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 Bax - Memoirs 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 Beard - You 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 Bromley - Sky Light and Other Stories (Biscuit). Winner of the Biscuit International Short Fiction Prize in 2009, he walks, writes and runs in North Northumberland.
Jo Cannon - Insignificant 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 Fernando - Homesick (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 Gaffney - The 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 Gebbie - Storm 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 Kelman - If 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 Mangeot - True 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 Merill - God 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 Mills - Screwtop 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 Mort - Touch (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 Perring - Not 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 Rickards - Hot 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 Roberts - Mud, 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 Samson - Perfect 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 Thackeray - The 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 Vowler - The 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.