Two Irish Writers in The Running For Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2014
Writers published by small presses dominate the shortlist for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, which was announced last week.
Among the finalists for the £5,000 prize are Jaki McCarrick whose story The Visit won the Wasafari prize for new fiction, Rachel Trezise who has previously featured in the Orange Future List and won the inaugural Dylan Thomas Prize for her story collection Fresh Apples, and Bernie McGill who won the Zoetrope: All Story Short Fiction contest in the US in 2008.
Also featuring in the list is multi-award winning poet John Burnside who also has a regular column in The New Statesman and contributes to newspapers and periodicals in the UK, Germany and Switzerland and David Rose whose story Flora appeared in The Best British Short Stories 2011.
The final list of nominated authors and short story collections competing for the prize are:
- David Rose, Posthumous Stories (Salt)
- Rachel Trezise, Cosmic Latte (Parthian)
- Bernie McGill, Sleepwalkers (Whittrick Press)
- Jaki McCarrick, The Scattering (Seren Books)
- John Burnside, Something Like Happy (Jonathan Cape)
Prize co-ordinator Dr Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, said: “It has been an incredibly difficult decision for all our judges to draw up year’s shortlist and it’s going to be even trickier to decide on the winner, which we’ll announce at our award ceremony in London on July 3. It is interesting that this year all but John Burnside are authors published by small presses, and both Seren and Parthian are Welsh publishers, with Seren already winning the award with Graham Mort for his collection Touch in 2011.”
Jaki McCarrick told writing.ie “I was over the moon [when I heard], elated and felt that the judges got what I was trying to do in my story collection, The Scattering. Some of the stories are experimental – one is a postmodern sci fi story. My favourite story collection is David Foster Wallace’s Girl with the Curious Hair and though my material and content is mostly about where I live on the Irish border my story telling structures are quite varied and often influenced by postmodern American writers such as DFW – though I let Joyce’s Dubliners inform the actual arrangement of the stories with my big story at the end. So yes – it felt rather lovely!”
Now in its eighth year, the Edge Hill Prize is the only UK award that recognises excellence in a published collection of short stories, and it has regularly featured Irish writers.
This year the judging panel includes Kevin Barry, author and winner of the 2013 Edge Hill Prize, Carys Bray, Author and winner of the inaugural Edge Hill MA Prize in 2010 and Katie Allen, Journalist and editor of welovethisbook.com.
The prize has three categories:
- The main literary award of £5,000.
- The £1,000 Readers’ Choice, chosen from the same shortlist.
- A £500 student prize, which will reward one of the stars of Edge Hill University’s MA Creative Writing course.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 3th July at Free Word Centre on Farringdon Road, London.
Short biographies for the five writers are as follows:
- John Burnside. Born in Dunfermline in 1955, Burnside had several occupations before becoming a full-time writer in 1994. A prolific writer of poetry and prose, he has been shortlisted for and has won many awards; he writes for radio and television, is a regular contributor to a number of periodicals and newspapers in the UK, Germany and Switzerland and has a regular ‘Nature’ column in The New Statesman. Something Like Happy is Burnside’s first short story collection since Burning Elvis (2000).
- Jaki McCarrick. London-born, McCarrick has written for the stage and television and received much acclaim. She is the first winner of the Liverpool Lennon Paper Poetry Competition. Now living in Dundalk, many of the stories from The Scattering, her debut short story collection, are set on the Irish border. One of the stories, ‘The Visit’ won the Wasfari Prize for new fiction, and many have been published in literary magazines. McCarrick is currently editing her first novel.
- Bernie McGill. Born in Northern Ireland and living in Portstewart, McGill has pursued a diverse career in the arts, writing for theatre before winning the Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Contest in the US in 2008. Her first novel, The Butterfly Cabinet, was published in 2010. Her short fiction has been broadcast by BBC Radio Ulster and published in magazines and anthologies. ‘No Angel’, one of the stories in Sleepwalkers, won second prize in the Sean O Faolain Short Story Competition and the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award.
- David Rose. Born in 1949, Rose lives outside west London and all his working life has been in the Post Office. He is the joint founder and Fiction Editor of literary magazine, Main Street Journal. His debut story, ‘Private View’, was published in The Literary Review and since then has been widely published in small presses in the UK and Canada. ‘Flora’ appeared in The Best British Short Stories 2011 and the same year Salt published Rose’s debut novel, Vault. Posthumous Stories is Rose’s long-awaited first short story collection.
- Rachel Trezise. Born in Rhondda, South Wales, in 1978, Trezise graduated in 2000 and her first novel In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl, published the same year, attracted much critical acclaim and won a place on the Orange Future List. In 2006 her short story collection Fresh Apples won the inaugural Dylan Thomas Prize. Trezise has also written for BBC Radio 4. She is currently working on her third novel and a third short story collection. The Times describes her as ‘An outstanding young writer’.