winning collection TouchMeanwhile, Avril Scott, who was awarded the MA Creative Writing student prize, was presented with a bound copy of her winning story The Limitless Possibilities of Life by Edge Hill’s programme leader for the MA in Creative Writing Professor Robert Sheppard.

Graham Mort and Avril Scott talk about their work and what winning the Edge Hill Prize means to them.

In Conversation with the Edge Hill Short Story Prize-winners

Winners of the 2011 Edge Hill Short Story Prize will come together for a special event as part of Liverpool’s Chapter & Verse Literature Festival.

The prestigious prize, sponsored by Edge Hill University, is awarded annually for excellence in a published short story collection.

Graham Mort who was named the winner of the overall prize, for his collection, Touch, will read alongside Tom Vowler, winner of the Readers’ Prize, judged by local schools and colleges, for his collection The Method.

In Conversation with the Edge Hill Short Story Prize-winners takes places at the Bluecoat Arts Centre on Friday 14th October, from 6.30pm to 7.45pm. During the event, the two writers will read from their work and discuss the art of the short story in the twenty-first century.

Now in its fourth year, the Bluecoat’s Chapter & Verse Festival presents a breadth of literature that appeals to all people interested in the power of the word – spoken, written, reported and performed. More than 40 writers are involved in 35 exciting events listed in the programme.

Dr Ailsa Cox, Co-ordinator of the Short Story Prize and Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “I’m delighted that these two outstanding writers are able to join us through Chapter and Verse. Both of them bring an energy and emotional power to their stories, and characters who stay in the mind’s eye long after you’ve turned the page. I’d encourage anyone interested in a good story to join us for what promises to be a great night.”

Born in Lancashire, Graham Mort is best known as an award-winning poet, and has also written radio drama.  Now based at Lancaster University, he has run writers’ workshops in a great variety of settings, including schools, prisons and psychiatrist units. He directs the ‘Crossing Borders’ project, supported by the British Council and Lancaster University, which mentors African writers in countries including Uganda, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Tom Vowler, from Devon, was named the winner of the Scott Prize 2010 for his début short fiction collection, The Method. Since winning the Edge Hill prize, he has secured a publishing contract for his forthcoming novel, a dark psychological thriller. He is also assistant editor of the literary journal Short FICTION.

Tickets for the event on 14th October are £2/£3. To book, for further information or for a copy of the programme, visit www.thebluecoat.org.uk or ring 0151 702 5324.

Poet scoops Edge Hill University Short Story Prize 2011

Graham Mort, one of contemporary poetry’s most accomplished practitioners, has been named the winner of the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize 2011.

His name was unveiled at a special awards ceremony tonight (7th July) at Blackwell bookstore in Charing Cross, London for his collection Touch. In settings from the heat of Africa to the warmth of France or the snowbound dales of northern England, the twenty-one stories displayed a deep sensitivity to both the natural world and to human relationships.

Presenting the first prize, judge Jeremy Dyson said: “When you’re a writer you never get a chance to read so it was a real pleasure to be able spend time reading the short-listed collections, the quality of which was extraordinary, it made me want to give each one a prize. For me, when something stays with you after you have read a story that is what makes a good writer. Graham Mort’s collection is so vivid and evokes character in just a few lines. His one story about the travelling salesman really haunted me. He won this prize for the sheer range of stories in his collection, I fell into so many places in one book and saw into so many lives, for me it was so wonderful to read.”


Footage from the awards ceremony.

Although Graham was unable to receive the first prize of £5,000 in person due to commitments to a project working with writers in Uganda, he sent a message of thanks, saying: “I’m sending this message from Kampala, and the title story, Touch begins here in Uganda and that seemed somehow fitting. My relief at winning was tinged with regret for the other finalists – all of them terrific writers, who also deserved to win. I’m glad that some of them will be picking up other prizes and I’m honoured to be listed amongst them. Literary prizes were never intended to provoke competition alone but to celebrate diversity, quality and commitment. I’m pleased to have been awarded the prize on those terms and in that spirit of solidarity.

“I’m sorry not to be at the ceremony, though I’m not sorry to be here in Kampala, working with Femrite, a women writers association who represent an emerging generation of Ugandan writers who don’t have this kind of opportunity to publish or win prizes. Their work is pitched at social conditions that they believe can be changed by the insights and understanding that literature creates. Thank you and cheers – have a great evening.”

Graham was born in Lancashire and studied English at Liverpool University. He worked as a mill labourer, dairy operative and psychiatric nurse before training as a teacher. He taught in schools, colleges, prisons, special education and psychiatric units before becoming a freelance writer. He also currently works as Director of Postgraduate Studies for the Department of English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University. A specialist in distance learning, he also leads the Lancaster University/British Council African writers mentoring scheme, ‘Crossing Borders’.

He writes mainly poetry but has written short fiction and radio drama for BBC Radio and also won the 2007 Bridport Prize. He has also received a major Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors for his first collection of poems, A Country on Fire and Circular Breathing.

This year’s £1,000 Readers’ Prize went to Tom Vowler for The Method and Other Stories who, upon receiving the accolade, said: “It feels wonderful and a real honour to have won the Readers Prize. This is my first short story collection and for me this is the perfect form of writing because there is such an intensity and energy to it, which is different to the novel. All writers want to be read and it’s fantastic to know that people have picked up my book and read it and they liked it, especially the young sixth formers who judged this category, it’s nice to know that my writing appealed to their age group.”

Considering himself as a late developer; he didn’t even discover books until his mid-twenties. He then tried journalism, editing and proofreading before dabbling with fiction. His stories started appearing in literary journals, doing well in competitions, and in 2009 he received an Arts Council grant to research and write a novel. The newcomer, based in Devon, was named the winner of the Scott Prize 2010 for this début short fiction collection. He is also assistant editor of the literary journal Short FICTION.

The other authors included on this year’s shortlist were:

Anglo-French author Michele Roberts, Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, for Mud, Stories and Sex and Love (Virago); London-born journalist Polly Samson, who has written lyrics for two number one albums, with Perfect Lives (Virago); and Helen Simpson, with her fifth collection Inflight Entertainment (Jonathan Cape).

The judging panel included:

Jeremy Dyson, winner of the 2010 Edge Hill University Short Story Prize, and co-creator of the hit West End play Ghost Stories and TV series The League of Gentlemen; author, presenter and Edge Hill alumnus Stuart Maconie, Marcus Gipps, editor at Gollancz Publishers and Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader In Creative Writing at Edge Hill University.

This year’s winner of the Edge Hill University MA Creative Writing category went to Avril Scott, who received a prize of £500.

Ailsa Cox, Co-ordinator of the Prize and Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “The quality of the shortlist was phenomenal this year, with a range of highly acclaimed writers, from both ‘mainstream’ and independent presses such as Graham Mort’s publisher, Seren. Graham’s well-deserved success is a reminder of the high standard of small press publishing in the UK.”

Diverse names revealed in Edge Hill Short Story Prize

Five very different writers have been shortlisted for the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize 2011.

Now in its fifth year, the unique prize is the UK’s only literary award that recognises a published collection of short stories.

This year’s event attracted entries from a variety of authors, and the shortlist is a mix of both well-known short story writers and newcomers, underlining, once again, that the prize is open to anyone, whether new to the business or well-established in the literary world.

http://audioboo.fm/boos/349861-ailsa-cox-interview
Competition co-ordinator Ailsa Cox explains more about the prize and reveals the names on the short-list.

The shortlist is:

  • Graham Mort, Touch, Seren
  • Michele Roberts, Mud, Stories and Sex and Love, Virago
  • Polly Samson, Perfect Lives, Virago
  • Helen Simpson, Inflight Entertainment, Random House
  • Tom Vowler, The Method and Other Stories, Salt Publishing

Ailsa, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “We’re delighted by the sheer quality and diversity of the shortlist. Some of these names are already familiar such as Helen Simpson who has won numerous accolades as one of those rare writers to have built a reputation exclusively on short stories. She is pitted against the likes of rising star Tom Vowler who has only been writing for the last couple of years. I think the list reflects the diversity of the prize and that it is open to anyone whether established or not.

“A good short story is intense and exciting, sometimes sad and often very comic. The five collections all have these vital ingredients – so I predict that judging will be difficult this year.”

The judging panel this year includes: scriptwriter and short story author Jeremy Dyson, winner of the 2010 Edge Hill University Short Story Prize, best known as co-creator of the hit West End play Ghost Stories and as a member of the sketch comedy team The League of Gentlemen; author, presenter and journalist Stuart Maconie, who is currently a columnist for Radio Times, Cumbria Life and Country Walking; and Marcus Gipps, previously of Blackwell books, now an editor at Gollancz.

This year’s prize has three categories – the main literary award of £5,000, the £1,000 Readers’ Prize and the Edge Hill University MA Creative Writing Prize of £500.

The winner will be announced at an award ceremony at the Blackwell Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, on 7th July.

Biographies for the five shortlisted writers are as follows:

Graham Mort. The Lancashire-born creative writing professor is also acknowledged as one of contemporary verse’s most accomplished practitioners. He worked as a mill labourer, dairy operative and psychiatric nurse before training as a teacher. He taught in schools, colleges, prisons, special education and psychiatric units before becoming a freelance writer. He now works as Director of Postgraduate Studies for the Department of English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University. A specialist in distance learning, he also leads the Lancaster University/British Council African writers mentoring scheme, ‘Crossing Borders’ and has led workshops in Uganda, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe. He writes mainly poetry but has written short fiction and radio drama for BBC Radio and also won the 2007 Bridport Prize.

Michele Roberts. The author of twelve highly acclaimed novels, including The Looking Glass and Daughters of the House which won the WHSmith Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize she is a well established wirter. Her memoir Paper Houses was BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week in June 2007. She has also published poetry and short stories. Anglo-French, she was educated at a convent school, and the Catholic Church had a deep influence on her work. She went to Oxford University and there she finally allowed herself to escape the constraints of religion – she became a feminist, rejected her faith and decided to write. Michèle Roberts lives in London and in the Mayenne, France. She is Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.

Polly Samson. The London-born journalist is the author of two collections of short stories and a novel and has written lyrics for two number one albums. Polly began writing and illustrating stories and poems from an early age and started a career in journalism writing features for the Observer and the Sunday Times as well as book reviews for the Daily Mail. Her short stories have been published in print and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. In 1993 she co-wrote, with David Gilmour whom she later married, the lyrics to seven tracks on Pink Floyd’s album The Division Bell, which went to number one on both sides of the Atlantic.

Helen Simpson. She is one of only a few writers to have built a reputation exclusively on short stories and, since 1990 has published a collection every five years. London-based Simpson isn’t short of prizes or admiring reviews. William Trevor is a fan; Jonathan Franzen puts her up there with Alice Munro and David Foster Wallace and her stories go out in the New Yorker and Granta as well as on Radio 4. She was the winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 1991 and was also selected as one of Granta’s top 20 novelists under the age of 40 in 1993.

Tom Vowler. Referring to himself as a late developer, he didn’t even discover books until his mid-twenties. He then tried stints at journalism, editing and proofreading before dabbling with fiction. His stories started appearing in literary journals, doing well in competitions, and in 2009 he received an Arts Council grant to research and write a novel. The newcomer, based in Devon, was named the winner of the Scott Prize 2010 for this début short fiction collection. He is also assistant editor of the literary journal Short FICTION.

Who is the author in the short story?

A short story expert from Edge Hill University will argue that the ‘author matters’ during an international conference on this genre of writing.

Ailsa Cox, Reader in English and Creative Writing, is guest speaker at the two-day event on 8th and 9th April at the Université d’Angers, France, which she is helping to organise in collaboration with the CRILA short story research group.

This year’s theme is ‘the Figure of the Author in the Short Story in English’ and proposes to re-investigate the question of authorship through the lens of the short story, as the brevity of the genre and its emphasis on form seem to intensify an impression of authorial presence.

A number of literary authors and scholars, including Professor Charles E. May and writer Toby LItt, will examine the issue of authorial manifestations in the short story, including Ailsa, who will be presenting a paper on British writer Helen Simpson.

Helen Simpson is the author of five acclaimed short story collections and has a string of awards under her belt.  Her most recent collection Inflight Entertainment features on the long-list for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2011, which has just been revealed, and she is interviewed in a new journal edited by Ailsa, Short Fiction in Theory and Practice. Ailsa is currently writing a book about Simpson.

Explaining why she chose Simpson’s work to talk about at the international conference, Ailsa said: “I have studied Helen’s writing and her career for a long time as she is one of the most important British short story writers and has a lot to say about contemporary life. In my paper, I talk about her story The Festival of the Immortals, which takes place at an imaginary festival populated by dead writers. I talk about the connections between reading and writing; for example, most short story writers are also avid readers.  Despite the literary theory that the ‘author is dead’, people are more interested than ever in getting to knowing the ‘real life’ author. I’m a short story writer myself and I think the live author does matter.  This is what I’ll be arguing at the conference.”

The University is a leading player for its short story research and has a growing reputation in this subject matter both nationally and internationally, not only for its academic expertise but also for running the prestigious Edge Hill Short Story Prize.

This unique accolade, now in its fifth year, is the UK’s only literary award that recognises a published collection of short stories and which always attracts entries from a number of distinguished writers and newcomers.

Ailsa said: “We’re extremely proud to run this prize, which is so important for writers and indeed the future of the short story. This genre of writing is so accessible and so many people enjoy either reading or writing in this concentrated form. Although established writers still sometimes find it difficult to have this work published, there has been a surge in the number of independents publishing them, which is why I feel that its form is well equipped to survive the current economic climate. Long may it live.”

Big names revealed in Edge Hill Short Story Prize

Some of the biggest names in the literary world have entered their works in the prestigious Edge Hill University’s Short Story Prize 2011.

The unique accolade, now in its fifth year, is the UK’s only literary award that recognises a published collection of short stories and has attracted entries from a number of distinguished writers and newcomers all competing for the winning title.

This year’s long-list has on it an impressive range of award-winning writers, including well-known short story authors Helen Simpson, Michele Roberts and James Kelman.  They are against newcomers such as Roshi Fernando and Tom Vowler who already have prizes under their belts. Also on the list are several doctors, a librarian, a former bus driver and a former debt advisor.

Jeremy Dyson, the 2010 winner of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize and who is on the judging panel for this year’s awards, said: “The variety of work that has been submitted this year is very impressive, and I am sure it is going to be very difficult to whittle it down to a shortlist, let alone to pick a winner.  Having won the prize last year, I appreciate how much this prize can mean for a writer

“I’d just like to thank Edge Hill for running this award, it is hugely important and highlights that the short story is publishable and it is popular. It is the oldest form of writing and I hope that people recognise and celebrate this.”

Names on the long-list are as follows:

  • Martin Bax – Memoirs of a Gone World (Salt Publishing). The world-renowned Consultant Paediatrician lives in London and, in addition to his medical career, is editor of the long-running literary journal Ambit which he founded.
  • Alan Beard – You Don’t Have to Say (Tindal Street Press). The librarian from Birmingham City University has had the bug for writing from the age of nine and recently had his second collection published to rave reviews.
  • Peter Bromley – Sky Light and Other Stories (Biscuit). Winner of the Biscuit International Short Fiction Prize in 2009, he walks, writes and runs in North Northumberland.
  • Jo Cannon – Insignificant Gestures (Pewter Rose Press). The doctor from Essex initially joined a reflective writing group for medics and has just had her debut collection published.
  • Roshi Fernando – Homesick (Impress Books). The London writer won the 2009 Impress Prize for New Writers. She is also on the long-list for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2011.
  • David Gaffney – The Half-life of Songs (Salt Publishing). The debt advisor turned writer draws upon these experiences in his written work. He has also written a set of short operas, developed with classical composer Ailis Ni Riain.
  • Vanessa Gebbie – Storm Warning, Echoes of Conflict (Salt Publishing). The journalist and award-winning short fiction and flash fiction writer is also the editor of Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story.
  • James Kelman – If it is Your Life (Penguin). Also well known as a cultural and political activist, the Glaswegian won the Booker Prize in 1994 and in 2008 he won Scotland’s most prestigious literary award, the Saltire Society’s Book of the Year.
  • Andre Mangeot – True North (Salt Publishing). Prize-winner in the 2006 Peterloo and Wigtown/Scottish National poetry competitions, the Cambridge writer is also a member of the performance group, The Joy of Six.
  • Jay Merill – God of the Pigeons (Salt Publishing). The freelance editor from London has had her short stories published in a wide number of literary magazines in the UK and USA.
  • Magnus Mills – Screwtop Thompson (Bloomsbury). The former bus driver from Birmingham was also columnist for The Independent newspaper before becoming a novelist. He won the McKitterick Prize in 1999.
  • Graham Mort – Touch (Seren). The Lancashire-born creative writing professor is also acknowledged as one of contemporary verse’s most accomplished practitioners. He has written short fiction and radio drama for BBC Radio and also won the 2007 Bridport Prize.
  • Nik Perring – Not So Perfect (Roast Books). The author who lives Cheshire writes mostly short stories, which have been published widely in the UK and abroad and used in a distance learning creative writing course for US high school students.
  • Susannah Rickards – Hot Kitchen Snow (Salt Publishing). The short fiction writer and creative writing teacher won the Scott Prize in 2010 for her debut collection of short stories
  • Michele Roberts – Mud, Stories and Sex and Love (Virago). Winner of the WHSmith Literary Award, the half-English half-French writer is also Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.
  • Polly Samson – Perfect Lives (Virago). The London-born author and journalist has written lyrics for two number one albums. Married to Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, she has also been asked to judge several prestigious writing competitions.
  • Helen Simpson – (Random House). Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and the Hawthornden Prize, she was also selected as one of Granta’s top 20 novelists under the age of 40 in 1993. Inflight Entertainment is her fifth short story collection.
  • Fiona Thackeray – The Secret’s in the Folding (Pewter Rose Press). The Edinburgh-born writer who runs a national charity has won prizes in the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday ‘Shorts’ competitions. In 2007 she travelled to Poland to give readings at the International Book Festival
  • Tom Vowler – The Method and Other Stories (Salt Publishing). Winner of the Scott Prize 2010 for this début short fiction collection, he is assistant editor of the literary journal Short FICTION.
  • Susie Wild – The Art of Contraception (Parthian). The writer, editor and journalist has written for many national publications including The Guardian. Her debut short film, featuring her poem Dim Smoking Girls, won The Co-op Award for New Directors at Beyond TV Festival 2007.

The short-list will be revealed in May and the winners announced at an award ceremony at the Blackwell Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, in July.

The judging panel this year includes: Scriptwriter and short story author Jeremy Dyson, who is best known as co-creator of the hit West End play Ghost Stories and as a member of the sketch comedy team The League of Gentlemen; Author, presenter and journalist Stuart Maconie, who is currently a columnist for Radio Times, Cumbria Life and Country Walking; and Marcus Gipps, previously of Blackwell books, now an editor at Gollancz.

This year’s prize has three categories:

  • The main literary award of £5,000. Judges will choose the winner from the shortlist of five collections.
  • The £1,000 Readers’ Prize chosen by pupils and community groups. They will announce their winner from the same shortlist as the main panel.
  • The Edge Hill University MA Creative Writing Prize of £500, which will be awarded to the most outstanding short story submission by a current student.

Short Story Prize 2011 is launched

Published authors are being urged to enter the prestigious 2011 Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story.

The award, now in its fifth year, is organised by Edge Hill University and recognises excellence in a published single author short story collection.

It is unique in the UK as it is the only such award for a published short story collection from a British/Irish author.

Famous screenwriter and co-creator of The League of Gentlemen Jeremy Dyson was the 2010 winner, with his collection of macabre short stories, The Cranes that Build the Cranes.

There is also a Readers’ Prize category, which last year went to Robert Shearman who writes for the popular Dr Who TV series. This prize is judged by north-west readers’ groups and sixth formers.

Other previous winners and shortlisted authors include Neil Gaiman, Chris Beckett, Colm Toibin and Claire Keegan.

Prize co-ordinator Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “Each year the competition grows stronger and stronger as more writers recognise the significance of this unique award for the short story. I’m sure this year will be no exception and I’m confident that in our fifth year we will attract entries from a diverse range of writers, including familiar household names through to virtually unheard of new talent.”

Sponsored by Blackwell, the 2011 prize will have three categories:

  • The main literary award of £5,000, plus an original piece of artwork specially commissioned by Blackwell. A panel of judges will choose the winner from a shortlist of five collections.
  • The £1,000 Readers’ Prize, chosen from the same shortlist.
  • A £500 student prize which will reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course.

Publishers are invited to submit collections for consideration up to the closing date of 1st March 2011. Collections must be published during 2010. For more information, please contact Carys Bray on 01695 584121 or email carys.bray@edgehill.ac.uk.

Southport mum wins MA Creative Writing category in Short Story Prize 2010

Rising talent Carys Bray has been named this year’s MA Creative Writing winner in the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize 2010.

To help celebrate the University’s 125th anniversary, this brand new category was introduced as part of the awards for 2010 to acknowledge one of the institution’s aspiring literary stars.

Southport mother-of four Carys was named the winner by judges for her story Just in Case at a special ceremony at Blackwell’s bookstore in Charing Cross, London last week.

The 34-year-old was stunned when she heard the news and said: “When I heard about the competition I thought it was a great idea because it’s the first time the University has done anything like this. I never expected to win so when I found out the news I was dancing all around the kitchen with my children, I was so excited. It’s also the first time that I’ve ever been paid for my work so it has made me feel like a real writer.”

She admits that she had never really tried to write until she started at the Open University. When Edge Hill introduced the new MA in Creative Writing, she thought it sounded interesting and has since built up an impressive portfolio.

Carys said: “I have found the course fantastic and really inspiring. I particularly love writing short stories because it is amazing what can be achieved in such a condensed space. Sadness, humour and many other emotions can all be expressed in the short story and that’s what I enjoy about it.

“The majority of my work involves humour but the particular story I entered is quite different, a little quirky and dark in parts. It’s about a woman who becomes unhinged after her baby dies and she borrows somebody else’s baby. The tale ends when her husband finds the child hidden in a suitcase. My inspiration came after reading a blog from a guy who had found the skeleton of a baby in a suitcase in his mum’s loft, so it was very likely that it was his sibling and he knew nothing about it. I thought this would make the basis of a really good story.”

Her work impressed the judges and she received £500 and a commemorative copy of her winning story, printed by the prize’s co-sponsor, Blackwell’s.

On the night Carys also had the chance to mingle with famous writers including screenwriter and co-creator of The League of Gentlemen Jeremy Dyson, who was this year’s first prize winner for his collection of macabre short stories, The Cranes that Build the Cranes. She was also able to pick up tips from the Readers’ Prize winner Robert Shearman who is best-known as a writer for Doctor Who as well as judge Chris Beckett, who was the winner of the 2009 Edge Hill Short Story Prize.

She said: “It was so inspiring to listen to other writers whose work I really admire. It’s nice to hear how they have made it in the literary world and it gives me hope for the future.”

A League of Gentleman creator scoops Edge Hill Short Story Prize

Famous screenwriter and co-creator of The League of Gentlemen Jeremy Dyson has been named the winner of the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize 2010.

He received the first prize of £5,000 at a special awards ceremony last night (8th July) at Blackwell’s bookstore in Charing Cross, London for his collection of macabre short stories, The Cranes that Build the Cranes. Brimming with black humour and the promise of something sinister just around the corner, the collection explores the dark depths of the human condition, offering tales of death, disaster and – just occasionally – redemption, which captured the imagination of the judges.

Upon receiving the accolade, Jeremy said: “I’m delighted to win the Edge Hill prize. Writing can be a lonely business and you can feel very sensitive towards your work so it is a boost to know that people enjoy reading it.”

Jeremy, who has been writing short stories for nearly 20 years, started as a child through his love of ghost stories and despite writing for TV, theatre and novels, he still finds this the easiest and most enjoyable genre of writing.

“There is such a purity in it, almost like a bedtime story and fairytale-like. I come up with my ideas at the oddest times, so if I think of something I’ll jot it down on a piece of paper and then store all the ideas until I’m ready to write a collection. A lot of the time a story will develop from two colliding ideas. For example, my idea for Bound South came from an image I had about an Edwardian carriage with a fire in it, quite odd but cosy. It’s such a pleasure to make up this type of story as you go along because you can really surprise yourself along the way and the reader too.”

Encouraging others to take up short story writing he said: “It is a vocation and a passion and if you have it in your heart then write short stories and make sure you get them out there, enter competitions, send to magazines and make sure people read them.

“I’d just like to thank Edge Hill for running this award, it is hugely important and highlights that the short story is publishable and it is popular. It is the oldest form of writing and I hope that people recognise and celebrate this.”

Born in Leeds, Dyson went to Leeds Grammar School before studying philosophy at Leeds University and later an MA in screenwriting at the Northern School of Film and Television. He is best known as the co-founder of the multiple award-winning TV series, The League of Gentlemen. Due to his self-confessed lack of acting skills and a rather camera-shy nature, he does not appear in the series or any of its offshoots, apart from very brief cameos. He also co-wrote and co-created the highly acclaimed comedy drama series Funland with Simon Ashdown which was nominated for a BAFTA. He is also co-author of Ghost Stories, currently playing to packed houses in the West End.

Jeremy has pursued a successful solo career as a writer. The Cranes that Build the Cranes is his third work of fiction, following a previous collection of short stories Never Trust a Rabbit (2000) which was nominated for the Macmillan Silver Pen award, and an equally acclaimed novel What Happens Now (2006) which was nominated for the Goss First Novel award.


Winner of the 2010 Edge Hill University Short Story Prize, Jeremy Dyson reads from his winning entry, The Cranes that Build the Cranes. 

This year’s £1,000 Readers’ Prize went to Robert Shearman. For the first time ever, this was judged by groups of A-level English students from the North West. It is the first time that the University have invited students to judge this category in a bid to engage young people in literature.

Upon receiving the accolade, Rob said: “The short story is very non-commercialised. When you are nominated for a prize like this it is fantastic because you always hope that people will read your work and it is evidence that people not only read it but like it. To win the Readers’ Prize means so much to me because it raises the profile of what the short story is all about – it is readable and fun and builds a complete world. Knowing that my collection appealed to the younger generation is also thrilling because they are the writers of our tomorrow.”

The shortlist included newcomer and critically acclaimed novelist Jane Feaver with Love Me Tender (Random House); Costa prize-winner turned comedian A.L. Kennedy with What Becomes (Jonathan Cape); Irish fiction writer and poet Nuala Ní Chonchúir with Nude (Salt Publishing); and Robert Shearman with Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical (Big Finish), who is best-known as a writer for Doctor Who.

Judge Chris Beckett, winner of the 2009 Edge Hill Short Story Prize said: “Jeremy’s was the most varied collection, the different moods were both dark and gentle yet all enjoyable and made you want to go on reading.”

Judge Katharine Fry, Trade Buying Manager at Blackwell added: “The shortlist of collections was of an incredibly high standard and ticked all the boxes of our criteria. Regarding the new MA Creative Writing category it was great to see new and upcoming literary talent and I look forward to seeing how their careers progress.”

To help celebrate the University’s 125th anniversary, a new category was also introduced to acknowledge one of the rising talents on the institution’s MA Creative Writing course. The winner was Carys Bray for her story Just in Case. Carys receives £500 and a commemorative copy of her winning story, printed by the prize’s co-sponsor, Blackwell’s.

Students become literary judges for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2010

Pupils from three North West schools have been given an exciting opportunity to judge one of the categories in this year’s prestigious Edge Hill University Short Story Prize.

The unique accolade, now in its fourth year, has three categories: the main literary award of £5,000; the £1,000 Readers’ Prize; and a new award which will reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course.

For the first time ever, groups of A-level English students from St John Plessington, Ormskirk School and Xaverian College will choose the winner of the Readers’ Prize. They will use the same list of five diverse writers who have been shortlisted for the UK’s only literary award that recognises a published collection of short stories. They will join the high-profile main judging panel this year including: 2009 winner Chris Beckett, Professor Tanya Byron, writer, psychologist and Edge Hill University’s Chancellor; and Katharine Fry, Trade Buying Manager at Blackwell.

The shortlist is:

  • Jeremy Dyson, The Cranes that Build Cranes, Little Brown
  • Jane Feaver, Love Me Tender, Harvill Secker
  • A.L. Kennedy, What Becomes, Jonathan Cape
  • Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Nude, Salt Publishing
  • Robert Shearman, Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical, Big Finish

It is the first time that the University has invited students to judge this category in a bid to engage young people in literature – and particularly the short story genre – in an innovative way.

Prize co-ordinator Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “This is an exciting new element to the Short Story Prize because it makes the competition even more inclusive and it will hopefully extend the genre of literature that pupils are used to reading. It will not only broaden their horizons but it may also encourage them to start writing short stories themselves. You find that most writers are avid readers in their early years and so for the students to be a part of the judging panel in this prestigious competition could be the catalyst which  inspires them to start writing. ”

To build on the success of the competition’s inclusiveness and to help celebrate the University’s 125th anniversary, a new category has been introduced to acknowledge one of the rising talents on the Institution’s MA Creative Writing course. The idea is to open the competition to new stars, encourage this form of writing and help them recognise their creativity as they try to decide ‘what kind of writer’ they are.

Ailsa added: “Uniquely, the Short Story Prize is awarded for collections of short stories, rather than individual narratives, and is open to all genres – from science fiction to literary texts. In the past the short story has been considered the poor relation to the novel which is why it is important to encourage writers to try different styles. The prize shows that it is possible to make a literary career out of writing short stories because people are getting fed up with being offered the same stuff from novels. The short story is a refreshing, electrifying alternative, which our awards highlight.”

The winners of all the categories will be announced in July  at an awards ceremony  at Blackwell Charing Cross bookstore in London who are also sponsors of the award.

2010 Edge Hill Short Story Prize shortlist announced

Five diverse writers have been shortlisted for the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize 2010.

The unique accolade, now in its fourth year, is the UK’s only literary award that recognises a published collection of short stories.

This year’s event, which also celebrates Edge Hill University’s 125th anniversary celebrations, attracted entries from a number of distinguished writers and newcomers and the shortlist reflects the sheer variety of talented names in the short story world.

The shortlist is:

  • Jeremy Dyson, The Cranes that Build Cranes, Little Brown
  • Jane Feaver, Love Me Tender, Harvill Secker
  • A.L. Kennedy, What Becomes, Jonathan Cape
  • Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Nude, Salt Publishing
  • Robert Shearman, Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical, Big Finish

Competition co-ordinator Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “We’re delighted by the quality and diversity of the shortlist. Some of these names are already familiar such as Jeremy Dyson, Rob Shearman and A.L Kennedy. A good short story is intense and exciting, sometimes sad and often very comic.  The The five collections all have these vital ingredients – so I predict that judging will be difficult this year.”

The judging panel this year includes: Professor Tanya Byron, writer, psychologist and Edge Hill University’s Chancellor; Katharine Fry, Trade Buying Manager at Blackwell; and 2009 winner Chris Beckett.

Co-sponsored by Blackwell, the 2010 prize has three categories: the main literary award of £5,000; the £1,000 Readers’ Prize; and a new prize which will reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course.

The winners will be announced on 8th July at an awards ceremony in July at Blackwell’s Charing Cross bookstore in London.

Biographies for the five shortlisted writers are as follows:

Jeremy Dyson

Born in Leeds, he is the co-founder of the multiple award-winning TV series, The League of Gentlemen. Jeremy co-wrote and co-created the highly acclaimed comedy drama series Funland with Simon Ashdown which was nominated for a BAFTA.  He received a further BAFTA nomination – with the rest of the creative team – for his work on BBC1’s Armstrong and Miller Show and in 2008 he contributed his version of Three Billy Goats Gruff to BBC1’s Fairy Tales series. Jeremy has also pursued a successful solo career as a writer.  He has produced two works of fiction: an acclaimed collection of short stories Never Trust a Rabbit (2000) which was nominated for the Macmillan Silver Pen award, an equally acclaimed novel What Happens Now (2006) which was nominated for the Goss First Novel award. Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s sell-out, critically acclaimed play, Ghost Stories, is currently on at the Lyric Theatre in London’s Hammersmith and will soon move to the West End.

A.L. Kennedy

The author of five previous novels, two books of non-fiction, and threecollections of short stories, A.L. Kennedy’s most recent book, Day, was theCosta Book of the Year. The writer and comedian has twice been selected as one of Granta’s Bestof Young British Novelists and has won many prizes including the LannanLiterary Award, the Austrian State Prize for European Literature, theSomerset Maugham Award, the Encore Award and the Saltire Scottish Book of theYear Award. She lives in Glasgow and is a part-time lecturer in creativewriting at Warwick University.

Jane Feaver

Born in Durham in 1964, after reading English at universityJaneworked at the Pitt Rivers Museum and then in the Poetry Department atFaber and Faber. In 2001 she moved to Devon with her daughter.

Nuala Ní Chonchúir

The full-time fiction writer and poet lives in Galway county and has published two collections of short fiction and two poetry collections – one in an anthology and her début novel You was published by New Island in April 2010. Nuala holds a BA in Irish from Trinity College Dublin and a Masters in Translation Studies (Irish/English) from Dublin City University. She has worked as an art administrator in theatre and in a writers’ centre, as a translator, as a bookseller and also in a university library. Nuala teaches creative writing on a part-time basis.

Robert Shearman

The award-winning writer for stage, television and radio is probably best known for his work on Doctor Who, bringing the Daleks back to the screen in the BAFTA winning first series of the revival in an episode nominated for a Hugo. He was resident playwright at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter, and regular writer for Alan Ayckbourn at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Easy Laughter won the Sunday Times Playwriting Award, Fool to Yourself the Sophie Winter Memorial Trust Award, and Binary Dreamers the Guinness Award for Ingenuity in association with the Royal National Theatre. For radio he is a regular contributor to the afternoon play slot, produced by Martin Jarvis, and his series The Chain Gang has won two Sony awards. His first collection of short stories, Tiny Deaths, was published by Comma Press in 2007and won the World Fantasy Award for best collection. It was also shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize and nominated for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize.

High profile literary names revealed in Edge Hill Short Story Prize

Big names in the literary world as well as screenwriters, an actor and a comedian have entered their works in Edge Hill University’s Short Story Prize 2010.

The unique accolade, now in its third year, is the UK’s only literary award that recognises a published collection of short stories and has attracted entries from a number of distinguished writers and newcomers all competing for the winning title.

This year’s event, which also celebrates the University’s 125th anniversary celebrations, has seen submissions from high-profile names such as Robert Shearman, writer for the Doctor Who TV series and who has recently been nominated for this year’s Shirley Jackson award, Jeremy Dyson, co-creator of The League of Gentlemen, and famous novelist and comedian A.L Kennedy, pitted against newer talents such as Jane Feaver and Sian Hughes.

The long-list has on it an impressive wide range of writers – comedians and comic writers, scriptwriters, poets, science fiction writers and even includes work by actor Ben Moor.

Chris Beckett, the 2009 winner of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize and who is on the judging panel for this year’s awards, said: “The range of work that has been submitted this year is very impressive, and I am sure it is going to be very difficult to whittle it down to a shortlist, let alone to pick a winner and a runner up.  Having won the prize last year, I think I will find this particularly hard, because I know from first hand experience how much this prize can mean for a writer, and therefore how much may hang on our decision as judges.

“This is a unique prize in that it is the UK’s only literary award for single author short story collections. Winning it last year has made a huge difference for me in terms of my sense of myself as a writer, but also in very much more practical terms: I have a two-book contract as a direct result, and have been able to reduce my working hours in my ‘day job’ to spend more time on writing.  I hope the 2010 winner, whoever it may turn out to be, will find that the Edge Hill Prize opens similar doors for them into the competitive literary world.”

The entries are as follows:

  • Regi ClaireFighting It (Two Ravens Press). She has been twice shortlisted for a Saltire Book of the Year Award.
  • David Constantine – The Sheiling (Comma Press). The contemporary British award-winning poet and translator is co-editor of the literary journal Modern Poetry in Translation.
  • Jeremy Dyson – The Cranes that Build Cranes (Little Brown). The famous English screenwriter is the co-creator of ‘The League of Gentlemen’.
  • Michael J Farrell – Life in the Universe (The Stinging Fly). Michael was a priest for many years and this is his first published short story collection.
  • Jane Feaver – with Love Me Tender (Random House). The newcomer is a critically acclaimed novelist.
  • Patrick Gale – Gentleman’s Relish (Harper Collins). His father was a prison governor and Gale’s work reflects his life being brought up in and around prisons. His stories are frequently broadcast on Radio 4.
  • Sian Hughes – The Beach Hut (Biscuit Publishing).
  • Mark Illis – Tender (Salt Publishing). The author regularly writes for popular TV soap Emmerdale as well as radio plays and other TV dramas.
  • A.L. Kennedy – What Becomes (Jonathan Cape).In between being a comedian and a lecturer, Kennedy still finds the time to be a prolific writer of stories. She was also a judge for the Edge Hill Prize in 2007.
  • Tom Lee – Greenfly (Harvill Secker).His stories have appeared in the United States as well as being broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
  • Ben Moor – More Trees To Climb (Portobello). The actor and writer has starred in several films including Dead Man Running and his television credits include Time Gentlemen Please and Fist of Fun.
  • Nuala Ní Chonchúir – Nude (Salt Publishing). Last year she was selected to be writer in residence for the 2009 Cúirt International Festival of Literature.
  • Philip O Ceallaigh – The Pleasant Light of Day (Penguin). His first collection of stories won the Glen Dimplex New Writers Award. He also won the Rooney Prize 2006.
  • Robert Shearman – Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical(Big Finish).Heis best-known as a writer for Doctor Who, his short story writing and for his association with Jarvis & Ayres Productions which has resulted in six plays for BBC Radio 4.
  • Charles Stross – Wireless (Little Brown). The writer won the 2006 and 2007 Locus Award for best novella.
  • Craig Taylor – One Million Tiny Plays About Britain (Bloomsbury). Described as ‘Alan Bennett meets Ricky Gervais’ his work has gained a cult following.
  • Douglas Thompson – Ultrameta (Eibonvale Press). A biographer, broadcaster and international journalist he won second prize in the Neil Gunn Writing Competition in 2007.
  • Simon Van Booy – Love Begins in Winter (Beautiful Books). He has previously won the International Frank O’Connor Prize, the world’s richest and most prestigious prize for short stories.

The shortlist will be revealed on 8th May and the winners announced at an awards ceremony in July at Charring Cross Blackwell Store in London.

The judging panel this year includes: Professor Tanya Byron, Edge Hill University’s Chancellor, Katharine Fry, Trade Buying Manager at Blackwell and 2009 winner Chris Beckett.

Sponsored by Blackwell, the 2010 prize will have three categories:

  • The main literary award of £5,000, plus an original piece of artwork specially commissioned by Blackwell. Judges will choose the winner from a shortlist of five collections.
  • The £1,000 Readers’ Prize will be chosen by a group of A-level English students. They will announce their winner from the same shortlist as the main panel.
  • A new prize will also reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course. Prize money of £500 will be awarded to the most outstanding short story submission by a current student – and they will also have the chance to see their story printed using Blackwell’s cutting-edge Espresso Book Machine publishing technology which has been heralded as the biggest change for the literary world since the invention of the printing press. The chance for one winner to see their work printed in this way is a major coup, particularly for an unpublished author.

Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story >>

Edge Hill University Short Story Prize 2010

 Excitement is growing over the third Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story.

The award will enjoy a double celebration in 2010 as its host, Edge Hill University, also celebrates its 125th anniversary.

The prestigious Prize recognises excellence in a published single author short story collection. It is unique in the UK as it is the only such award for a published short story collection from a British/Irish author.

The 2009 winner was cult science fiction writer Chris Beckett – a surprise for many due to the genre’s specialist market and because he is published by a small press. He won £5,000 and a specially commissioned painting by Liverpool artist, Pete Clarke.

The judges chose his book The Turing Test, published by Elastic Press, which beat off competition from collections by Booker Prize-winner Anne Enright, Whitbread winner Ali Smith and other acclaimed writers. Since winning the prestigious award, Chris has secured a two book deal with Corvus, an imprint of Grove Atlantic.

Other previous winners and shortlisted authors include Neil Gaiman, Rob Shearman, Colm Toibin and Claire Keegan.

Sponsored by Blackwell, the 2010 prize will have three categories:

  • The main literary award of £5,000, plus an original piece of artwork specially commissioned by Blackwell. A panel of judges will choose the winner from a shortlist of five collections.
  • The £1,000 Readers’ Prize will be chosen by a group of A-level English students. They will announce their winner from the same shortlist as the main panel.
  • A new prize will also reward one of the stars of the University’s MA Creative Writing course. £500 will be awarded to the most outstanding short story submission by a current student – and they will also have the chance to see their story printed using Blackwell’s cutting-edge Espresso Book Machine publishing technology which has been heralded as the biggest change for the literary world since the invention of the printing press. The chance for one winner to see their work printed in this way is a major coup, particularly for an unpublished author.

Winner of Short Story Prize announced

The internationally-renowned writer Claire Keegan has been announced as the winner of the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize 2008, with her second short story collection Walk the Blue Fields.

Keegan, originally from Ireland, received £5,000 in prize money along with a stunning glass sculpture by award-winning glass maker Amanda Notarianniduring an awards ceremony at the Bluecoat. Simon Robson took second prize, receiving £1,000 and Christopher Fowler was named as the Readers’ Prize winner, also receiving £1,000.

The judges, BBC radio producer Duncan Minshull, Prof. Rhiannon Evans from Edge Hill University and the short story writer and novelist Hilary Mantel said: “Keegan wrote superbly crafted stories, successfully merging them together as one volume. Her lyricism and dream logic, coupled with the harsh realism of an Ireland wrestling with its past, created a whole world under an uncompromising gaze. The sense of place was acute, and her often sly and dry humour was a constant delight.

“She is a young writer who has already staked her claim to genius. Her mastery of language and her full-blooded and flowing narratives impress on the reader a certain bleak and tender vision, which has much in common with that of the great Irish writer John McGahern. Yet it is distinctive, personal and modern. Her stories stand at the strong point where myth and reality intersect. Even in this competitive year, they were in a class of their own.”

The second prize went to Simon Robson for his debut collection, The Separate Heart. Robson graduated from RADA and appeared briefly in EastEnders as a doctor. He is an actor and playwright of several productions, including The Ghost Train Tattoo which premiered at the Royal Exchange, Manchester in 2000. He lives in London with his two children and wife, the soprano Sophie Daneman.

Christopher Fowler won the Readers’ Prize with his eighth collection Old Devil Moon – a tale of dark, compelling urban unease. Old Devil Moon was also shortlisted for the Horror Writers’ Association Bram Stoker award. The collection depends less on blood and gore and more on the psychological flaws of the characters – ordinary people who yield to everyday temptations. Fowler has also published novels, including the Bryant and May mystery series and comic books and is a reviewer for The Independent. He lives in Kings Cross, London.

Unusually, the Readers’ Prize is judged primarily by Get Into Reading – an organisation that gives people who might not normally think of joining a reading group the chance to enjoy stories and poems together. In a typical week, Get Into Reading works with recovering drug abusers, elderly people in day centres, young homeless men, full-time carers, isolated young mums and people with mental health or other chronic illnesses. Even those who cannot read have been encouraged to participate in the judging, with the stories being read aloud.

Short Story Prize winner to be announced

The winner of this year’s Edge Hill University Short Story Prize will be announced at a glittering ceremony at the Bluecoat on Thursday 3rd July 2008. The first prize winner will receive £5,000, together with a stunning glass work made by award-winning Wirral based artist Amanda Notarianni. The second prize winner and the readers’ prize winner will receive £1,000 respectively.

Unusually, the readers’ prize is judged primarily by Get Into Reading, an organisation that gives people who might not normally think of joining a reading group, a chance to enjoy stories and poems together. In a typical week Get Into Reading works with recovering drug abusers, elderly people in day centres, young homeless men, full-time carers, isolated young mums, and people with mental health or other chronic illnesses. Even those who cannot read have been encouraged to participate in the judging, with the stories being read aloud.

The shortlisted collections are Old Devil Moon by Christopher Fowler, The People on Privilege Hill by Jane Gardam, Walk the Blue Fields by Claire Keegan, Tiny Deaths by Robert Shearman and The Separate Heart by Simon Robson.

The Edge Hill Prize is awarded annually by Edge Hill University for excellence in a published single author short story collection. The first award was bestowed on Colm Tóibín for Mothers and Sons in 2007. The other 2007 shortlisted authors were Neil Gaiman, Jackie Kay, Nicholas Royle and Tamar Yellin.

For more information on this year’s shortlisted authors, visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/shortstory.