Daisy Johnson’s East Anglian-inspired Fen (Cape) and Lucy Caldwell’s exploration of womanhood, Multitudes (Faber), are both on the all-female shortlist for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize up against 2016 BBC National Short Story Award winner K J Orr for Light Box (Daunt). Joanna Walsh’s second collection’s Vertigo (And Other Stories) is also nominated for the £10,000 award alongside Irenosen Okjie’s Speak Gigantular (Jacaranda).
Four of the five nominations are debut collections. The shortlist, drawn from a longlist of 41, was revealed on 13th June. The winner will be announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on the 26th August and will be hosted by the university in the Spiegeltent.
Prize organiser Ailsa Cox, the world’s first Professor of Short Fiction at Edge Hill University, described it as an “amazing line-up”. She said: "All five writers are rising stars, and you're going to hear a lot more of them in the future. In each of these collections, you'll find passion, wit and intelligence, and above all a way of working with language that is unique to the short story form.”
The prize is the only UK-based award that recognises excellence in published short story collections and will also include a £1,000 Reader’s Choice Award to an author from the shortlist. The judges are Thomas Morris (finalist of the Edge Hill Prize 2016), Cathy Galvin (director and founder of The Word Factory) and Dr Rodge Glass (reader in Literary Fiction at Edge Hill University).
Jessie Greengrass won last year for The Decline of the Great Auk According to One Who Saw It (John Murray imprint JM Originals) which included 12 stories about those who are lonely, estranged, or out of time. Shortlisted author China Mieville won the Reader’s Choice award for Three Moments of an Explosion (Pan Macmillan), which features 28 stories about the strangeness of the world.
The university is also holding a VIP launch event at the festival for Edge Hill University Press and the publication of their second book Atlantic Drift poetry anthology on 19th August following the sponsorship of Merseyside poet Roger McGough’s event. To book a ticket for the Short Story Prize visit this website. To secure a free ticket to the VIP launch of Atlantic Drift visit here.