The Edge Hill Short Story Prize


The Edge Hill Prize is awarded annually by Edge Hill University for excellence in a published single author short story collection.

The literary world, particularly fiction, has long been dominated by the novel, with countless awards that exclusively acknowledge authors for their work around this form. Now, in the digital era, literary fiction is under pressure; a faster pace of life and a plethora of distractions threaten to eliminate reading as a form of entertainment. Suddenly, big-name novelists and playwrights are keen to be seen in the company of short stories, with acclaimed writers turning their attention to the short form like never before.

“The great thing about a short story is that it doesn’t have to trawl through someone’s whole life; it can come in glancingly from the side.” – Emma Donoghue

To recognise the acceleration of what was once an overlooked art form, Professor Ailsa Cox (the world’s only Professor of Short Fiction) founded the Edge Hill Short Story Prize in 2006, highlighting the intricate craftsmanship of short story writing. The Prize remains unique as the only annually presented award that recognises excellence in a published, single-authored collection of short stories in the UK and Ireland.

“A short story is the ultimate close-up magic trick – a couple of thousand words to take you around the universe or break your heart.” – Neil Gaiman

Now in its 14th Year, the prize money currently stands at £10,000 and is judged by a selected panel of literary experts. An additional prize of £1,000 is awarded for the ‘Reader’s Choice’, traditionally judged by Edge Hill University BA Creative Writing students; and an additional category worth £500 acknowledging rising talents on the University’s MA Creative Writing course.

Previous years’ winners have been Colm Tóibín, Claire Keegan, Chris Beckett, Jeremy Dyson, Graham Mort, Sarah Hall, John Burnside, Kirsty Gunn, Jessie Greengrass, Daisy Johnson, Tessa Hadley and last year’s winner David Szalay for Turbulence.  




The 2020 Edge Hill Prize is open for submissions.

We are looking for single-authored collections of short stories that were first published between 01 January 2019 and 31 December 2019.

Authors must be normally resident in the UK or Ireland or have British and/or Irish nationality.

Three copies of the book, plus a letter with publishing and agent contact details, must be sent to:

Billy Cowan, Dept. English, History and Creative Writing, Edge Hill University, St Helens Road, Ormskirk, Lancashire L39 4QP

Because of the volume of books we normally receive, we are unable to accept self-published books or books from vanity publishers. Nor are we able to return books. Flash fiction collections are eligible.

Deadline is 3rd April 2020. Books received after 5pm on that date will not be eligible.

Billy Cowan, senior lecturer in creative writing at Edge Hill and organiser of the Prize, tells us here what he looks for in a short story and a collection of short stories.






  • The 2020 award is open to original single author short story collections first published in English between 1st January and 31st December 2019.
  • Authors must be born or normally resident in the British Isles, including Ireland.
  • Translations are not eligible
  • Self-published collections are not eligible.
  • Permanent employees of Edge Hill University are excluded from the award.



  • Following the closing date for entries, a longlist of collections will be announced, followed by a shortlist.
  • The shortlist of up to six collections will be announced by 30th July 2020
  • Shortlisted authors will be invited to participate in a special event in London where the first prize of £10,000 plus the £1,000 Reader’s Choice prize will be awarded
  • The judges’ decision is final.
  • In the event of unforeseen circumstances, Edge Hill University will be entitled to change the panel of judges and/or arrangements for the prize-giving.

2019 Judges

Our judges in 2019 were writer and short story expert Elizabeth Baines, last year’s winner of the Prize Tessa Hadley and writer, journalist and co-founder of Galley Beggar Press, Sam Jordison.

Judges for 2020 will be announced sometime in early 2020.



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