An 86-year-old former Town Hall clerk and an organiser of the Milton Keynes Festival are among those shortlisted in the Manchester Writing Competition.
The competition encourages new work and seeks out the best creative writing from across the world, with Manchester as the focal point for the international literary award.
The winners of this year’s £10,000 Poetry and Fiction Prizes will be revealed at a gala ceremony on 1st December at Chetham Library’s Baronial Hall at in Manchester.
Former Stratford upon Avon Town Hall clerk, P F Latham, is in the running for the Fiction prize aged 86, alongside playwright and novelist Hannah Vincent whose second book, The Weaning, is to be published by Salt in February 2018. Norwegian-based Kim Lee Boejden is also shortlisted alongside Jane Fraser from Wales and Yates Fellow Sakinah Hofler who is studying for a PHD at the University of Cincinnati. One of the organisers of the Milton Keynes Literature Festival, David Wakely, is also up for the award.
A "mammalian and the avian" theme dominated the Poetry Prize, according to the judges. Shortlisted writers include Philippines-born Romalyn Ante, poet and artist Ella Frears from south-east London, US writer Don Judson, Carolyn King from the Isle of Wight, Brooklyn-based Lindsay Means who is an editorial assistant at Riverhead Books and Laura Webb, a poet and academic from London.
The Poetry Prize was judged by Adam O’Riordan and former winners Mona Arshi and Pascale Petit. The Fiction Prize was judged by Nicholas Royle, Bonnie Greer and Angela Readman.
Royle said he “felt privileged and humbled to read the innermost thoughts of these many hundreds of wordsmiths”.
O’Riordan said: “This was another strong year for entries. The judges read work across a range of themes, with the mammalian and the avian in abundance. Mona and Pascale worked incredibly hard and produced a shortlist which reflected the quality of submissions to this year's competition.”
Launched in 2008 by poet laureate and creative director of Manchester Writing School Carol Ann Duffy, the competition has attracted more than 15,000 submissions from over 50 countries and awarded more than £135,000 to its winners.