Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Edge Hill Prize Longlist 2011

I can finally mention the short story collections that I've been reading in recent weeks, as we have just announced the longlist for the Edge Hill Prize. Twenty collections have been longlisted (see below, text by Nicky Speed). I've added images of all the covers: although you certainly can't judge the books by them, I think each cover definitely 'says' something about its book. I'm looking forward to writing about each collection in the coming weeks. 

Martin BaxMemoirs of a Gone World (Salt Publishing). The world-renowned Consultant Paediatrician lives in London and, in addition to his medical career, is editor of the long-running literary journal Ambit which he founded. 
Alan BeardYou Don't Have to Say (Tindal Street Press). The librarian from Birmingham City University has had the bug for writing from the age of nine and recently had his second collection published to rave reviews.
Peter BromleySky Light and Other Stories (Biscuit). Winner of the Biscuit International Short Fiction Prize in 2009, he walks, writes and runs in North Northumberland.
Jo CannonInsignificant Gestures (Pewter Rose Press). The doctor from Essex initially joined a reflective writing group for medics and has just had her debut collection published.
Roshi FernandoHomesick (Impress Books). The London writer won the 2009 Impress Prize for New Writers. She is also on the long-list for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2011.
David GaffneyThe Half-life of Songs (Salt Publishing). The debt advisor turned writer draws upon these experiences in his written work. He has also written a set of short operas, developed with classical composer Ailis Ni Riain.
Vanessa GebbieStorm Warning, Echoes of Conflict (Salt Publishing). The journalist and award-winning short fiction and flash fiction writer is also the editor of Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story.
James KelmanIf it is Your Life (Penguin). Also well known as a cultural and political activist, the Glaswegian won the Booker Prize in 1994 and in 2008 he won Scotland's most prestigious literary award, the Saltire Society's Book of the Year.
Andre MangeotTrue North (Salt Publishing). Prize-winner in the 2006 Peterloo and Wigtown/Scottish National poetry competitions, the Cambridge writer is also a member of the performance group, The Joy of Six.
Jay MerillGod of the Pigeons (Salt Publishing). The freelance editor from London has had her short stories published in a wide number of literary magazines in the UK and USA.
Magnus MillsScrewtop Thompson (Bloomsbury). The former bus driver from Birmingham was also columnist for The Independent newspaper before becoming a novelist. He won the McKitterick Prize in 1999.
Graham MortTouch (Seren). The Lancashire-born creative writing professor is also acknowledged as one of contemporary verse's most accomplished practitioners. He has written short fiction and radio drama for BBC Radio and also won the 2007 Bridport Prize.
Nik PerringNot So Perfect (Roast Books). The author who lives Cheshire writes mostly short stories, which have been published widely in the UK and abroad and used in a distance learning creative writing course for US high school students.
Susannah RickardsHot Kitchen Snow (Salt Publishing). The short fiction writer and creative writing teacher won the Scott Prize in 2010 for her debut collection of short stories
Michele RobertsMud, Stories and Sex and Love (Virago). Winner of the WHSmith Literary Award, the half-English half-French writer is also Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.
Polly SamsonPerfect Lives (Virago). The London-born author and journalist has written lyrics for two number one albums. Married to Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, she has also been asked to judge several prestigious writing competitions.
Helen Simpson - (Random House). Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and the Hawthornden Prize, she was also selected as one of Granta's top 20 novelists under the age of 40 in 1993. Inflight Entertainment is her fifth short story collection.
Fiona ThackerayThe Secret's in the Folding (Pewter Rose Press). The Edinburgh-born writer who runs a national charity has won prizes in the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday ‘Shorts' competitions. In 2007 she travelled to Poland to give readings at the International Book Festival
Tom VowlerThe Method and Other Stories (Salt Publishing). Winner of the Scott Prize 2010 for this début short fiction collection, he is assistant editor of the literary journal Short FICTION.
Susie Wild The Art of Contraception (Parthian). The writer, editor and journalist has written for many national publications including The Guardian. Her debut short film, featuring her poem Dim Smoking Girls, won The Co-op Award for New Directors at Beyond TV Festival 2007.
Memoirs of a Gone World   Sky Light: and Other Stories   
                      Screwtop Thompson 
Touch   Not So Perfect: Stories
If it is your lifeGod of the Pigeons (Salt Modern Fiction) True North (Salt Modern Fiction)

The Half-Life of Songs (Salt Modern Fiction)Storm Warning: Echoes of Conflict (Salt Modern Fiction)Homesick
Insignificant Gestures     

The Secret's in the Folding                

The Art of Contraception              Mud: Stories of Sex and LoveThe Method: and Other Stories (Salt Modern Fiction)   

Friday, 18 March 2011

Lots of reading

I'm furiously reading the short story collections which have been entered for the Edge Hill Prize 2011, (the longlist will be announced shortly). There are stacks of lovely new books waiting to be read (see Ailsa right, with a stack from a previous year). This is the part of working on the prize that I was most excited about: hours and hours of lovely books. I'm squeezing as many short stories into each day as I can. There's a book in my handbag and another in the car. There's one by my bed, another by the computer and another on the windowsill of the room where I currently do most of my writing. My brain is bursting with beautiful short stories. I feel like someone who has eaten too many Thornton's chocolates (it's a feeling I know well).

In between the reading, I'm trying to work on my novel. One chapter is definitely finished, others are in various stages of completion from nearly there to scribbled notes. I hadn't realised how much my writing style and attention span have become geared toward short stories - I'm struggling to stretch myself along the sweep of a story that's much bigger than the ones I'm used to telling.

Writing/reading wise there's lots to look forward to in the coming weeks. The Once Upon a Time competition winners will be announced later this month. I'm looking forward to hearing friends Robert Sheppard and Avril Scott read at Word Soup on March 24th and on 6th April I'll be attending a reading by Jeremy Dyson, (the link is to an article that talks about his 'writing shed' - the domestic arrangements of writers fascinate me!) winner of the 2010 Edge Hill Prize. The reading will be at Edge Hill University.