Granta Magazine

Since I was knee-high as a writer, I’ve had this dream—to have one of my stories appear in Granta magazine. Today, it happened.

My story, winner of the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for the Canada and Europe region, has been published in Granta.

Let me introduce ‘Turnstones’

The winning stories have also been published as an anthology, I Cleaned the – & Other Stories: Winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2021, available in bookshops and online

Granta Image @Garrett Coakley

2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize: Regional Winner, Canada & Europe

Banner for Commonwealth Short Story Prize: Celebrating Ten Years

As they say in Italian, I’m touching the sky/heaven with one finger. The news is out today… I am one of the five regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2021. I’m thrilled and honoured and still a little stunned to have my story, ‘Turnstones’, represent Canada and Europe.

The prize attracted 6423 entries this year, so it means a lot that the judges have chosen my story. I’m still walking on air after reading judge Keith Jarrett’s generous comments.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize stories has long been a highlight of the short-story year for me. Every year they pick short story gems such as Ingrid Persaud’s ‘The Sweet Sop’; every year, they send an anthology of wonderful, international short stories out into the world.

The prize was launched in 2012 and seeks out writers and stories from across the five continents. This award celebrates the short story and supports writers often from countries ‘with little or no publishing infrastructure and from places that are marked by geographical, geopolitical or economic isolation’.

The regional winners’ stories will be published in Granta, in the weeks leading up to the final announcement of the overall winner in June. I’ve dreamed of appearing in Granta’s pages since I was knee-high as a writer, so I am overjoyed at this!

The winning stories have also been published in a beautiful anthology, I Cleaned the – & Other Stories: Winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2021, available in bookshops and online.

You can read more about the five regional winner and our stories here. You can also listen to all the twenty five shortlisted writers, including me, talk about our stories here.

BBC Radio 4: Hunter’s Bog

BBC  Radio 4 Short Works Logo

I’m delighted to have had a short story commissioned by BBC Radio 4.

In ‘Hunter’s Bog’, a young girl hatches a plan to escape from her lockdown life.

The story is set in the stretch of marsh and gorse below Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh: a place both lush and stark as the seasons turn.

The story is read by the marvellous actor, Nicola Ferguson. It was a pleasure to work with the producer and director Eilidh McCreadie.

It will be broadcast on Friday 12th March at 3.45 pm as part of BBC Radio 4’s Short Works series. After, it will be available on BBC Sounds.

I hope you enjoy listening!

Photo of Hunter’s Bog: hills and marsh
Hunter’s Bog @ Carol Farrelly

New Writing Scotland 38

I’m so happy to find a home again in New Writing Scotland. My short story, ‘Likewise’, has been published in The Last Good Year: New Writing Scotland 38. The contents page is a roll call of brilliant writers: Dean Atta, Olga Wojtas and Krishan Coupland, and dear Glasgow MLitt classmates Kathrine Sowerby, Sarah Ward and Alan Gillespie. And isn’t that front cover a stunner?

My story ‘Likewise’ is set in Emergency or neutral 1940s Ireland, a time not much explored in fiction, but a time that draws me, as questions of identity and conscience and nationalism prove so urgent once again–or reveal they never went away. And I love writing from places, like Dublin, that hear the sea…

Bristol Short Story Prize 2020: Shortlisted

Collage of Bristol Prize anthology front covers

I’m thrilled to be on the shortlist for this year’s Bristol Short Story Prize. My short story, ‘Clipped’, was one of twenty chosen out of 2,705 entries — callooh and callay!

The Bristol is a prize I’ve long followed and admired. Previous winners and shortlisted writers make quite a roll call: Danielle McLaughlin, Benjamin Myers, Deepa Anappara, Dima Alzayat, Cherise Saywell and Chloe Wilson, to name a few.

Each year, The Bristol Prize also publishes an anthology of the winning and shortlisted stories; and each year, these are treats. One of my favourite publications of the year. So, I’m delighted that my story will appear in the pages of the 2020 anthology.

The anthology will launch at on online event on October 10th, when the winner and runners-up will also be announced. So although there’s sadly no award ceremony this year in Bristol, lots more folk can now take part in the online celebrations.

You can read more about the shortlisted writers here, and pre-order the anthology here.

Fairlight Shorts: ‘Snow Monkey’

Fairlight Shorts logo

My flash fiction, ‘Snow Monkey,’ now appears on the Fairlight Shorts page.

I’m so pleased to be a little part of Fairlight, a fantastic press. They published Sophie Van Llewyn’s luminous novella-in-flash, Bottled Goods–which I loved!–the wonderful Lynda Clark’s debut novel Beyond Kidding, and many, many more gems.

I also enjoyed their interview questions. On a different day, though, a different answer to that teaser of which superpower…

The Alpine Fellowship Shortlist

Alpine Fellowship  logo

Huzzah! A little gift from the writing gods on this gorgeously sunny, first day of June. I’ve been shortlisted for The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize. There were over two thousand entries.

The themes for this year’s short stories and poems are forgiveness and retribution, which feel stark, relevant and more complex than ever.

The judges are poet and novelist John Burnside, poet Gillian Clarke, and children’s author Katherine Rundell.

The Society of Authors’ ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award

Banner with photos of shortlisted writers

I am thrilled, honoured and generally cock-a-hoop to have been shortlisted for the Society of Authors’ ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award! The news has been a gorgeous burst of sunshine in these strange days.

The Tom Gallon Award celebrates single short stories and runs alongside other prizes such as the Betty Trask Prize for novels and the Eric Gregory Award for poetry. This year’s judges are the brilliant Michèle Roberts and Stuart Evers.

My story, ‘High Water’, is keeping company with some great talent in this year’s shortlist: Lynda Clark, Ani Kayode Somtochukwu, Diana Powell, Wendy Riley and Catriona Ward. Previous winners and runners-up include two of my most loved short-story writers: Carys Davies and Lucy Wood.

Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no awards ceremony in London this year, but there will be an online bash on the 18th June. Looking forward to it. In the meantime, I’m just hanging out with that sunshine…

All Good Things…

Woman stands my bookcase. The pages of a book flutter into the sky like birds.

I’ve come to the end of my Bridge Awards Short Story Mentorship. It was a joy.

Here’s my little interview on the Bridge Awards website.

All I’d add is how necessary awards like this are, which nurture short-story writers and the glorious, gorgeous short-story form.

Short stories consume you faster. They’re connected to brevity. With the short story, you are up against mortality. I know how tough they are as a form, but they’re also a total joy.’ — Ali Smith