Wednesday, May 9, 2012

All-Female Shortlist for Edge Hill Short Story Prize!

From  a long longlist, the shortlist for the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize 2012 has been picked - and it's all female!

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: "It's quite unusual to have women only on the shortlist but it reflects that the prize is open to anyone, regardless of gender, whether new to the business or well-established in the literary world.
"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 and 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. Living 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. The contemporary novelist has been called one of the most gifted British writers
  • 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 and this is her first collection of short stories.
  • Zoe Lambert. The Manchester-based writer lectures on the creative writing MA at Bolton and Edge Hill universities. She was the founder of cult Manchester literature night, Verberate, and is a member of the board of the North West Short Story Network. She is also finishing her first novel and is an active campaigner for the rights of asylum seekers.
  • Rowena Macdonald. Growing up in the West Midlands, after graduation, she lived 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. This shortlisted first short story collection is based on her experiences waitressing while in Montreal.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Scott Prize winners 2012

Carys Bray and Rob Roensch have won this year’s International Scott Prize for Short Stories. Both writers will be published in November 2012. The international short story prize, now in its third year, recognises the best debut full-length collections in English and receives entries from the UK and Ireland, the USA and Australasia. This year’s winners are Carys Bray (UK) for her book, Sweet Home, and Rob Roensch’s (US) The Wildflowers of Baltimore.

Carys Bray lives in the North West seaside town of Southport with her husband and four children. She is a PhD student and associate tutor in creative writing at Edge Hill University. Her work has been published in a wide variety or magazines and anthologies, including New Fairy Tales where her story ‘The Ice Baby’ was published, and Mslexia which published her story ‘Just in Case,’ winner of the MA category of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize.

Rob Roensch has published short fiction in Slice, HOBART and PANK and elsewhere. He lives with his wife and daughters in Baltimore, Maryland and teaches at Towson University.

Jen Hamilton-Emery [Director of Salt Publishing] said:
‘Since developing the Scott Prize to promote and support debut short story writers, I have read and selected winners from hundreds of manuscripts. This year my task was made particularly difficult by the astonishing level of skill within our shortlist and I would recommend everyone to spend time discovering those writers. Making selections from the shortlist has been difficult but I have focused on the books which I believe have a depth and maturity of talent that all readers will immediately recognise. Carys Bray and Rob Roensch combine impeccable craft with unforgettable imagery to create stories that are surprising, psychologically resonant, emotionally complex and, above all else, a sheer joy to read. Carys and Rob, on either side of the Atlantic, both demonstrate that the short story is thriving and developing in the 21st century and I look forward to working with the writers and publishing their books later this year.’
The other shortlisted authors were:
Alison Moore
Otis Haschemeyer
Julia Bohanna
Chris Smith
Sarah Faulkner
Rusty Dolleman
Julie Mayhew
Maurice Gartshore
Madeleine D’Arcy

Further information on the two winning entries can be found here:
Cary Bray
Rob Roensch

Many congratulations to Carys and Rob, and to all who were shortlisted.

The Scott Prize is an international annual prize for a first collection of short fiction. Entrants must not have been published before, and must permanently reside in the UK & Ireland, the USA, or Australia & New Zealand.
Previous Winners of the Scott Prize are:
A.J. Ashworth (UK) – Somewhere Else of Even Here
Cassandra Parkin (UK) – New World Fairy Tales
Jonathan Pinnock (UK) – Dot Dash (to be published 2012)
Patrick Holland (Australia) – The Source of the Sound
David Mullins (US) – Greetings from Below (to be published 2012)
Susannah Rickards (UK) – Hot Kitchen Snow
Tom Vowler (UK) – The Method