Isha Karki has won the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction with "And After the Fire, Ash", described by judges as "gorgeously sumptuous".
The announcement was made on 9th June during an online ceremony celebrating the annual prize, which champions short fiction from emerging writers.
Karke, who wins £500, was chosen by a panel of judges including novelist Courttia Newland, agent Abi Fellows and website Northern Soul’s Alfred Searls. Newland said of the winning story: “A gorgeously sumptuous tale of feminine ritual, cross cultural histories and symbolism, 'And After the Fire, Ash' packs novel heft into slim short story pages. Brave and astounding, Isha’s story burns bright.”
Karki's short fiction has previously won the Galley Beggar Short Story Prize and Mslexia Short Story Competition. She is a 2019 graduate of Clarion West and currently a PhD student at Brunel.
She said: "It’s a joy to be recognised by a prize that honours another writer’s legacy and to have my work read with such generosity. Particularly this story, which plays with form and narrative voice – the win feels like a recognition of that which is wonderful and bolstering. I hope it encourages other writers to put their work forward, and to experiment, without hesitation.”
The runners-up of the prize were Kieron Connolly and Isabella Rona. The eight shortlisted stories will all be published online as an e-book by Comma Press.
The Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction was set up in 2017 by Comma Press and UCLan, named after the long-term director of the press, who passed away in 2017.