A six-strong shortlist of writers from both sides of the Atlantic makes up the shortlist for the Manchester Fiction Prize 2018.
Organised by Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, the Manchester Fiction Prize is part of the Manchester Writing Competition – the UK’s richest prize for unpublished writing.
Each shortlisted writer submitted one unpublished short story of up to 2,500 words for consideration.
Launched in 2008 by Creative Director of Manchester Writing School, Professor Carol Ann Duffy DBE, to mark the commencement of her tenure as Poet Laureate, each year £10,000 is awarded to the winners of the Poetry Prize and Manchester Fiction Prize.
The shortlist for the Manchester Poetry Prize was announced earlier in December – with Carol Ann returning to judge the winner in her final year as Poet Laureate.
Manchester Writing Competition encourages new work and seeks out the best creative writing from across the world, establishing Manchester as the focal point for a major international literary award.
The 2018 Manchester Fiction Prize shortlist comprises six authors based in the United Kingdom and United States with a wealth of experience of living and working all over the world – underlining the Writing Competition’s international reach.
It includes the British author of a Sunday Times bestseller alongside the co-founder of a New Orleans community-based creative writing class and an American writer who draws on their experience of working in China and Western Africa.
The shortlisted writers are Allison Alsup, K.M. Elkes, Kate Hamer, Rae Meadows, Gabriel Monteros and Chloe Wilson.
A further 28 entrants were highly commended, demonstrating the strength of submissions to this year’s Prize.
The judging panel for this year’s Fiction Prize is chaired by Nicholas Royle, author of seven novels and Reader in Creative Writing at Manchester Writing School. Nick is also an editor for Salt Publishing, where he curates the annual Best British Short Stories anthology, and runs Manchester-based Nightjar Press which publishes fiction in limited edition chapbook format.
His fellow judges are Alison Moore, who was shortlisted for the Fiction Prize in 2009 and later shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, as well as Livi Michael and Niven Govinden.
Moore said: “Being shortlisted for the inaugural Manchester Fiction Prize in 2009 remains a highlight of my writing career, and it was a pleasure to be invited to join the judging panel for the tenth anniversary year of the competition.
“There were great strengths to many of the stories that could not be included on the 2018 shortlist, and I hope all the longlisted writers will feel encouraged. The stories that the judges ultimately agreed on as their favourites were satisfying to read and to reread, were rewarding to discuss, and are exciting to share.”
Michael said: “There were so many strong submissions overall, but what we went for in the end was a combination of stylistic sophistication and emotional intensity. I love all the stories on the shortlist!”
Since its launch, Manchester Writing Competition has attracted more than 17,000 submissions from over 50 countries and awarded more than £155,000 to its winners.
The competition has helped to accelerate the careers of many now established writers, including Moore and poet Dr Helen Mort who used her 2008 Poetry Prize money to buy a car and travel to poetry events around the country.
The winners of this year’s £10,000 Poetry and Fiction Prizes will be revealed at a gala ceremony on Friday February 1 2019 in the atmospheric Baronial Hall at Chetham’s Library in the heart of Manchester.
The event will feature readings from each of this year’s finalists and a celebration of 10 years of the Manchester Writing Competition.