Winner to be selected from record number of 600 entries and announced at on-line prize giving ceremony in June.
A team of talented students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have used their literary talents to select eight writers as finalists of the fourth Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction.
Shortlisting down from a from a record number of almost 600 entries the seven students, studying English Literature and Creative Writing via a second-year module called Live Literature Project, have been working in conjunction with independent publisher Comma Press on the prestigious project.
The theme of this year’s Dinesh Prize was ‘Home’, as inspired by the running theme of Place throughout Dinesh’s back catalogue of work. The theme was well-timed to inspire submissions, as the competition opened just as the country went into its first lockdown and everyone found themselves spending a lot more time at home.
The shortlist includes a broad selection of writers at various stages in their careers, from a final year creative writing student to prize-winning short story writers and acclaimed play and screenwriters.
The shortlisted writers are: Solomon Jessie, Jeremy Hinchliff, Kate Carne, Isabella Rona, Marian McCraith, Isha Karki, Kieron Connolly and Annie Power.
Shortlistee Jeremy Hinchliff said: “Getting on the shortlist for the Dinesh Allirajah prize is a real boost in a difficult year. So I’m chuffed my story has got this far. Mid-length shorts are very difficult to find a home for these days and every time you get any kind of success it’s a cause for celebration.”
"The stories submitted are of outstanding quality, and it will be very difficult to select one overall winner. Congratulations to everyone who has been shortlisted."— UCLan’s Phil Braithwaite, Lecturer in Creative Writing and competition judge
The writing prize shortlist has now been passed on to a judging panel which includes Courttia Newland (author of A River Called Time), Abi Fellows (agent at The Good Literary Agency), Phil Braithwaite (Lecturer in Creative Writing at UCLan) and Alfred Searls (Northern Soul).
Commenting on this year’s entries UCLan’s Phil Braithwaite said: “It is my pleasure and privilege to have been chosen to judge this year’s Dinesh prize. The stories submitted are of outstanding quality, and it will be very difficult to select one overall winner. Congratulations to everyone who has been shortlisted.”
After the winner is announced at an online ceremony in June, the eight shortlisted stories will all be published online as an eBook by Comma Press, and the winner will receive £500 from UCLan, as well as having their winning story published in Northern Soul, media partner for the Dinesh Prize.
Comma Press and UCLan set up the prize as an opportunity to showcase exciting new literary talent from across the UK, imposing no restrictions on entry such as a fee or a first-publication.
Open to both published and un-published writers, this prize aims to seek out the best established and up and coming voices in the form, in honour of Dinesh who passed away suddenly in 2015.
Dinesh, who described himself as a jazz writer, lectured in creative writing at UCLan for eight years and was a long-term director of Comma Press.
His short stories were featured in numerous anthologies and magazines, and he regularly ran workshops and literacy classes in community centres, schools and prisons, acting as Chair of the National Black Arts Alliance and the National Association for Literature Development.
19 March 2021