The judges of the 2018 Deborah Rogers Writers’ Award have revealed a "varied and hugely interesting" shortlist of three first-time writers: Dima Alzayat, Deepa Anappara and Chris Connolly.
Alzayat, shortlisted for Daughters of Manat & other stories, was born in Damascus, Syria, grew up in San Jose, California, and now lives in Manchester. She was the winner of the 2017 Bristol Short Story Prize, the 2015 Bernice Slote Award, and a 2013 Highly Commended Bridport Prize.
Anappara, shortlisted for Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, is currently doing a PhD in Creative-Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. She has a Masters in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) from UEA and previously worked as a journalist and editor in India.
Connolly's fiction and poetry has appeared in the Irish Times, the Irish Independent, Southword, the Galway Review and the Hennessy Book of Irish Fiction, among others, and has been broadcast on RTÉ Radio. He is shortlisted for The Speed of Light and How it Cannot Help Us.
Dima Alzayat, Deepa Anappara and Chris Connolly
The judging panel – Anne Enright, Pete Hobbs and Jenny Uglow – began their reading in late March, from a longlist of eight entries chosen by agents within Rogers Coleridge & White.
Enright, chair of the judges, said: “The judges are delighted with this varied and hugely interesting shortlist which shows the vigour and range of writing in English today. New work is always so heartfelt. It is a privilege to witness talent at this early stage.”
The winner will be announced on Wednesday 16th May at an Award Ceremony in London and will receive a cheque for £10,000. On Sunday 27th May, Ian McEwan will introduce the winner of the 2018 Deborah Rogers Award to the audience following his interview with Stig Abell at the Hay Festival.
Created in memory of literary agent Deborah Rogers, this £10,000 award is for a first-time writer whose work demonstrates literary talent but who needs support to complete their first book. This includes fiction, non-fiction or short stories, but not poetry.
Gill Coleridge, chairman of RCW, said: “We were once again thrilled to have had so many submissions for the 2018 Writers’ Award and are most grateful to our Judges, Anne Enright, Pete Hobbs and Jenny Uglow. The remarkable shortlist that they have chosen from a very strong longlist of eight will bring further credit and renown to the name of the Deborah Rogers Foundation.”