Comma Press is calling for submissions to the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction, an award run in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
The independent publisher, along with media partner webzine Northern Soul, will deliver the prize for the fifth year running, and opened submissions on 7th July.
The competition is open to both published and unpublished writers, and aims to seek out the best established or up and coming voices in the form. This year's theme is crime stories. The winning writer will receive £500 and will have their story published online by Northern Soul, while all shortlisted authors will be featured in an e-book anthology, published by Comma Press and sold online.
To ensure parity, entries will be anonymous throughout the entire judging process. This year's judges, include crime writer Karline Smith, Northodox Press editor Tom Ashton, senior lecturer at UCLan Helen Day, and Northern Soul writer Kevin Bourke. UCLan students will participate in the judging process, drawing up the shortlist.
The prize is held in honour of Dinesh Allirajah who passed away in 2015. Allirajah, who described himself as a "jazz writer", lectured in creative writing at the University of Central Lancashire for eight years and was a long-term director of Comma Press.
Becca Parkinson, co-ordinating the prize at Comma Press, said: “Crime fiction is one of the bestselling genres of books in the UK today, and with so many readers enjoying crime fiction, we hope that budding writers may be inspired to turn their hand to our competition theme this year. When the team at UCLan and I reviewed Dinesh’s oeuvre, crime was a genre which repeatedly arose, and we thought it would serve as an exciting and intriguing prompt.”
Bourke said: “If the short story is the perfect literary form, and the ‘crime story’ is the most all-embracing of any literary genre, then what could be more exciting than the combination of the two in this year’s Dinesh Prize? I can’t wait to be thrilled by your submissions.”