Wednesday, October 30, 2019

News: Edge Hill Prize result and new publications

Lots going on for me on the short story front right now. On Friday we held the Edge Hill Prize Award event in Waterstone's Piccadilly, and announced our winner, chosen by yours truly, last year's winner Tessa Hadley, and writer, journalist and publisher Sam Jordison: David Szalay for his stunning collection of linked short stories, Turbulence. As Sam Jordison said afterwards, these seemingly brief and extremely stylish stories, hinged on the fleeting connections between people on plane journeys, magically pack in whole lives and poignantly inhabit the experiences of an amazing span of characters. David also won the Reader's Prize, which is judged by students and alumni of Edge Hill University, for a single story from the same collection.

And as Tessa Hadley said, when she announced the prize, we had a very long discussion and a very hard decision to make when we met back in September in the foyer of London's Tavistock Hotel: all of our shortlist were wonderful - Wendy Erskine's Sweet Home, which gives us a whole world of present-day Belfast via a fantastic ear for speech and an enviable linguistic dexterity; Vicky Grut's collection of great humanity and empathy, Live show, Drinks Included, which at the same time offers a sometimes Kafkaesque vision of contemporary society; Chris Power's Mothers, which takes us on geographical and existential journeys and displays his great gift of showing through language how memory and the past affect our present-day experience and often the trajectory of whole lives; Simon Van Booy's The Sadness of Beautiful Things, which brings the joyous surprise of being about good heartedness; and Lucy Wood's The Sing of the Shore, a haunting collection set in out-of-season Cornwall, the atmosphere of which lingers long after you've finished reading.

Meanwhile, my story 'Kiss', first published in MIR Online, has been selected from Best British Short Stories 2019 to appear in The Barcelona Review, and I'm finally able to announce that my story 'Saying Nothing', which was longlisted in the V S Pritchett Prize last year, is also a finalist and judge's honourable mention in this year's Tillie Olsen Award, announced today and published in The Tishman Review. And I've been writing a commissioned story for an anthology due sometime in the future from an exciting new press, Inkandescent.

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