Bristol Prize

2009 Shortlisted Author Profiles

June 17, 2009   Joe Melia

With just over three weeks to go until the winner of the 2009 Bristol Short Story Prize is announced, here are some short profiles of the authors in contention for the Prize. The announcement will be made on the evening of July 11th, and this year’s Anthology will also be launched on the night.

John V Breen is an associate member of the Western Writers of America. He has a longstanding fascinationfor the frontier period and is a keen student of Native Americana. His short fiction has appeared in several UK/US periodicals. He lives in Derbyshire, among high hills and rushing waters, a fair few cows and plenty more sheep.

Andrew Bridgmont was born in London and attended art school before becoming an actor. His first play, Red on Black, drew on the life of the painter Mark Rothko and was a winner of the International Playwriting Festivalin 2000. It was nominated for the Mark Marvin Award the following year when it was also produced in London. His second play, Birdmen, was selected for Hampstead Theatre’s ‘Start Night’ in 2007. His short story, Our Mr Kent, was long-listed for The Bridport Prize the same year. He is currently working on a new play, Scenes from Childhood. He lives in London with his partner, designer Gwen Turner

Sara Browning
, 51, has two part-time jobs which allow her the freedom to have some writing time during the working day. She graduated from Bath Spa University in 2005 with a BA (Hons) in Creative Studies in Englishhaving launched a self-education programme in 1997, starting with GCSE Social and Economic History(grade C). She has been Highly Commended in both the Lichfield and District and JBWB short story competitions and has had a micro fiction story published in Leaf Publishing’s Anthology. She also recently won the Writer’s Reign short story competition.

Nino Caputo began writing in 2001, attending a writing course at the University of East Anglia. He has been part of the Café 91 writing group for five years. He has had one rejection and one ‘strongly considered’ for publication from the London Magazine. He is currently working on a collection of short stories set in Basilicata, formerly known as Lucania in Southern Italy, as well as stories with other themes. This is his first published work.

In 2006, at the age of 35, Ruth Davis was forced to give up her career as a Whitehall civil servant when she developed a severe light sensitivity condition. She has since completed two correspondence courses in creative writing with the Open College of the Arts. Her story Waste won the 2008 Coast to Coast writing competition. She lives in Hampshire with her husband, plays the piano and goes for walks at dawn and dusk.

Tessa Edmondson lived in Bristol all her life until moving to Cornwall three years ago to do a degree in creative writing at University College, Falmouth. She has always been an avid reader and used these three years to decipher where her interests in literature lay. She graduates this month and has focused her final year work on investigating the form of the modern short story. This is her first competition entry and the success has inspired her to pursue her aim of becoming a published writer.

Joanne Fox is 46 with a husband, a golden retriever, and a law degree. She grew up near Derby but eventually settled in Solihull, West Midlands, where she works part-time for the NHS. She has had about a dozen storiespublished in various women’s magazines. In 2007 she won the Frome Festival short story competition and has won prizes or been short-listed in numerous other competitions. She is a member of the Solihull Writers’ Workshop and her real ambition is to write a historical novel. For the past year she has been learning to play the piano, undaunted by her lack of any musical talent!

Inna Gertsberg was born and raised in the former Soviet Union. At age 16, she and her family fled the country with hundreds of thousands of other Jews and settled in North America. Inna has a Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has been working as an advertising art director at a social marketing agency in Toronto. She loves to write. Although she’s never entered competitions, some of her commentaryand several small articles have been published in Canadian newspapers and magazines, as well as online publications in Europe. Malka is her first short story.

Andrew Graham is twenty-four years old. He is originally from Casterbridge, but at the moment he is living and working in Bristol. He has been writing short fiction for a couple of years but this is his first competition entry, and the second piece he has submitted for publication (he is still waiting to hear back about the other one). He is currently studying for a BA in literature with the Open University, and has just completed his first year of the degree with a course in creative writing. Fante is his god too.

Craig Hawes was born in Briton Ferry, South Wales and has worked as a journalist in London and the United Arab Emirates, writing for publications including the Evening Standard, The Big Issue and Time Out Dubai. Tired of interviewing vacant celebrities and writing dubiously researched lifestyle features in Dubai, he returned to Wales in 2007 to go freelance and write fiction. Since then his short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in magazines. He is currently working on a collection of stories based on his experiences as an expatriate in Dubai. This is his first competition success.

Elizabeth Jane is an Australian writer. When she isn’t writing, she works as a librarian, facilitates Balwyn Writers, acts as a junior fiction advisor for Avant Press, and blogs at: She also writes reviews for the Historical Novel Review and feature articles for Solander. In 2007, an early draft of her historical novel, Chrysalis, was short-listed for a HarperCollins Varuna manuscript development award. In 2008 it won a TAFE academic award. The manuscript is currently being re-worked in response to a structural edit and will be ready for submission in 2010.

Jessie Ledbetter has always wanted to write but it was only recently that she realised it was the only thing she couldn’t live without. Originally from Colorado, USA, Jessie wanted an international experience so came to Wales to get her MA in Creative Writing. Wales offered more than just an opportunity to write full time – it also offered the chance for Jessie to really find herself. She can’t imagine living anywhere else now. Jessie has recently been published in Chimera, an anthology of women’s writing, and The Places We Go, a travel anthology.

Alexander Ross Petersen is a writer and musician. At the turn of the millennium he flunked the last of his exams and has been a liberated autodidact ever since. Over several years spent playing in a string of bands (all of which employed no small measure of grating feedback) he gradually evolved a visceral style of free-form poetry, and began to write serious prose in late 2007. The 2009 Bristol Short Story Prize is the first writing competition he has entered. He currently resides in Brighton and is working on the completion of his first book: Orchestra, Abacus.

Nick Rawlinson has worked in publishing, teaching and acting, and is now a stay-at-home dad. Writing credits include William Blake’s Comic Vision (Palgrave, 2003), several study guides for Oxford Open Learning, and an article on comets for Fortean Times. In 2008 he took a “lifelong learning” creative writing course at the University of Bristol, and since then has won the Bristol Libraries Bristol 1807 short story competition. A member of the Bristol Monday Night Writers’ Group, in his spare time he is an award-winning audio book reader.

Eira Reed is a London born writer who lives and works in Fowey in Cornwall. Eira runs her small shop and holiday let in Fore Street where she writes in between serving customers. Having started writing as a child, Eira did not start submitting her work until she graduated from the University of Essex in her forties. While working on her first novel, Shrunken Heads and Dressed Fleas, she had her first short story, Cantilever Lift, published in The New Writer, and her novel was subsequently long-listed for the Dundee Book Prize. Eira has twice been a finalist in the Harry Bowling Book prize and the Asham Literary Award, and at present she is working on her third book. Her novel Shrunken Heads and Dressed Fleas was published this year.

Sarah Regan is a criminal barrister who has lived in Bristol for the last five years. She has written a number of short stories but was until now unpublished. She is currently writing her first novel.

Marli Roode is a soon-to-be-25-year-old who recently fled London for Manchester’s Creative Writing MA. Prior to that, she was working as a journalist and business editor, the latter of which taught her how to make verbs out of unsuspecting nouns. She was born in South Africa and lived there until the age of seventeen. But for some reason lost in the mists of time, she wanted to study philosophy, and nowhere in SA offered this course, so she came over to Warwick and learnt to love Nietzsche and the British summer. She has started an online magazine called and is currently finishing her first novel.

Amy Shuckburgh, 31, grew up in London and read English at the University of Leeds. She completed an MA in Curating at Goldsmiths College, London. Since leaving university, she has worked as a portrait painter (her sitters include Harold Pinter), and as a teacher of English and Art. Amy was short-listed for the Vogue Talent Writing Contest in 2002, and had her poetry short-listed by Andrew Motion for ‘The Art of Love’ in 2004. Amy’s first short story was selected for the Bridport Prize 2008. She is currently working on a collection of short stories as well as on a novel.

Mary Teague was born and reared in Coleraine, Co Derry, and attended university in Dublin. She taught in America and Saudi Arabia before settling in Surrey with her husband and three children, all now at university. She has been writing short stories for a few years. All are in a drawer at home. This is the first writing competition she has entered.

Gemma Varnom was born in Rochdale, Lancashire. She studied English at the University of York and currently works for an independent television production company. She runs an amateur theatre company in her free time and contributes reviews and features to a cult TV and film website. She writes prose and play scripts during evenings, weekends, lunch hours, ad breaks, and any spare moment she can. This is her first published work of fiction.

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