Bristol Prize

2012 Shortlisted Writers’ Profiles

July 6, 2012   Joe Melia

With just over a week to go until our 2012 winner is announced and the BSSP Volume 5 anthology published, here’s a chance to find out a bit more about the 20 writers on the shortlist for the 2012 Bristol Short Story Prize. The writers are listed A-Z by last name:

John Arnold is from Innisfail, a small town in Far North Queensland, Australia. He began writing stories in his teens, while interred at a Brisbane Catholic school and went on to study English Literature at university. He lived in Bristol for two years and retains fond (if hazy) memories of the Cider Boat. He works as an editor and lives in Brisbane. Excepting two poems and some journalism, Naked as Eve is his first published work.

Lewis Bardsley graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism so, naturally, finds himself now working as a Business Analyst for a bank in the City of London.  He made his way between the two through the established route of Underwriting, Landscape Gardening and Staircase Fitting.  A week’s work experience on a local newspaper and it was clear Journalism wouldn’t be for him.  What he enjoyed was creative writing.  Over the years he has written up a few ideas but this is the first time he has got round to submitting a short story to a competition.

Catherine Bokkers, born in 1980 in Antananarivo, Madagascar, grew up in several countries in Africa, receiving an education both in English and Dutch. She attended university in The Netherlands and in France and holds degrees in Psychology and Education. Catherine has worked in community development projects in several countries in Africa and in the Amazon region of Ecuador. Catherine writes short stories inspired by the people and places where she has lived; she recently completed a first manuscript (unpublished) based on the enthralling realities of a small town in northeastern Ecuador. Catherine currently resides in Bogota, Colombia.

Lizzie Boyle is a writer of prose fiction and comics. She was shortlisted for the Fish Publishing Short Story Prize in 2012 and has also been shortlisted by the Meridian Writing Competition and Flash 500. An anthology of her comic stories, Lost: Boys, was launched at the Bristol Comic Expo in May 2012, and her comics have also been published in Disconnected Vol 1, Hallowscream and Dr WTF!?. More of her work can be found at

Alys Conran writes fiction and poetry. She graduated with distinction from the MA Creative Writing at Manchester University last year, has had short stories published in several anthologies, and has read her work at the Hay Festival and on Radio Four. Having spent several years in Barcelona and Edinburgh, she now lives just under the Carneddau mountains, in North Wales where she is originally from. She works at The National Writers’ Centre of Wales, T? Newydd, developing a programme of activities which broaden access to creative writing and reading amongst vulnerable groups. She has recently completed her first novel.

Neil Durrant is a writer who lives in Sydney with his wife and family. Originally trained in literature, linguistics, philosophy and theology, he has worked with indigenous groups in Arnhem Land, street people in Newcastle, and as an ordained Anglican minister in a suburban church. In 2006 he embraced atheism, influenced by philosophers and writers such as Nietzsche, Camus, and Sartre. He currently works as a strategist for a large metropolitan university and has a keen interest in technology and economics. As a writer, Neil brings philosophy and literature together with stories that evoke the moral and existential problems and opportunities of contemporary society.

Kerry Hood has written ten plays including Meeting Myself Coming Back (Oberon Books) for Soho Theatre (Sunday Times Critics’ Choice, British Theatre Guide Highlight of the Year), Caution! Trousers (for Alan Ayckbourn at Stephen Joseph Theatre) and My Balloon Beats Your Astronaut (Tristan Bates Theatre). Short fiction awards include Two Ticks (broadcast on Radio 4) and Space Cadet (Writing Competitions: The Way to Win by Iain Pattison). Recent stories have been placed in The Bridport Prize and BBC Opening Lines.

Tracey Iceton is an A-level English Literature teacher and Creative Writing tutor.  She has an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University, was winner of the Writers Block NE Home Tomorrow short story competition and has had a novel longlisted twice in the Cinnamon Press competition and once for the Bridge House Publishing prize. Her publication credits include; Tears in the Fence, Ride Magazine, The Yellow Room and the Brisbane Courier Mail.  She is currently working on a trilogy of novels on the troubles in Ireland and plans to publish part one, Green Dawn at St Enda’s, in time for Easter 2016.

Avril Joy was born and brought up on the Somerset Levels, the setting for her first novel, The Sweet Track, published in 2007 by Flambard Press. In 2008 she gave up her job as a Senior Manager at HMP Low Newton women’s prison on the outskirts of Durham city in order to write full-time. She writes novels, short stories and poetry and has recently published her second novel The Orchid House, and a new venture into crime fiction – Blood Tide, as e-books. She posts regularly about life and writing on her blog Writing Junkie

Danielle McLaughlin lives in County Cork, Ireland with her husband and three young children. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Stinging Fly, Boyne Berries, Inktears, Crannog, Southword, The RTE TEN website and in various anthologies,  including The Bone Woman and other short stories, published by Cork County Library and Arts Service, and the Fish Anthology 2012. Another of her stories will be broadcast on RTE Radio 1 during 2012 on the Book on One slot. She won the Writing Spirit Award for Fiction 2010, a WOW!2 Award for Fiction in 2011, and the From the Well Short Story Competition 2012.

Christopher Parvin graduated from Liverpool John Moores University in 2009 with a BA Hons in Imaginative Writing. Having won a few local writing competitions he was first published in the Grist Anthology of New Writing in 2009 with his story Vanilla Grave Dirt, and has since placed stories in several magazines, most recently the inaugural Glitterwolf magazine for gay writers. He lives and writes in Lancashire, England where between drawing, obsessing and attempting to write a novel he manages his blog as a vent for an over-active imagination. Everyone agrees it’s for the best.

Angela Readman is the winner of the National Flash Fiction Day Competition. Her stories have won Inkspill magazine’s competition, and come second in The Short Story Competition 2011. They have appeared in journals including Pank, Metazen, Burner, Southword, Fractured West, The Pygmy Giant and Crannog.  Her poetry collection, Strip, was published by Salt. Recently, her poetry has been commended in the Arvon International Poetry Competition, Cafe Writers Competition and been a Mslexia finalist. For a long time she secretly wrote stories; she has now started to allow some out of the house now and then.

Ian Richards is a 28-year-old writer, born and raised in the Black Country, who began writing original fiction in 2004.  In recent years he has enjoyed a degree of success with short stories, including the story World In Motion – an unusual take on the 1990 World Cup final – which was published in the Wolverhampton-based journal Tales From The Middle in 2009.  His flash fiction has been shortlisted for a monthly prize on (August 2010), but the Bristol Short Story Prize is the first annual competition to showcase his work.  Currently, he is working on a comic novel set within the Black Country.

Ethel Rohan is the author of Hard to Say (PANK) and Cut Through the Bone (Dark Sky Books), the latter longlisted for The Story Prize. Her work has or will appear in World Literature Today, Tin House Online, The Irish Times, The Rumpus, The Los Angeles Review, Southeast Review Online, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA in Fiction from Mills College, California. Raised in Ireland, Ethel Rohan now lives in San Francisco. Visit her at

Samantha Short originally trained as an actor, but moved into creative writing after discovering the joys of producing theatre scripts. She has since studied Creative Writing at the Open University, and completed her first NaNoWriMo -somewhat unorthodoxly out of the actual month itself – fulfilling a long-held dream to actually complete a novel. She currently works in Madagascar as an international development worker, and in 2010 co-authored the introduction to Ed Kashi’s photo journalism book, Madagascar, A Land Out of Balance. Unsurprisingly, the country has proved to be a source of inspiration, and is the setting for her short story The Bird.

William Telford is a  a 49-year-old journalist, currently business editor at The Herald in Plymouth. He has been working in newspapers for 20 years, my by-line also appearing in the Cornish Guardian, Sunday Independent, Western Morning News, and in the magazines When Saturday Comes and Flair.He graduated in Law from the London School of Economics in 1984, and from Plymouth University, with a distinction in the Creative Writing MA, in 2011. He is turning his dissertation, Worm Factory, possibly the only love story set in the world of industrial worm farming, into a novel. His short story Missing You was published in Plymouth University’s Ink magazine in 2011, winning the award for best fiction submission. Another story was shortlisted for the monthly Global Short Story competition in April 2011.

Ellie Walsh has had short stories published by Qwerty and shortlisted with Fiddlehead, and poetry published with Pighog Press, Cyprus Wells Writer Bites and Bath Lit Festival, and her short story reviews are on the Thresholds International Short Story website. She is heavily influenced by Cornish novelist Patrick Gale, with whom she hopes to one day go camping. She studied as an undergrad at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia, has a Master’s degree from Bath Spa University, and now intends to join the circus until she feels wise enough to attempt writing a novel.

Melanie Whipman lives in a leafy Surrey village with her husband, teenage twins, dog, cats and chickens. Much to her amazement, this is her second story to be featured in a Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology. She has an MA in Creative Writing and is currently a PhD student at the University of Chichester. When Melanie’s not researching or attempting to write she teaches Creative Writing for the ACL. Her short stories have been published online and in magazines and anthologies and her first novel was longlisted for the Cinnamon Press Award. Sadly, it now inhabits slush piles across the country, so she’s recently turned her attention to a second novel.

Hilary Wilce’s stories have been published both here and in the United States, and have won the Ian St James Award, the Mathew Prichard Award and the Kent Literary Festival Award, as well as being shortlisted in the Bridport, Asham, Mslexia and Fish short story awards. She has just finished a young adult novel. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck three years ago, and since then her writing group of fellow students has been an invaluable support. By day she is a newspaper journalist specialising in writing about education, and also a personal development coach.

Samuel Wright is an English teacher. His son recently started crawling, which is bad news for his cat. His stories are frequently read at the Liar’s League events in London, and have won prizes from Unbound Press, the Writers and Artists Yearbook, and Spilling Ink, as well as being published in .Cent and Litro magazines and coming third in the Bridport Flash Fiction Prize in 2011. He is currently collaborating on an art book about Hackney Marshes, and his writing can be found at and @bearsick.

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