This year’s BSSP awards ceremony is just 8 days away. With that in mind here are the remaining 10 writers whose wonderful stories have been shortlisted for the top prize and which will be published in our 16th anthology.
If you missed part 1 of our shortlist introductions, you can find it here.
Keza O’Neill was born and brought up in West Wales. She graduated from Sheffield University with a BA In French Language and Literature, before spending twenty years working in Learning & Development, Coaching and Diversity & Inclusion. Having lived and worked in six countries, she’s interested in the relationship between people and places and the significance of ‘home’ in shaping identity. She now lives in Bristol, where she is studying for an MA in Creative Writing through the Open University. Keza has also been longlisted for the Bath Short Story Award, the CWA Debut Dagger and the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize.
Simon John Parkin is a graphic designer by trade, living in Wellington, Somerset, with his partner and son. He is a keen outdoor swimmer, old-time banjo player, allotment keeper and wooden sign carver. In 2022 he self-published a small book, The Sunrise Swim Club – a memoir about the 12 monthly sunrise swims he and his family did on the easing of lockdown. He has previously had a short story published in The Ghastling magazine.
Deepa Rajagopalan won the 2021 PEN Canada New Voices Award. Her work has appeared in literary magazines such as Room, the Malahat Review, EVENT, and Arc Poetry. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph. Born to Indian parents in Saudi Arabia, she has lived in many cities across Saudi Arabia, India, the US, and Canada. Her debut collection of short fiction, Peacocks of Instagram, is forthcoming from the House of Anansi in Spring 2024. Deepa is now working on her first novel. Twitter (@derajagopalan) and Instagram (@deerajagopalan). deeparajagopalan.com
Sarah Rudston is a data warehouse engineer and writer based in Bristol. She writes short stories and poetry and has previously had her poems published in Magma and The Rialto magazines. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and a MSc in IT from the University of Aberdeen. Most of her interests lie between words and data.
Abhishek Sengupta is imaginary. Mostly, people would want to believe he uses magical realism to write novels about world issues, even though he is stuck inside a window in Kolkata, India, but he knows none of it is true. He doesn’t exist. Only his imaginary writing does and has appeared in some periodicals and anthologies around the globe, won a few prizes, and been published alongside the likes of Neil Gaiman (who is a little less imaginary). If you’re gifted, however, you may imagine him on Twitter @AbhishekSWrites.
Amy Stewart lives in the Scottish Borders. She was the winner of the New Writing North & Word Factory Northern Apprentice Award in 2021 and the Mairtín Crawford Prize for Short Story in 2022. As well as studying for a Creative Writing PhD centred around female circus artists at the University of Sheffield, she is currently working on her debut novel. She is represented by Marilia Savvides at 42.
Noor Us Sabah Tauqeer is a writer-translator from Pakistan. Her children’s novel, A Quest with Kaaf, was published by the Oxford University Press Pakistan in 2020 and she is currently working on a literary translation of the Urdu classic, Mushahidaat e Zindaan by Hasrat Mohani. She teaches Literature in the English Department at the University of Karachi. Her work has appeared in Zau, The Falconer, Punt Volat, minor literatures, and Roi Fainéant Press. Her poetry was published by the English Department at Karachi University in a recent anthology, and she was also a fellow of the first Salam Award Cohort in 2023.
Joseph Tuck is an English teacher who lives in a small town just north of London. When he is not teaching, he is either writing fiction or playing guitar for the moderately successful post-indie band, French Mothers. He has been published in a few online publications under various pseudonyms and, currently, is compiling a collection of short stories as well as working on his first novel.
Yann van Heurck was born in the lost land of America but grew up everywhere. She divides her life between Cornwall and the US, and her writing between poetry and stories. She has had nothing published in a long time, having been busy as a translator, activist and caregiver to her Catalan husband, but recently has written a great deal and hopes to see her work in print. Blame the weirdness of her stories on her Flemish ancestors.
Andrea Watts’ stories have been anthologised by Brick Lane Books, Influx Press, Honno Press and Visual Verse. She was shortlisted for Bridport Prize 2022 and teaches Creative Writing at Mary Ward Centre, Stratford, London. Previously she played in grassroots Women’s Football but has temporarily retired (N16 ’til she dies!). She is an Associate Trustee at Safaplace, a charity working for young people’s mental health in Hackney where she lives.
Congratulations to the shortlisted writers. We can’t wait to publish the anthology and help their wonderful writing find more readers.