Tuesday, 21 January 2014

MMU Novella Award

Following the successes of the Manchester Fiction Prize, Manchester Metropolitan University’s Cheshire Campus is launching the MMU Novella Award in 2014. The Award is open to any unpublished novella of between 20,000 – 40,000 words and any entrants in the English-speaking world are eligible. The prizes are £1,000, publication through Sandstone Press and representation by Diana Beaumont of the Rupert Heath Literary Agency. Novelist Jenn Ashworth will be judging the competition. 

I was asked to write a short piece about my favourite novella for the MMU Novella Award blog. I chose A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Here's an excerpt from the piece: 

xmascarol"A Christmas Carol is a classic ghost story. In the preface Dickens writes: ‘I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.’ The story haunts ‘pleasantly’ because its focus is redemption, not revenge; the ghosts don’t punish Scrooge, they highlight his mistakes and illustrate the inevitable outcome if he should fail to change. It’s a tale of hope and a tribute to the tremendous power of imagination; Scrooge is finally moved to change once he is able to imagine a better way of living. The concerns of the novella – its condemnation of both greed and indifference to the plight of the working poor – remain topical and relevant today."

You can read the rest of the piece here. Other writers will be posting about their favourite novellas in the coming weeks. 

Below is scene from the best adaptation of Dickens' novella, just to put you in the mood. 

And here is a link to the text of A Christmas Carol.

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