With just a few days to go until the winner of the 2014 Bristol Short Story Prize is announced, here are the 20 writers in the running for the top prize and a bit more about their writing. The winner will be announced at the 2014 awards ceremony which is being held on Saturday 25th October.
Jennifer Allott was born and brought up in York. She lives in Chesham, Buckinghamshire with her husband and two sons and works as a manager in local government. Mid-air, her story shortlisted for the 2014 Bristol Short Story Prize, is her first published work.
Martyn Bryant is from Windsor. He holds two masters degrees, an MSc in Physics from the University of British Columbia, Canada, which he received in 2007, and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck University in London, which he received this year. Since completing the MA he has moved to Montreal, Canada and has had short stories published in Feathertale, RYGA, The Mechanics’ Institute Review 11, and forthcoming in Carte Blanche. In addition to writing short stories Martyn is working on his first novel, which was partly developed in May at The Banff Centre four-week Writing Studio.
Chris Edwards-Pritchard currently works in the fundraising team of a world-leading conservation charity, and scribbles short stories in his spare time. He graduated from Royal Holloway University of London in 2011 with a BA in English and Creative Writing and wrote several still-birth novels before focusing on short stories this year. He won the Gregory Maguire Award earlier this year and is thrilled to be shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize. Chris admires the work of Vonnegut, Saunders and Chabon, and hopes one day to write with half as much beauty and charisma as those three magicians.
Richard Fifield is a novelist and teacher, who lives in Missoula, Montana, USA. He spends his days gardening, cleaning, and decorating; he is his own trophy wife. Richard is devoted to his beloved dogs, Blanche, Oscar, and Frank. You Can’t Always Get What You Want, his shortlisted story, is inspired by his twenty years working as a case manager for developmentally disabled adults. The story was written in a doctor’s office, while he waited for a friend. Richard is represented by Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency, and his debut novel, The Flood Girls, will be published by Gallery Books in 2015.
Amaryllis Gacioppo is a writer from the Northern Rivers region of NSW, Australia. In 2012 she received a BA with Honours from the University of Technology, Sydney. Since graduating she has spent her time traveling and slowly accumulating a mass of words she likes to refer to as a novel. Her stories have found homes in numerous journals and anthologies, including Going Down Swinging, Two Serious Ladies, Grey Sparrow and the UTS Writers’ Anthology. Currently she is pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at Monash University in Melbourne.
Claire Griffiths was born and raised in the village of Aboyne in north-east Scotland. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich in 2009, graduating with Distinction. She currently divides her time between London and Norwich, teaching Creative Writing and Literature modules at the UEA and the University of Westminster, while she completes a scholarship-funded PhD in Creative and Critical Writing. Her short stories have been featured in several print publications and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. ‘Tata and Mama and Me, her shortlisted story, is taken from her near-complete debut novel The Gallery, which focuses on artworks produced by Auschwitz prisoners during World War II.
Sophie Hampton has had work broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in Southword, The London Magazine, The View From Here, The Yellow Room, the Eastern Daily Press and Scribble magazine. Competition success includes winning the Sean O’Faolain International Short Story Prize, The London Magazine Short Story Competition and the Eastern Daily Press Short Story Competition, 2nd Prize at the Wells Festival of Literature and shortlistings for various prizes including the Bridport Prize and the Fish Short Story Prize. Sophie has an MA (Distinction) in Creative Writing from Sheffield Hallam University for which she received the AM Heath Prize. She is currently editing her debut collection of short stories.
James Hughes lives in Melbourne. His short stories have won a number of awards in Australia. In 2014 he was shortlisted for the Southword International Poetry Competition. He is also the winner of the 2013 John Shaw Neilson Poetry Prize. His articles sometimes appear in The Melbourne Age, The Australian and The Big Issue. He’s written on hiking in South-Korea, great book-cover illustrations, Holocaust survivors living in Melbourne, the use of silence in films, the use of others’ unwanted books, the forgotten genius of Joni Mitchell, the primitive-cool of cricket legend Dennis Lillie and D.H. Lawrence’s novel Kangaroo.
Sarah Isaac was born in Wales and lived in Bristol for fourteen years before moving to a remote Scottish glen. She works as an art teacher and has taught in mental health institutions, a secure school and colleges. Now her daughters are adults she finds time to write every day, revising one novel and planning another. The character ‘Ada’ from her shortlisted story was created after reading newspapers from the 1870’s in Bristol Central Library. A small paragraph told the tale of the daughter of an acrobatic troupe that had been abandoned. The drunken bear came from the same source but was given more words.
Colter Jackson works as a freelance writer and illustrator in New York City and has written scripts for both Tina Fey and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. One of which was funny. She is the author and illustrator of the picture book Elephants Make Fine Friends, forthcoming from Penguin in 2015. You can find some of her work in Tin House, The Rumpus and Litro Magazine.
Danielle McLaughlin‘s stories have appeared in journals such as The Stinging Fly, The Penny Dreadful, The Fog Horn, and in various anthologies, including the 4th Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology. Her awards for short fiction include the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition 2012, the Willesden Short Story Prize 2013, the Merriman Short Story Competition 2013 in memory of Maeve Binchy, and the Dromineer Literary Festival Short Story Competition 2013. In 2014, she was shortlisted for the Davy Byrnes Award. Her debut collection of short stories will be published by John Murray in the U.K. and The Stinging Fly Press in Ireland next year. She lives in Cork.
Keeley Mansfield has an MA in Writing from Sheffield Hallam University, and was published in the university’s anthology, Matter. After graduating, she took a long, unintended break from writing, but returned in earnest in 2013. Since then, she has been longlisted for various prizes including the 2014 Fish Flash Fiction Prize, and will have a story featured in the Autumn 2014 issue of Wordlegs. Originally hailing from East London, she currently lives in Dublin, Ireland.
Fiona Mitchell is the author of The Maid’s Room which was shortlisted into the final three of the 2013 Wow Factor Debut Novel Competition run by literary consultancy Cornerstones. That same year, one of her short stories was commended in the Yeovil Prize. She has almost completed the first draft of her second novel, despite getting distracted by writing short stories. She lives in London where she works as a freelance writer focusing on interiors, health and true life stories.
Emma Murray is a writer and tutor. Having grown up in rural Oxfordshire, she now lives in North London, where she tutors children and young adults in literacy, encouraging them in their creative writing and reading skills. Emma studied English Literature at Cambridge, and then Script Writing at Goldsmiths, where she gained a distinction for her MA feature script. She has written several short stories, recently completed her first novel and is currently working on a second.
Benjamin Myers was born in Durham. His novels include Beastings (Bluemoose Books), Pig Iron (Bluemoose Books), which won the inaugural Gordon Burn Prize, and Richard (Picador), a Sunday Times book of the year. He recently won the Society Of Authors’ Tom-Gallon Award and is a published poet. His journalism has appeared in The Guardian, New Statesman, Caught By The River, New Scientist, Mojo and others. He lives in Calderdale, West Yorkshire.
Paddy O’Reilly is a writer from Melbourne, Australia. She has published a collection of award-winning short stories, The End of the World (UQP),x and her novel The Fine Colour of Rust (HarperCollins) was published in the UK and Australia in 2012. Her new novel, The Wonders, will be published in 2014 in Australia and 2015 in the USA.
Tannith Perry has lived most of her life in the US and has been writing stories since the age of five. She didn’t plan on becoming a writer however, because when she was little she thought that she’d either end up as the president of the United States of America or a ballerina. She studied International Development at university and has lived in West Africa, Italy and Sidmouth, England. She has worked as a freelance writer, waitress and sold haircuts on the streets of New York City. She is currently a ballroom dance instructor and working on her second novel.
Mahsuda Snaith is a Leicester-based writer. She has won prizes in a number of national writing competitions including the DreamUp! Monologue Competition and The Asian Writer Short Story Competition 2012. Her first novel was recently a finalist in the Mslexia Novel Competition 2013. She recently won the 2014 SI Leeds Literary Prize. As well as short story and novel writing she is now working on her first full-length play. She is very fond of crochet (though not particularly good at it).
Tom Vowler is a novelist and short story writer living in south west England. His debut collection, The Method (Salt), won the Scott Prize in 2010, and his novel What Lies Within (Headline) received critical acclaim. He is co-editor of the literary journal Short Fiction and an associate lecturer in Creative Writing at Plymouth University, where he’s completing a PhD looking at the role of the editor in fiction. His second novel, That Dark Remembered Day (Headline), was published in early 2014.
David Wareham studied English Literature at university, after which he undertook an MA in Creative Writing. Since then, he has always enjoyed writing poetry and short stories. Following his time as a bookseller, David taught English at a university in Turkey last year, and is currently working at the University of Warwick as a teacher to overseas students. His interests include reading, going to the theatre, and watching sport.
All 20 writers will have their shortlisted stories published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 7. The anthology will be launched on October 25th at the awards ceremony.