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Shortlist announced for 2016 Manchester Writing Competition

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By Jacqueline Grima


The Manchester Writing School has announced the shortlist of the 2016 Manchester Writing Competition. The competition, aiming to seek out the best new creative writing from across the world, has awarded over £115,000 to its Fiction and Poetry Prize winners since its launch in 2008.

This year, the judges are Nicholas Royle, Janice Galloway and Juliet Pickering for fiction and Adam O’Riordan, Sarah Howe and Helen Mort for poetry. Humanity Hallows looked at the exciting panel of both national and international writers who are in with a chance of winning £10,000.

Manchester Fiction Prize

First on the Fiction Prize shortlist is Michael Conley, a 32-year-old teacher from Manchester. Michael’s story, called ‘The God Quetzalcoatl Has Retired and Now Runs a Pub in North Manchester’, explores a time when the Mesoamerican god of wind wakes up on a pool table in a Manchester pub. Michael has previously gained third place in the Bridport Flash Fiction Prize and is a graduate of Manchester Writing School’s MA in Creative Writing.

Next is Erinna Mettler from Brighton. Erinna was shortlisted for her story ‘Sixteen Feet’ in which a dog-walker finds a fisherman’s boot (and perhaps more!) washed up on the beach. Erinna is a published novelist and co-founder and co-director of The Brighton Prize. Her short story collection Fifteen Minutes will soon be published by Unbound.

Also shortlisted this year is Laura Pocock, an English teacher who lives in Leicester. Laura’s story ‘The Dark Instruments’ focusses on a man and the mysterious tarpaulin he keeps in his garage. Laura is a graduate of the University of Leicester and is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University.

Next on the list is Lucy Ribchester from Edinburgh. Lucy has written two novels and has previously been shortlisted for the Costa Short Story Award. Her story ‘Succubus’ tells the tale of a mechanic killed in a street fight and Rebecca, who wakes up next to him.

Also on the 2016 Fiction Prize shortlist is Sophie Wellstood. Sophie is the author of numerous short stories and poems which draw on the bizarre and absurd, and which reflect her love of wild places and people. Her debut novel is due to be released in 2017. Sophie’s story ‘The First Hard Rain’ is about a family’s attempts to scatter the ashes of a loved one on the M6 motorway.

And, finally, on the fiction shortlist is the youngest ever winner of the BBC National Short Story award, DW Wilson. DW is a novelist and short story writer and his shortlisted story ‘All This Concrete Beneath Your Feet’ follows a man and his young son as they drive down the Alaskan Highway.

Manchester Poetry Prize

First on the Manchester Poetry Prize shortlist this year is Eric Berlin from Syracuse, New York. Eric’s work has featured in numerous publications and he has previously won the National Poetry Prize. Eric submitted four poems to this year’s competition, entitled ‘Recon’, ‘From a Cross in Montreal’, ‘Novena to Santa Monica’ and ‘Amen’.

Next on the list is Dante Di Stefano, also from New York. Dante submitted three poems, entitled ‘Verrückt’, ‘Reading Dostoevsky at Seventeen’ and ‘Reading Rilke in Early Autumn’. Dante is a correspondent for The Best American Poetry Blog and is a poetry editor for the online quarterly Dialogist.

Next is Sakinah Hofler from Newark, New Jersey. Sakinah is an MFA candidate at Florida State University where she was a recipient for the Kingsbury Fellowship. Her shortlisted poems are entitled ‘Mecca – The Most Beloved Holy Place’, ‘And So the Epidemic Continues Because We Haven’t Learned From Our Past’, ‘I’ve Decided to Stop Writing About the Hood’ and ‘We Only Do the Halaal Thing Now’.

Also shortlisted this year is Rebecca Tamás, a PhD student at the University of East Anglia. Rebecca’s poetry pamphlet The Ophelia Letters was published by Salt in 2013. Her five shortlisted poems are entitled, ‘Julian of Norwich’, ‘Theresa of Avila’, ‘Hildegard of Bingen’, ‘Simone Weil’ and ‘Marguerite Porete’.

Next on the shortlist is poet and playwright Ruth Tang. Ruth’s work has appeared in the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. She has also won at the 2016 National Poetry Competition Singapore. She submitted four poems to the Manchester Poetry Prize, entitled ‘Pome’, ‘The Cut’, ‘Smaller’ and ‘Light Speed’.

The final shortlistee of 2016 is Eoghan Walls, a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. Eoghan’s first collection, The Salt Harvest, was published by Seren in 2011, and he was previously shortlisted for the Strong Award for Best First Collection. His five shortlisted poems are entitled ‘The Keelhauling of Noah’, ‘Swimming Lessons’, ‘Dreams of the Ice Bear’, ‘The History of Aviation’ and ‘The Story of Grace.’

The winners of the 2016 Manchester Fiction Prize and the Manchester Poetry Prize will be announced in a glittering prize-giving ceremony at Manchester’s Chetham’s Library on Friday 25th November. To find out more about the ceremony and to read all of the shortlisted stories and poems, visit the Manchester Writing Competition website.

About the author / 

Jacqueline Grima

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